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New golf pro completes career change

| March 16, 2004 11:00 PM

Cliff Bihl has been hired as the new head golf professional at Cabinet View Country Club.

Bihl and his wife Rosalee purchased land in Libby four years ago, the golf pro biding his time until the move became viable.

A classified advertisement searching for a new head golf pro caught Bihl¹s eye when he was scanning The Western News website.

³My son and I have played the golf course a couple times and I fell in love with it,² he said. ³I always thought to myself, if I had a chance to get up to Libby and if they ever had an opening, I¹d take a look at what was going on.²

Bihl was a golf pro 25 years ago, having worked at a number of courses in California. While golf remained a constant in his life, Bihl began a career in the high tech industry.

³For me it¹s definitely a career change,² he said. ³I¹ve always stayed in touch with golf. My father retired from the PGA after 40 years and I¹ve always wanted to get back into it, so this opportunity with Cabinet View is really giving me that chance to get back into golf full-time.²

While working in the high tech industry in Portland, where Bihl and his wife resided prior to moving to Libby, he played on several small senior tours.

At Cabinet View, Bihl will bring his skills as a golf pro as well as his past work experience in a very different industry to the table.

³I definitely want to bring my business skills in and help Cabinet View really be an enjoyable place to play golf,² he said. ³I¹m really looking forward to it.²

When Bihl originally purchased land in Libby, he eyed the investment as a possible retirement property.

³This opportunity kind of played into that whole plan,² he said. ³It was time to bolt from the high tech business and I¹d just been waiting for the right opportunity. My wife and family are agreeable, my kids are in college, and now¹s the right time.²

The pro shop will open on March 22, with the community invited to visit the country club and meet the new golf pro. The course is scheduled to open during the first week of April.

³We¹re getting the course ready to play,² said Jim Mee, chairman of the Cabinet View board of directors. ³Our greens superintendent Mike Collier is on duty getting things ready to go.²

Mee was instrumental in bringing Bihl to Cabinet View.

³He convinced me to come up,² Bihl said. ³Jim didn¹t have to bend my arm too hard.²

Bihl has a slew of programs planned for the country club, including clinics and lessons for men, women and juniors.

³I¹m trying to put together a junior golf program for the community,² he said. ³I¹m talking to the community college about some activities, and also to the local athletic club about different types of programs for spring, getting ready for the golf season. I¹m also excited to help the club with future plans for growth.²

The club will also have leagues for men and women, and the golf pro is open to the possibility of forming other leagues.

³We¹re looking for groups of people that want to start leagues,² Bihl said. ³They can feel free to contact me and see if we can accommodate them.²

A Men¹s Golf Association meeting will be held March 23, at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.

³We want people to come and meet the new pro,² Mee said.

For more information about golf leagues and programs, contact Bihl at 293-7332, starting March 22.

³We¹re committed to having a lot of fun at the golf course,² Bihl said.