Hidden Gem Shines

Zollner Golf Course, on the Trine University campus in Angola, is a unique course just a short drive from Fort Wayne.
Aug 6, 2021
Janet Patterson
Jeff Bell

If you head north on I-69 and turn east on U.S. Route 20, you can stumble upon what Jon Busscher calls a “hidden gem” on the Trine University campus.

Busscher is the director of golf operations and head golf professional at the Zollner Golf Course at Trine University in Angola, and he’s passionate about the game of golf and the course that he manages.

“This is a unique course…with a lot of character,” Busscher says, describing the 18-hole course with mature trees, rolling hills and hidden ponds. 

Gifted by the Board of Trustees of then-Tri-State University in 1971, the public course is also home to Trine’s men’s and women’s varsity and junior varsity golf teams. The course has hosted the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championship. And, Busscher adds, it has been the site of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) golf championship, Indiana PGA Assistant Championships, Indiana PGA Junior Championships and Indiana Open qualifiers. 

Busscher’s enthusiasm for the course doesn’t end there.

“We were named Golf Advisor’s sixth best collegiate course in the nation and the 8th best in Indiana based on customer reviews in 2020.”

The Ernie Schrock-designed course is an 18-hole, par 71 with a length of 6,384 yards from the blue tees,
a rating of 69.9 and slope of 121. 

“You really need to think your way around the course.”

Golfers can also take lessons from Busscher, who is a Class A PGA professional, and polish their swing on the public driving range and other practice facilities. 

With a major in economics and a love of golf, Busscher had his sights on a job in financial management after graduating from Michigan State University. Instead, he decided to attempt the PAT to earn admission into the PGA program certification, passing on his first attempt. That’s when he turned his attention to golf. 

His first job after college was at Valley Lo Club in Glenview, Illinois. From there he moved west to courses in the Napa and Sacramento region of California. When Busscher and his wife decided it was time to return to the Midwest, the position at Trine was available. “It looked interesting, so I decided to give it a shot.” 

In 2018, he accepted the job just as the university was rebooting its athletic facilities. The old clubhouse came down, and the MTI Center became home to the golf pro shop, as well as the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, bowling lanes, a fitness center, banquet room, outdoor patio and the Trine University Athletic Hall of Fame. 

“As the director of golf, I am able to combine my passion for business with golf. When I got here, I had the chance to design the layout of the pro shop.”

The professional services offered there include club re-gripping services with quick turnaround time. “We carry a wide variety of grips in stock for the customer to choose from and our team can help assist with the proper selection.” Busscher says they also offer custom club fitting using state of the art technology from Callaway and Mizuno. 

“Customers can schedule a one-on-one fitting to find the right club that will improve their game.”

His enthusiasm for his job extends to the university’s administration.

Both Gretchen Miller (Trine’s vice president for administration) and Dr. (Earl) Brooks, the president, provide support for Busscher’s vision. “They play a huge role in Zollner’s success.”

Trine also offers a major in golf management. Busscher teaches one of the program’s courses during fall semester. He also employs students in the program on the course and in the pro shop to help them hone the skills they will need after college. 

“Between the golf team and our golf management majors, we have a cool dynamic among the people who work here,” Busscher adds.

The facilities in the MTI Center allow Zollner to host golf tournaments and outings for organizations and businesses in the surrounding community. Club Z has banquet space for large lunch and dinner gatherings catered by Bon Appetit and a full-service bar stocked with wine from Satek Winery and beer from Mad Anthony’s Brewing Company.

The monthly “Birdies, Brews and Barbecues” events have returned this summer with live music on the patio of Club Z. 

Jim Weber’s acoustic sounds will be featured on Aug. 19, along with a dinner of ribs, chicken or hamburger and unlimited sides for only $10.99 per adult and $5 for children ages six to 12. 

Zollner Golf Course on the Trine University Campus

Address: 1215 Thunder Ave. Angola, Indiana 46703

Phone: (260) 665-4269

Website: zollnergc.com

Number of Employees: 16 seasonally

Products & Services: Zollner is a public golf course that offers a variety of memberships, professional services such as club fitting and re-gripping, full practice facilities and golf simulator, as well as food and beverages.

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