Circling Raven Superintendent Completes EXCEL Leadership Program



Circling Raven Superintendent Completes Leadership Program


Kal Zaranec Recognized for Excellence in Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s

EXCEL Program


(Worley, Idaho; May 22, 2024)  — Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel is proud to announce that Kal Zaranec, Superintendent at its award-winning Circling Raven Golf Course, has graduated from the prestigious EXCEL Leadership Program presented by Nufarm and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Zaranec was one of six graduates recognized for completing the three-year program during a session, held April 15-17 in Raleigh and Pinehurst, North Carolina.

During the session, the EXCEL Leadership Program recognized Zaranec for completing the three-year mentorship and networking opportunity. Nineteen EXCEL Program participants in all learned and observed first-hand the preparation and requirements for hosting the USGA’s U.S. Open, which returns to Pinehurst No. 2 June 10-16.

The group also visited Nufarm’s new formulation development lab in Morrisville, NC, to learn about the extensive process of innovating new golf course solutions. EXCEL stands for “Educating” golf industry leaders of tomorrow; cross-training opportunities so they can share what they have learned (“X”); “Creating” community leaders who serve more than take; “Encouraging” future leaders through advisory boards and councils; and developing “Leaders” who will mentor others.

“Even being considered and accepted into the program three years ago was a huge achievement,” Zaranec said. “Now, graduating after three years of leadership training, networking, and visits to some of the top golf courses and sports fields in the country, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with the EXCEL Leadership Program and the opportunities that were presented.”

The program focuses on leadership in three main areas: “being a leader at home, being a leader at work, and being a leader in the community. I have become more involved with our local GCSAA Chapter, and also joined a volunteer Ski Patrol last winter.” Thanks in part to his EXCEL experience, Zaranic concluded, “We have built a stronger team at Circling Raven, not just within golf maintenance, but with golf operations and other departments we work with.”

“Kal and his team work tirelessly to ensure that they responsibly create and maintain excellent course conditions and beautiful resort grounds,” added Circling Raven Director of Golf Christopher Runyan, PGA. “Not only did he gain industry insights and learn cutting edge innovations, but the program’s management-best-practices focus complements his professional growth.”

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary season in 2024, Circling Raven holds widespread critical esteem including Best Public Course in Idaho, Top 20 U.S. Casino Course, Top American Resort Courses, and Best North Idaho Course. It hosted the LPGA’s Epson Tour for three years (2021-23) through which top women golf professionals from around the world unanimously praised the course conditions and its design, the masterpiece of golf course architect Gene Bates, ASGCA. Bates’ ingenious holes and course routing at Circling Raven are extolled for their natural contours that move brilliantly through 620 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and tumbling Palouse terrain.


For more information, visit or call 800-523-2464.


About Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel

Since 1993, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has operated the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, located where sky greets Mt. Tch’mutpkwe, the source of the St. Joe River, 25 miles from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The casino resort is among the largest employers in North Idaho employing between 850-1,100 depending on the season and contributing more than $33.5 million to education in the region since it opened. Additionally, millions more have gone in support of a wide range of public projects, emergency relief, charities, and programs in the Pacific Northwest. Named Tribal Destination of the Year in 2019 by AIANTA, the property features 300 rooms and suites, seven distinct food and beverage venues and entertainment including live music and comedy as well as hands-on tours and experiences through the casino’s Cultural Tourism Program. Three $1-million-dollar winners have found their luck in the 100,000 square feet of gaming space offering nearly 1,200 video gaming machines and high-stakes bingo. Additional amenities include a 15,000 square foot spa voted 1st for “Resort Spas that deliver the Ahh Factor'' by, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, indoor and outdoor wedding locations and Circling Raven Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 course acclaimed as a “Top 100” course by every major golf publication in the U.S. LIKE Coeur d’Alene Casino on Facebook and Instagram or follow us on Twitter. For more information about Coeur d’Alene Casino and Circling Raven, visit



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