By David Droschak
By all accounts, Mike Parah had a bright future in music as a trombone major and piano minor at the Crane School of Music in upstate New York. He even performed at the 1980 Winter Olympics, for the Reagans at the White House and traveled an hour or so to Canada on a regular basis to play in the Gentleman of Swing band.
Parah was even offered a scholarship to Arizona State to continue his studies in music and earn a master’s degree. He turned it down.
Well, Parah had begun playing golf with the local professors at the time and soon recognized his music career was getting in the way of his love for the game.
“I had some really neat gigs, but I realized everything was at night so I never got to see the day and I never got to play golf,” Parah said. “I said to myself, ‘Well, this isn’t going to work.’”
Also tired of the cold weather, Parah threw together a self-admitted rudimentary resume and applied for a job at Carolina Shores along the southern coast of North Carolina.
“I sent my terrible little resume to them, packed up my car and headed South,” Parah said. “I said to myself, ‘If I don’t get this job I am going to stay and figure something out.”’
Parah didn’t have to go to Plan B. He was hired in January 1984, beginning a more than three-decade golf adventure that has spanned nearly every facet of the business.
“I was making $150 a week and I was excited to death, just loving every minute of it,” he said of working in Calabash. “I just wanted to become a golf professional and improve my game.”
Parah rose to the level of head professional during his 3 ½ years at Carolina Shores, and then got involved in new golf projects.
“I did eight new golf course projects and got them open, including Greensboro National and Salem Glen in this area,” he said. “And then I got involved in rebuilding courses, projects that needed help.”
During that time Parah even played some on the Nike Tour and went back to school for agronomy.
“That really helped me in the business of rebuilding courses,” Parah said of his turf work. “I went from the paper side of it, to the membership side of it, to playing, to seven golf course rebuilds throughout the Carolinas and Virginia. It was quite a ride.”
After one year at Foxfire Resort in the North Carolina Sandhills, Parah has now settled in as the new general manager and director of golf at Deep Springs Golf & Country Club, a wonderful Ellis Maples design in Stoneville.
Parah’s connection with Deep Springs came via an old friend – Roger Watson of the Carolinas Golf Group, the managing partner of the firm that runs Deep Springs.
The two had lost contact with each other over the last 15 years, but Parah called Watson and the two met for lunch in Greensboro. Watson said he had a few opportunities, one of which was at Deep Springs.
“I was very interested in Deep Springs because I had played the golf course and I loved it,” Parah said. “Roger and I played in the North Carolina Open together probably 25 years ago, and I was 1-over and he said to me: ‘You are one of the best ball strikers I have ever seen and probably one of the worst putters I have ever seen.’ He then took me to the putting green and spent an hour with me after our first round. That’s where our friendship grew.”
Parah is aiming to improve the clubhouse operation at Deep Springs, while “modernizing” items such as the website and online tee booking. The club has 300 members, with a goal of 400.
“Sure, there are challenges with our rural location but there are so many positives,” Parah said. “I will take these greens over anyplace; they are as good as I’ve ever played. The Ellis Maples golf course is phenomenal. I live in Greensboro and it is only 25 minutes to here, it’s all highway now. Before there was a two-lane road so it was a challenge for people to get here. We’re picking up golfers from Greensboro, along with Martinsville, Va., Danville, Va., plus the local community here.”
Watson, for one, is glad to see his buddy on a regular basis.
“We are excited to bring Mike back to lead Deep Springs, which has undergone renovations over the past few years,” Watson said. “Mike himself was surprised how well conditioned the golf course has become under the leadership of Dean Farlow, our course superintendent. Mike brings more than 25 years of experience in membership services, membership event planning, and teaching golf at all levels and hosting all types of golf events. Deep Springs is fortunate to have Mike’s leadership.”
Parah, now 58, says Deep Springs could be his last stop. He then chuckled.
“This is it, but you never know with me,” he said.
“I feel that the Greensboro area is home; my children grew up in Greensboro. I have kind of come full circle in coming back here. Everywhere I go here I know people. I feel like this is home. I’m so glad to be here.”