A 1980 graduate from Michigan State University's Turf Management school, Joel also completed a Business Administration degree from Ferris State University in 1989. Joel began his career in 1976 at County Highlands Golf Course in Bear Lake, Michigan, and ran the grounds operation there before moving to Manistee National in 1993. Involved in construction from Day One, Joel has guided all turf-related activities ever since. He assisted in developing the resort from a standalone 18-hole course at conception, through the addition of The Inn, and then the subsequent construction of our second 18 holes in 2000. Rest assured that while visiting our property, you will be treated to expertly manicured grounds throughout due in large part to the expertise of Joel Swanson.
A 1996 graduate of Ferris State University’s Professional Golf Management program, Denis joined our staff in 2014. Prior to joining our team Denis was most recently the PGA Professional and General Manager at Manistee Golf & Country Club with earlier stops as an assistant at The Chardonnay Club in Napa, California, and Tucson National in Arizona. Upon returning to Michigan, Denis worked as the Head Golf Professional at Falcon Head Golf Club in Big Rapids and then St. Ives Resort in Stanwood. Denis enjoys spending free time coaching local varsity golf team and junior golfers including daughter Mallory. Denis’ focus at the resort will be on customer service and the development of our instructional programs.
Chef Brian Kissel joined the staff in May 2013. As a key member of our staff, Brian has overseen redevelopment of food and beverage at Manistee National, with a particular focus on The Grille, now home to an menu full of unexpected flavors. A graduate of Northwestern Michigan, Brian honed his culinary skills in many restaurants around the state, with stops in Holland, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City. Along the way, Brian developed a style all his own, and it is reflected in the many glowing reviews received from customers and critics alike.
Ken joined the staff of Manistee National in the fall of 1994. With the guidance of our Grounds Superintendent Joel, Ken has increased his turf knowledge and was promoted to assistant superintendent on The Retreat in 1999, and then subsequently moved over to The Revenge in 2002. The challenge of maintaining one of the best courses in Michigan is one that Ken enjoys and he is proud of the results he produces. Ken can also be found at The Inn, maintaining our excellent pool facilities as one of our certified pool technicians.
A graduate of Central Michigan University, Kirsten joined our staff in 2015. Kirsten played collegiate softball and would spend her summers throughout college working at the Eldorado Golf Course in Cadillac on the beverage cart before becoming the Director of Special Events and Group Hospitality. In 2015, she and her husband relocated to Manistee, and Kirsten was excited to continue her career working in the golf industry with Manistee National Golf & Resort. You'll likely find her at The Inn, welcoming incoming groups as they begin their stay.
Cyrilla is a 2004 graduate of Northwood University’s Hospitality Management program and has been warmly welcoming guests to Manistee National since 2011. Prior to joining the staff, Cyrilla worked in several customer-oriented positions and earned many accolades, such as the "Arts and Business Award" from her alma mater, "Scribe of the Year" from Scribe America, and "Partner of the Quarter" for Starbucks' entire Northeast region. Her focus at Manistee National is to continue providing spectacular customer service and striving to make every guest's experience exceed their expectations. Cyrilla grew up in Manistee and has a wealth of local knowledge about this special corner of the state.