The COO of Classic Club Talks Frank Sinatra, Arnold Palmer and Giving Back

Greg Rubino of Classic Club Wants Everyone to Experience the Joys of Golf

Written By: Ashlee Polarek
Photographed By: Bianca Simonian Classic Club

Expert: Greg Rubino
Credentials: General Manager and COO, Classic Club
Early Birdie: Rubino thinks golfing in the morning is the best time to tee off.

Classic Club is more than just an award-winning golf course; it’s more than one of Arnold Palmer’s creations; it is an organization that gives to those in need and keeps its doors open for any who wish to golf. Greg Rubino is the man that runs it all, making sure the staff of Classic Club keeps the course and club in top shape and that all elements of the machine are running smoothly.

Q: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Greg Rubino: What I think is great about my job is that there really isn’t a typical day. Being part of running a golf course means that every day is somewhat different. My main responsibility is being the person that overlooks the entire operation. So our department heads are the ones I give credit to for making sure that the operation runs smoothly and I’m the one that follows up and makes sure that our overall operational model and what we’re looking to accomplish is being handled then I deal with our ownership group.

Q: What makes Classic Club special?

GR: The biggest thing is that we hold our facility for charitable purposes. Our ownership group, H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, a large nonprofit, allowed us to hold the facility for charitable purposes. We hold hundreds of charitable events a year here, and we give those charities amazing deals so they can make money on what a normal course wouldn’t charge them; we charge them a lot less than they charge their participants and it allows them to raise money for their charity.

Q: How were the charities and nonprofits introduced to the club?

GR: So, when the Berger Foundation set out to build the facility they always build with [charities] in mind. When they originally built it for the Bob Hope Classic, it changed names several times; we hosted it for three years. Once the tournament left and the foundation took it back over in 2009, we officially designated the facilities to be held for charitable purposes. But it’s always been about charity since day one.

Q: What do you like most about Classic Club?

GR: It’s an unbelievable opportunity to be able to work with a facility that is able to help so many people. Classic Club is great for the golf course, the facility, food and beverage and all that but what makes it really special is our owners and the ability to help people. We’re trying to bring golf to the masses and help people raise money for working causes.

Q: How did you start golfing?

GR: I grew up in Erie, PA and I had a nine-hole golf course within biking distance, so when I was 12 or 13 years old, I started golfing and I just got hooked on it. Now I’m a PGA professional. There are over 19,000 PGA professionals around the world and we’re the people that actually run the golf courses, versus someone that is a PGA Tour Professional that plays golf for a living. So we’re good golfers but were not on tour, we’re operators.

Q: What is the perfect time of day to tee off?

GR: I’m not a super early morning golfer, but I like to play in the morning. During peak season out here, the weather and temperature are perfect all day so I wouldn’t say there’s a better time than not.

Q: If you could play a round of golf with anyone dead or alive who would it be?

GR: Considering the area we live in and my Italian heritage I would like to play with the Rat Pack; Frank Sinatra and that whole group. They grew up in a very different time of celebrity and were true icons in that era.

Q: How did Arnold Palmer help in designing the golf course?

GR: Arnold Palmer was the designer of the golf course. We gave him sort of an open invitation to design the best golf course he possibly could. I actually got to ride around with him and play some holes with him. He told me that this is one of his favorite golf courses that he ever designed because he really had the ability to take his vision and implement it. They gave him the opportunity to do what he thought was the best thing with that land that he could give us.

Fore! Arnold Palmer’s favorite hole in the golf course was hole 12, a par three.

Casual Friday: Classic Club welcomes everyone, and even has a very relaxed dress code.

Classic Club
75200 Classic Club Blvd
Palm Desert, CA 92211

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Ashlee is a freelance writer with a focus on travel, lifestyle and food. After obtaining her degree in Journalism she took the world by storm teaching in South Korea and giving motivation speeches across the United States. She can often be found on road-trips, plane rides and cooking up her favorite meal from her most recent travels. The anti-homebody loves a good hike, good book and a day spent with friends.


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