Family has a ball with golf business

Rocky Setting could have built anywhere, but in 1979, he fell in love with Sea Pines Golf Course and relocated his family from Southern California.

His company, TCM Inc., built Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center’s neonatal unit in San Luis Obispo and 55 Cloisters homes in Morro Bay. But his passion continues to expand his first love: Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos.

“I was 12,” son Gary said. “The golf course was my playground.”

“Before golf, he had to pick up the range balls,” his dad teased.

Gary turned pro after playing for Cuesta College, trained with the PGA, mentored pros throughout the West and made PGA Magazine’s cover as the 2006 Golf Pro of the Year.

But a growing Sea Pines and budding young family called him home. Now general manager and golf pro, he coordinates the clinics for the San Luis Obispo Junior Golf Association, which nurtured recent U.S. Amateur qualifier Matt Hansen. Sea Pines also hosts the California Central Coast Golf Trail, a stay-and-play package for visitors to golf six area courses.

Daughter Roxi is assistant general manager, handling sales and marketing.

“Computers or events, she’s so creative,” Rocky and Gary agreed. “She’ll find a way to make it happen.”

“In this economy, you have to be creative and online,” Rocky said. \

They’re testing a Mafia-style murder mystery dinner with a special guest chef this Saturday.

“We do chamber mixers, corporate meetings, Ladies’ Night, Kids’ Snow Day, Halloween,” Gary said.

Another son, Don, manages the grounds and maintains the high-quality greens. Benefit tournament play is regularly encouraged. The Scenic Coast Association of Realtors just completed its 29th successful fundraising event.

Since 1979, they’ve expanded the clubhouse to a pub and grill, open daily for three meals; built the 43-room resort; and added corrals to attract tourists who want to bring their horses and ride on the beaches.

“We have approved plans for a $2.5 million expansion — a day spa, a 125-seat dining room, five long-stay suites and a lobby remodel, but even with great credit, the banks aren’t lending,” Rocky said.

They have interest from four major cell phone service providers to share a single tower on the property and improve area cell coverage.

The Settings are well-known for their community leadership and involvement. The Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, the Chamber of Commerce, the South Bay Soccer Association and other groups hold their meetings on site.

“If they ask, we work with them,” Gary said.

So how’s business?

“We turned the corner in January,” Rocky said. “Room bookings are up 34 percent, the restaurant’s showing growth and golf is back. We’re where we were two years ago. It could be a good summer.” Reach Judy Salamacha at jsalamacha@yahoo.com or 801-1422.