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Aviara Golf Staff

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Renny Brown -Director of Golf

A San Diego native, Renny has always been around the game of golf thanks to his dad. At 12 years old he spent the summer caddying for his dad and friends at Singing Hills Resort (now Sycuan). After carrying the bag for 18 holes he was rewarded with a Coke and $7. After graduation from SDSU with a degree in Economics in 1994, Renny became an Assistant Golf Professional at Singing Hills and three years later moved up the coast to Aviara Golf Club in the same capacity. He earned his PGA Membership in 1998. Now, 23 years later, Renny is the Director of Golf at Aviara. His favorite hole is #18, a par 4 that requires you to hit two really good shots, and in his opinion has to be one of the best finishing holes in Southern California. Once upon a time Renny had a great month, getting two hole-in-ones within three weeks of each other. Those remain the only two in his career, he just needs six more to catch up to his dad who has 8! Until then Renny enjoys the sport of golf for the challenge. He says that golf is one of the only games that you can play and enjoy by yourself. It is always fun to play with others, however there aren’t too many sports that you can play by yourself and still feel challenged each time you play.

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Johnny Walker -Head Golf Professional

Born in London, England, Johnny learned the game of golf from his father and the young age of 5. After moving to the San Diego area and graduating from the San Diego Golf Academy in 2003, he began his career at Eagle Crest Golf Club as an assistant golf professional. In 2005 he joined the team at Aviara Golf Club and is currently our Head Golf Professional.

Prior to his golf career, Johnny served in the U.S. Navy as an Electronics Technician. He is an avid volleyball fan and has coached the sport for 30 years.

When asked what his favorite hole at Aviara is, Johnny say’s “Hole number one, because it has trees named after me.” Hand-in-hand with that comment, his favorite thing about the sport is that it is one of the most frustrating and satisfying things you could ever do. His one and only hole-in-one is at Aviara’s third hole.

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Cesar Hernandez -1st Assistant Golf Professional

As a San Diego native, Cesar has always enjoyed coaching. He spent 20 years as a competitive soccer coach before turning his passion into golf instruction. Cesar graduated from the Golf Academy of America San Diego with an Applied Business in Golf Complex Operations and Management degree. Cesar brings a variety of experience of coaching and golf retail before joining the Aviara team in 2017 as Assistant Professional and promoted to 1st Assistant in 2019. As an instructor, Cesar has a passion for engaging others into the game of golf and enjoys seeing students learn and practice their skills on the course. Cesar’s favorite hole at Aviara is the par 3 Hole #14, playing from the back tees at 201 yards with water in play will always make an interesting decision of club selection. Maybe #14 will be where he makes his first hole-in-one!

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Steve Shumaker -Membership & Golf Sales Director

From Cleveland, Ohio, Steve was introduced to the game of golf by his father at age 12. He continued his passion for the sport and later attended Kent State University majoring in Tourism Management. With his degree in tourism, this naturally paved the way for him to head to sunny San Diego, specifically Carlsbad, the “Golf Manufacturing Capital of the World.” Being in a city surrounded with golf, Steve was drawn back to the sport of golf and furthered his education at the Golf Academy of America. Upon graduation he began his career at Fujikura Golf as a custom club builder. In 2013 he joined the Aviara Golf Club as an Assistant Golf Professional and after two years launched the club’s membership program and was promoted to be the club’s first Membership & Golf Sales Director.

Steve’s favorite hole to play with prospective members is Aviara’s #8 because he made a Double Eagle on July 26, 2014. His favorite thing about golf is that it is played in beautiful places with friends and it can be very casual or very competitive. Steve has yet to make a hole-in-one but that day is on the horizon.

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Houston Knox -Assistant Golf Professional

Born and raised in Arcata California, Houston was introduced to the game of golf at a young age. He began competing in tournaments in middle school where he knew that he wanted to make the game of golf his career. After graduating high school, Houston committed to playing golf at the Oregon Institute of Technology. During his four year golfing career at Oregon Tech, Houston was named all-conference during his final three years as well as team player of the year during his senior season.

Houston graduated Oregon Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and he loves to bring the technical aspect to the golf swing. Following his playing career, he spent a year as an assistant golf coach for his alma-mater, helping coach both the men’s and women’s teams. Houston loves helping people discover their love for the game, teaching the fundamentals of the golf swing and applying new found skills on the golf course.

His favorite hole at Aviara is number 9 because it gives you the opportunity to be aggressive off of the tee and make a birdie.

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Kevin Kienast -Grounds Superintendent

Born in Lansing, Michigan and raised in the state of Washington, Kevin’s passion for golf began as a teenager at the local municipal golf course. While attending Western Washington University, he played two years of football as a fullback and earned his degree in Business Management. Kevin has a diverse background in golf resorts including, Omni Tucson National Resort, Pala Mesa Resort and Morgan Run. He joined Aviara Golf Club as Golf and Grounds Superintendent in 2003 and is an integral part of the golf experience at Aviara.

Kevin’s position enables him to enjoy his primary passion on a day-to-day basis and affords him the opportunity to have a significant and enduring impact at the Aviara Golf Club. His favorite hole at Aviara is #11, the most picturesque from the tee and a great par 3. So far Kevin has made two hole-in-ones in his lifetime, one of which is hole #3 at Aviara. Still, his favorite thing about golf is spending good times with his friends.

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Franco De Jesus -Assistant Superintendent

Franco was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and holds the title as the longest employed associate at Aviara Golf Club. The course was still under construction when he was hired in 1990. After completing his Golf Course & Turf Management Certificate at Mira Costa College, Franco was hired at La Costa Resort before moving to the newly constructed Aviara Golf Club. Only after being hired at Aviara did he learn how to play golf! His favorite hole is #3 because of it’s beauty and he warns that you can easily be distracted by the water features and flowering plants. While no hole-in-ones have come his way yet, he knows it is bound to happen. Until then he will enjoy his favorite thing about the game of golf – being in nature.

Alvin Lopez

Alvin Lopez - Assistant Golf Professional

Born and raised in Vista California, Alvin was introduced to the game of golf in his teens by his Grandfather Al senior. He began competing in tournament golf in high school, where he also succeeded academically graduating with honors. After graduating high school in 2013, Alvin moved to the desert and attended The University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he pursued his degree in Hospitality Management and Administration with a focus in PGA Golf Management. During his four years at UNLV, Alvin served as the universities golf and hospitality ambassador where he later received a congressional award for his time giving back to the local Vegas community through the game of golf and for his academic success.

During his time in university, Alvin had the opportunity to travel to the east coast and served as an Assistant Golf Professional in New York for several summers. Alvin graduated from UNLV in the spring of 2018.

Alvin’s favorite hole at Aviara is number 9 because it offers a great opportunity to be aggressive off the tee and let one loose. Alvin believes that in order to have a sound swing, the fundamentals need to be solid. Alvin, like Arnold Palmer believes that, “Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.”

Ryan Brigante

Ryan Brigante - Assistant Golf Professional

Born and raised in Poway, California, Ryan has always enjoyed the game of golf, both teaching and playing. He spent 7 years competing for mini tours and PGA qualifiers as well as played Division 3 golf at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. After his competitive playing career, Ryan worked for several golf courses as an outside service attendant. As well, he has worked as an EMT and a certified tree trimmer. Ryan is currently an associate in the PGA program with the goal of becoming well versed in the golf service industry. Ryan brings a variety of experience of coaching and golf customer service before joining the Aviara team in 2021 as outside service attendant to now assistant golf professional. As an instructor, Ryan has a passion for taking his years of playing experience and forwarding his knowledge and drive to all he teaches. Ryan especially enjoys working with juniors as went to college with aspirations of being an elementary school teacher. Ryan’s favorite hole at Aviara is the par 4 Hole #7, playing from the back tees at 404 yards with an elevation drop both off the tee and approaching the green.

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