TAPPING IN – After a college golf career and a two-year stint in banking, Dylan Rottner has returned to Wise County as the golf pro at RB Golf Club & Resort in Runaway Bay. Submitted photo
When Dylan Rottner was 4 years old, he toddled out to the Runaway Bay golf course to learn the game.
The kids golf camp in the late 1990s took root.
After trading in the plastic toy clubs for metal ones, Rottner found a passion for the game that eventually led to him becoming an all-state player at Decatur and later to a college career at Texas Wesleyan University.
A few decades have passed since he learned to swing those tiny clubs at RB Golf Club and Resort, but now Rottner has returned to where it all began as the club’s head teaching professional.
“That camp was my first time to get out on a course and actually play,” Rottner said. “I guess it was life changing. It’s come full circle.”
Last summer, Rottner was named as the RB Golf Club golf pro. It was a transition for the 26-year-old to go from striping buttery fades and soft draws at tournaments to teaching others.
The former Texas Wesleyan standout has embraced his new role, passing on the lessons he’s learned from a game that helped him through college and took him overseas to compete.
As it turns out, the golf pro said the joy of hitting a pure shot compared to teaching others how to find the sweet spot is eerily similar. “It’s so satisfying,” Rottner said. “Whenever you point out something and they start doing it and it clicks, man. It’s night and day, and they’re like, ‘Wow.’ It’s a really good feeling when that happens. It’s really cool to take someone who’s interested in the game and help develop them into being a good player and a better person.” Rottner carried a scoring average in the mid to low 70s throughout his college career, taking eighth at the Texas Intercollegiate tournament, placing 15th at the NAIA Invitational and a top-30 finish at the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship to name a few notable performances. Perhaps his favorite experience was being selected as one of six American golfers to compete in the World University Games in Taiwan. “It was just like the Olympics,” Rottner said. “We walked around the track with the American flag, it was an incredible experience and probably my favorite memories to this day, getting to meet athletes from all over the world.” After graduating Texas Wesleyan, Rottner pursued a career in banking for two years in Colorado. When he wasn’t in the office, he still found time to play golf, winning the Denver City Amateur Championship by three strokes after posting a 3-under in two rounds. “The Denver City Course is an old, famous course but was just redesigned,” Rottner said. “So I technically won the tournament and broke the course record.” Golf wasn’t done with Rottner yet, eventually calling him back to Wise County. It wasn’t necessarily in Rottner’s plan to pursue the golf industry, but an opportunity arose that he couldn’t pass up.
FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER – RB Golf Club & Resort golf pro Dylan Rottner, a Decatur graduate, hits some balls at the driving range Thursday. Submitted photo
“When I talked to the Cocanoughers [the new owners of the course], they laid out their plan for this place,” Rottner said. “I was like, OK, this is actually something I would love to be a part of … They told me their vision for this place. They are actually from here, and they want the course to be good and saw its potential for the community. That’s what really got me excited about doing this, because if they’re willing to invest their time and money into doing this right, the least I could do is invest my time to come out here and help it succeed.” After hearing the pitch, Rottner traded in his desk job for a career in the game he loves. From banking to golf, Rottner found a way to still work with numbers. Now, it’s lowering the ones on the scorecard. Rottner said the RB Golf Club course has been revitalized and there’s more to come. With future projects on the horizon, Rottner said he’s happy to be a part of the future for a course he played as a kid, helping to restore its shine. The change of scenery from wearing ties at a desk to teaching outdoors has been a welcome perk. “Going from that environment to here, it’s been nice,” Rottner said. “I love the outdoors, and it’s like, this is my new playground. I’m excited about the opportunity to help shape this club.”