James M. Berg had a golf club in his hand before he could even walk—thanks to his father being a big golfer and Arnold Palmer fan.
“Tom Watson was my biggest influence in my early golf career,” said Berg, who played High School golf at Forest Hills Northern.
Berg’s history with the club goes back further than when he joined as a member in the summer of 2008. He previously worked at Egypt Valley from 1993-1996 as Beverage Director and Dining Manager!
“It was a plan when I left that someday I would be a member,” said Berg, who today is Managing Partner and CEO of Essence Restaurant Group, which he formed in 2006 with partners Patrick Wise and Jeffrey Gietzen to become owners and operators of Bistro Bella Vita. They went on to open The Green Well in 2007 and Grove in 2011. In 2019, Essence evolved with a new ownership group that includes Berg, Gietzen and new partner, Hillary Edwards-Berg.
Berg’s goal is to continue to build a collection of restaurants that foster a socially conscious environment and healthy lifestyle for all those who contribute to them. When asked what people could do to help local businesses like his during these challenging times, Berg enthusiastically replied:
Berg has always been attracted to Egypt Valley ever since the first time he played the course in 1992.
“The land is great and it seems like you are in another country,” Berg explained, noting he liked the challenge the club’s courses present. “Beautiful views and great design. One of the best conditioned courses in the state.”
Over the years, Berg has placed second in some Club Championships (to Derrick Klimek) and in this year’s Senior Championship (to Mike Brown).
“You see a theme here,” Berg joked.
When he’s at the club, Berg could usually be found out on the courses or in the range practicing his short game—occasionally joined by his 16-year-old daughter, Molly.
“When I’m not on the golf course, I’m thinking about golfing!” Berg said, laughing. He could also be found working out, spending time with Molly and Jakob, his 22-year-old son, and traveling for golf in the winter months. “Of course, I do some work when I have time.”
Other members may not know that Berg once lived in Hawaii in 1992 while working for T.G.I. Fridays.
If you see James around the club, be sure to say, “Hello!”