The teaching professionals at Bennett Valley Golf Course have over a combined 40 years of experience helping people improve their games. Instruction is available seven days a week (weather permitting) by Jim Knego and Jess Stimack. Private, 30-minute lessons are $50 for Jim Knego and Jess Stimack. Both teaching pros offer a package deal: Pay for five lessons, and get the sixth one free.

If you’d like to take a lesson with a friend, the rates for a 45-minute session are $75. Group lessons are available for beginners during the summer. The rate is $100 for a five-lesson series. Private lessons for juniors (18 and under) are half price. To book a lesson with Jim or Jess, or for more information, call the pro shop at 707-528-3673.

About Our Instructors

Jim Knego

Jim Knego has been a PGA Class A professional since 1990. He grew up in Sonoma County and graduated from Sonoma High School in 1969. Here’s a look at his accomplishments in golf:

  • 1971, first team all-conference at Santa Rosa Junior College
  • 1972-1974, first team all-conference at Chico State University
  • 1974, named to NCAA collegiate All-American team
  • 2001, inducted into Chico State University hall of fame
  • 2011, inducted into Sonoma High School hall of fame

Jim has played many tournaments on the Hogan Tour (now the Tour), and competed in a PGA Professional National Championship as well as three Senior PGA Professional National Championships. Jim is head golf professional at Bennett Valley Golf Course.

Jess Stimack

Jess Stimack grew up in Santa Rosa and started working at Bennett Valley Golf Course in 1999 while attending Montgomery High School. He then went to Chico State, played on the golf team four years, and competed in three national championships. After college, Jess interned in the pro shop at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and worked behind the scenes of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. After moving back to Santa Rosa, he returned to Bennett Valley Golf Course and turned professional in 2008. He’s also head coach of Montgomery High School’s boys golf team.

Steve Donner

Steve Donner Golf at Bennett Valley Golf Course

Steve grew up in western Pennsylvania and started golfing at the age of twelve. He played golf and lettered on his high school team as a freshman. He moved to Rohnert Park in 1984 and is a 1985 graduate of Rancho Cotate High School.

After high school Steve served almost 7 years in the United States Navy where he played golf on the Naval Station 32nd Street team as the number two man. He was undefeated in all his matches during the 1991 season.

Steve entered the PGA apprentice program in 1993, has been a member of the PGA since 1998, and has been teaching the golf swing since 1993. He has conducted hundreds of clinics, lessons, and club fittings at both private and public golf courses including Meadow Club, Santa Rosa Golf & CC, Adobe Creek, and recently Rooster Run Golf Course. Steve also taught at an indoor studio at Roger Dunn Golf Shops in the late 90’s where he also had several five-minute video tips airing on Cable One local television.

Steve continues to compete in Northern California PGA Section events and qualified for the 1999 Western Regional Club Professional Championship in Albuquerque, NM. Steve achieved Certified Movement Specialist with Tathata Golf in May of 2017. He was nominated for club fitter of the year in 2004, qualified for the 2006 President’s Council on Growing the game and represents PING as an advisory staff member.

For more information on Steve, visit his website at