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Right around the corner...

2017 Michigan Golf Business Conference


People + Purpose + Passion = Golf

In this issue: 2017 Conference Teaser Marketing alcohol: from Baby Boomers to Gen. Z 24th Annual Golf Outing recap Michigan Golf Business Conference Nov. 27-29 FireKeepers Casino Battle Creek

Photos: Hawk Hollow Golf Course, Bath


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Go “All In” by BILL FOUNTAIN, MGCOA President We hear that phrase all the time, from high stakes poker games to local high school teams, we’re going “all in.” As the 2017 golf season turns for the home stretch I’ve started to reflect on the season and, as always, begin to come up with ideas for next year to improve the success of not only golf course revenue, but productivity from our team as well. I came across following quote from the book “All In”, by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. “Employees are not only engaged but also enabled and energized (termed the three Es) which leads to astonishing results” As the years go by, the age difference between myself and most of our young team members continues to grow and I become more disconnected from their way of life, what motivates them and how they interact with me, with each other and with the world around them in an age where information and communication are instantaneous and non-stop. A 21st century where even things like 24 hour news and ESPN are struggling to survive because

they are considered too slow for today’s young people. If getting your sports highlights once every half hour is too slow and boring for the next generation, how are we expected to get them interested in a game that takes four hours to play? If you are like me, connecting and interacting with this generation becomes more difficult every year, trying to figure out how to engage, enable and energize those who rely on cell phones, Facebook, Twitter and “selfies” the way we used to rely on people skills, hand shakes, eye contact and speaking to one another to communicate. I am finding it to be a constant struggle to get my young team members to go “all in” and really for the first time in a lengthy career in the golf industry, I am having great difficulty getting my new team members to get behind the three Es that have been the pathway to success since this facility opened 25 years ago. My mentor and friend John Dodge had a saying on his desk that read “If you think you’re going to change someone else, just think of how hard it is for you to change yourself?” Great words of wisdom that have never been more true than today.  The next generation have outside influences that are not going to change, social media,

text messages, Snapchat, these things are not going away, in fact I cringe at the thought of what is still to come, what will the next “great advancement in technology” bring us that will supposedly make our lives that much better? Our future young employees will only be more distracted by the technology of their lives and this will extend into their work. Without identifying the underlying issue, I most likely will not change, but as a business owner that employs dozens of “Millennials” every season, I’ll have to. I have to go “All In” and find a way to bring back the three E’s to our course through this age group, they are our future. They are the ones I’m counting on for the success of not only my golf course, but the entire industry in the near future. This will be even more challenging as the minimum wage continues to rise, going to $9.25 an hour very soon, yet another hurdle in our business plan. How do I continue to pay more payroll for a diminishing return in work ethic and productivity?  I don’t have the answers right now, but I can guarantee that I will go “All In” and find the right balance of training, education and incentives to bring back the three E’s, the cornerstone of success for this golf course.

Board of Directors President

Vice President


Past President

Kathy Aznavorian Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center

Bernie Friedrich Boyne USA

Bay Paul Course Logix

Jon Scott Gull Lake View

Toni Joers Concord Hills Larry Moore U.S. Golf Cars

Steve Ramey Chisholm Hills

Jim Szilagyi The Lynx Golf Club

Tom Schwark Sycamore Hills

Susan Vanderburg Indian Lake Hills

Bill Fountain Majestic at Lake Walden

Ed Clark Sandy Ridge Golf Course Jim Dewling Total Golf Inc.

Bob Koutnik Fox Run Country Club

Gilda Johnson Lake Forest Golf Club

Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club

Carolyn Olson Elmbrook Golf Course 3


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Mark Vogler Northern Michigan 248-640-2349

Bill O’Connell Western Michigan 704-620-7939

Rob Traver Eastern Michigan 248-978-8014

©2017 Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. All rights reserved.


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24th Annual Golf Outing and BBQ

MGCOA members treated to fantastic venue and beautiful weather Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort is Southwest the day’s event: Lake Michigan Insurance Company Michigan’s oldest and largest golf resort, featuring for the lunch, US Golf Cars for the beverage tickets, TPI five championship courses, lodging & dining, event Golf Outing Specialists and Midwest Golf and Turf for facilities and golf course real estate. Owned and oper- the Hole in One Contests, Foresight Group for the printated by the Scott family for over forty years, Gull Lake ing, Great Lakes Coca-Cola for the goody bags, Spartan View is committed to providing the finest golf resort Distributors and E-Z-Go for the registration sponsordestination experience ship, Michigan Clubs for individuals, famiFund sponsored team lies, and groups at any prizes and certificates, level of play. Located and Yamaha Golf Cars in Southwest MichiPlus for the Closest to gan’s beautiful lake the Pin, Jacobsen for region, Gull Lake View sponsoring the Prachosted the MGCOA for tice Putting Green and the 24th year and we a special thank you to couldn’t be more grateEntegra who sponsored ful for their service and dinner. We also want special treatment. to thank Jason Snow Playing on of the Gull and Handicomp for the Lake View properties is scoring and calculations a long standing traditoday. Handicomp is tion of the MGCOA and our partner in the Golf once again our annual League Championship. event was welcomed The MGCOA is very PGA Executive Director Kevin Helm knows how to recruit a team (Justin by the Scott family and Phillips, Dave Lee and Alex Coss) took first place. grateful to all of our their staff. corporate support Owners and operators joined with suppliers on this who sponsored everything from registration, practraditional day of great golf and fun at the 24th An- tice green, lunch, dinner, cocktails, trophies, goody nual MGCOA Golf Outing and Supplier Field Day. As a bags, skills contests and more. We also want to thank our participants who purchased Mulligans, made a bet on the Par 3 and bought raffle tickets. All of this helped insure our fundraising efforts paid off. See you next year. MGCOA board president Bill Fountain welcomes golfers and thanks sponsors.

Team Indian Lake Hills from Eau Claire with its “captain” Sue Vanderburg took 2nd place and a big skins payoff.

special treat we enjoyed the fare from their new BBQ restaurant “Charles and Darl’s”. The food was fantastic. Special thanks to Jon and Charlie Scott and their families for the generous contribution to this important MGCOA fund raiser and to Bill Johnson and his staff at Gull Lake View for the superior service. We want to recognize our Premier sponsors of 5


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Get the coverage you need

Keystone offers built-in exclusive coverages that can be tailored specifically to meet the needs of public golf courses including: •

Specialized golf endorsement that broadens property and general liability

Association credit

Golf course grounds, golf carts and equipment

Golf specific property - repair or replacement of outdoor property unique to golf courses including irrigation systems

Flood damage

Equipment breakdown


with the right partner.


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Information provides a general overview of product and does not constitute a binding contract. Your insurance policy provides actual terms and conditions. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice.


Keystone Golf Course Program The right course for coverage when things go wrong

A sizable loss may force you to close your business temporarily or even permanently and drastically impact your assets. Getting the right partners on your team who provide the needed coverage and service is paramount to maintaining your successful business – so you can focus on the game!

Golf Endorsement provided the necessary Extra Expense coverage to lease these temporary storage units until the new building could be completed. Merchants worked closely with the Keystone agent and policyholder to provide direction and the financial resources to keep the course open and operating through this difficult time. Some coverage highlights in the program include: • Protection for golf carts and maintenance equipment • Golf course grounds (“Tees to Green”) • Business income and extra expense • Trees, shrubs and plants • “Golf Specific Property,” such as course markers, cart paths and irrigation systems. • Additionally, we provide liability coverage for your golf professionals, herbicide and pesticide application, and property damage from errant golf balls. • Merchants Advantage Plus® (MAP®) Golf Endorsement, which includes additional coverages course owners need. Course owners interested in learning more about Keystone’s golf course program should call 888-892-5860 or email to be put in touch with a local Michigan Keystone agent. About Merchants Insurance Group and Keystone Merchants has been providing coverage for almost 100 years, writing specialty insurance for public golf courses for more than a decade. They target small to medium-sized public or daily fee courses that can include retail “pro shops” and restaurants. Keystone strengthens agencies with industry expertise, relationships, and additional resources that help them better safeguard livelihoods, bolster businesses, and fortify communities – all while allowing them to remain independently owned and operated. By working with us, customers get the best of both worlds – national resources; locally sourced. The MGCOA welcomes Keystone Insurance Group as a new corporate member of the MGCOA. To reach a representative, please contact Lori Simpson at or 888892-5850.

“Combined with shared knowledge and expertise, we can walk beside owners large, complex claims to help them through the process.” Keystone has partnered with Merchants Insurance Group, who specializes in claims management and customer service, to provide specialized coverage to MGCOA members. Combined with shared knowledge and expertise, we can walk beside owners during large, complex claims to help them through the process. Here’s just one example of how this partnership can make the difference – and it happened at one of the most inconvenient times of the year for the course.

The loss happened in early March, a spring nightmare for a golf course and a potential financial disaster. A fire broke out in the insured’s maintenance building, creating a total loss. The affected building was used for more than maintaining the equipment and facilities – it also stored all of the lawn maintenance equipment and tools. Getting replacements for the destroyed equipment immediately was a priority to getting the operations back in business so they didn’t lose faithful golfers, leagues, and previously scheduled tournaments. While the building was being rebuilt, Merchants claims adjusters worked closely with the Keystone agent and the policyholder to find temporary storage facilities capable of housing the replacement maintenance equipment, so operations could move forward without any setbacks. The rental of a building was negotiated for the equipment repair shop activities, and our MAP® 7


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MGCOA Members - Thank You for your business this summer We look forward to DRIVING beverage profit FORE! you, next season! Not selling Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola zero sugar, Dasani, Smartwater, Powerade, Vitaminwater, Gold Peak Tea, Minute Maid Juices, Core Power or Monster? Call Stefanie Lutz @ 734-397-6210, to have our local Market Development Manager contact you to help you increase your total profit. TEE-OFF TIMES

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MGCOA members, are you looking for creative ways to DRIVE revenue & profit at your golf course?

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We sell & distribute the world’s most recognized brands: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola zero sugar, Sprite, cherry Coke, Dasani, Smartwater, POWERADE, Vitaminwater, Minute Maid, Fanta, Gold Peak Tea, Monster Energy, Core Power & Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee.

We provide the right Coca-Cola branded equipment in order to maximize beverage sales.


We can create co-branded messaging to increase revenue & profit purchasing incidence while your customers are golfing, making the turn, eating at your restaurant or celebrating a special occasion in your banquet room.


We have a professional sales team that is equipped with beverage knowledge to ensure that your golf course is selling the right brands with the right message in the right location at the right time in order to exceed your revenue & profit expectations throughout the year.


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Service Animal Dilemma...Need or Desire?

years of age, seeing eye dogs were the only protected animals. But today the ADA no longer attempts to define the type of animal that can be trained and serve as a service animal. This is also true of ESA and TAs. The challenge for business operators is how to limit access to animals protected by the ADA. Regardless of what category the animal may serve, business operators are prohibited from asking the customer what disability they have which warrants permitting them to bring their animal onto the property. The law does, however, allow you to ask questions pertaining to the animal. Permitted questions are: • Is the animal required because of a disability? • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? In addition to these questions, service animals are required to be under the control of the owner. This

Golf course operators, like so many in the service industry, are facing another new challenge: customers wanting to bring loving pets with them wherever they go. In years past, it was commonly known that animals were not permitted inside businesses or on golf courses. The only exception being seeing eye dogs. Seeing eye dogs are easily identifiable. Today, we are hearing about new groups of animals that owners feels are also protected and should be afforded the same privileges. The Americans with Disabilities Association (ADA) is the only federal organization which defines service animals protected by federal law. New animal registration organizations are popping up and causing confusion within the industry. All of these organizations believe their roles in changing public opinion and policy are important. Currently in addition to Service Animals as defined by the ADA, there is Emotional Service Animals (ESA) and Therapeutic Animals (TA). For most of us over 50

Continued on page 12



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Where’s the Thirst?

From Baby Boomers to Generation Z – one size does not fit all drinkers are the ones with most brand loyalty. With so many more labels on the market than they grew up with, they tend to stick with what they know and acquired memories. This relative disinterest in trying new products may make them seem hard to engage with.

There was a time when each new generation of legal drinkers signaled a fresh opportunity; marketers looked at loyal older customers living longer lives, then at the new arrivals and rubbed their hands with glee. Lately, however, hand-rubbing has turned to hand-wringing as Generation X clubbers gave way to binge-drinking millennials, too focused on quantity to care about quality. Surely things couldn’t get worse? As it turns out, they could: Generation Z is reaching adulthood with very little interest in drinking, full stop. It feels as though alcohol is following tobacco’s path: higher taxes, restricted advertising, social stigmatization, and a subsequent loss of relevance. Consumption levels are down to 1979 levels by volume and a recent research report showed that one person out of five among the newest generation of legal drinkers say they don’t want to drink at all. This is a serious challenge to marketers and may be a return to an old-fashioned form of market segmentation – by age rather than class, or heaven forbid gender. So, let’s examine the generational differences, as these will be vital to appealing to a target market – whoever they are.

“This is a serious challenge to marketers and may be a return to an old-fashioned form of market segmentation – by age rather than class, or heaven forbid gender.” But don’t be fooled – Gen X are also pragmatic and smart – they research, evaluate and compare before buying, making sure that they get the best price. Sensitive to discounts and coupons they would give something a go, if the deal was sweet enough. And they’re easy to reach – they read papers, listen to the radio, watch TV and more importantly – still love going shopping. In this context – a price promotion and sampling stand are likely to be more effective than a flashy ad or viral video. Millennials The millennials – who once judged a bottle by its percentage proof – are now thirtysomethings with families and responsibilities …and a few Facebook “memories” they wish they could eradicate. As a matter of fact – a recent Heineken study demonstrated that 75% of millennials actively try to limit the amount of alcohol they consume on nights out. They have learned from their mistakes; they want quality now, not quantity and they want craft. And with craft comes the high-ticket item, which, luckily, prohibits the binge-drinking. They also have little or no interest in traditional media and pay more attention to online influencers than to ad stunts. 84% of them explain that user generated content had an influence on the products they purchased. So, when it comes to what’s cool, they want guidance – from the right sources. And the fit is even better when those brands aren’t seen as mainstream, have a sense of authenticity,

Watch the clock The rave-culture of the 90s and its ban by the authorities, transitioned the buzz-seeking youth towards alcohol and booze brands which welcomed them with open arms. Promotions, happy hours, sponsorship and cheap booze – no wonder that the volumes boomed and drinking loads became socially acceptable and even fashionable. The year of peak booze – 9.4 liters of pure alcohol per person per year – was 2004; that was Generation X and some millennials. These days, all groups are clearly drinking less. But they are doing so in different ways. Generation X The cocktail-crazy Gen X-ers are now at a different life stage and an alcohol rush is not what they are after. A glass of wine at home or the occasional pint at the pub after work are still in favor, but the thirst is not the same. When it comes to shopping patterns – these

Continued on page 17



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Legislative Update by TONY STAMAS, Vice President of Government Relations, Small Business Association of Michigan The first half of 2017 proved eventful and active with respect to policy debate and legislative accomplishments. Central to the discussion was resolution of the 2017/2018 state budget. While there is always a myriad of issues associated with finalizing the budget, there were also several parallel debates that were joined together in final negotiations. The first item that was brought forward this year ended up not being connected to the budget despite a concerted effort. That item was the repeal or reduction of the state’s income tax Early in 2017, House Republican leadership led an effort to dramatically reduce the state’s income tax. With bi-partisan concerns expressed regarding no connected plan showing cuts in service, the proposal fell short of the votes needed. Early discussion what that this would remain an issue in the upcoming budget deliberations but instead two other policy discussions ended up being front and center in the final budget negotiations. The ongoing cost of the state’s retirement system in the educational arena was at the head of the wish list for the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. The program, known as MPSERS, was viewed as an unfunded legacy cost by Republican leaders in both Chambers. The Governor was reluctant to accept the pro-

posed changes due to significant upfront costs of amending the system. The Governor did however have another priority running in close parallel with the issue of MPSERS and the budget, that was the passage of the “Good Jobs Package”. This was a number of bills allowing significant financial incentives to attract new businesses to Michigan. In the end the three issues ended up being connected (if not formally) in their advancement. The Budget was agreed to and the “Good Jobs” legislation was approved. The MPSERS changes were concurred to, although in a reduced version from what was initially proposed. With those issues being resolved the Legislature adjourned for the traditional in-district summer break. A large number of issues remain for consideration in the fall. They include action on several task forces appointed by the Governor. Issues include: infrastructure, municipal health and retirement legacy costs, talent and training challenges for Michigan businesses. There are significant hurdles in resolving each of these topics so action is not certain. Hanging in the not too distant horizon is the upcoming 2018 elections. Governor Snyder is term limited so there will be a new Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. Term limits will also open up a large majority of seats in the State Senate along with a significant portion of the House of Representatives.

Service Animal Dilemma...Need or Desire? Continued from page 9

requires they be under leash at all times unless their disability prohibits the use of the leash. If animals are found to lack the discipline of a trained service animal, business operators are permitted to request the animal be removed from the property. The guest can be denied service if they fail to keep their animal under control. We acknowledge that many individuals and families have pets that serve and support them emotionally. But while we all desire to take our pets with us wherever we go, desire does not constitute need. The MGCOA supports all individuals with disabilities and encourages members to ensure their staff and facility are prepared to meet their special needs. The TEE-OFF TIMES

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“The National Alliance for Accessible Golf has published a toolkit to assist you with ensuring your property is prepared to welcome and serve those with disabilities.” National Alliance for Accessible Golf has published a toolkit to assist you with ensuring your property is prepared to welcome and serve those with disabilities. Like many other social changes taking place, support animal privileges are changing, and the National Golf Course Owners Association will continue to monitor and update you when your business is affected. 12

Lansing Republicans Accomplishing more than Washington Republicans LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN by Tom Schwark, Owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb Republicans in Lansing have controlled both the Senate and the House, and the Governorship for over six years. In that time, they have delivered a balanced budget each year, ahead of schedule. They have eliminated the Michigan Business Tax and made the state much more business friendly. They have changed the retirement systems for state employees and teachers from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system. This will be huge for Michigan’s future as it limits future pension obligations which have been underfunded for decades. They have helped the City of Detroit get out of bankruptcy and helped the Detroit Public Schools relieve their debt obligations. They have created a new funding mechanism for road repairs. All this has resulted in an unemployment rate of under 4% in Michigan which hasn’t been seen in decades. This is compared to the national unemployment rate of 4.4%. This has also resulted in budget surpluses and building up a rainy day fund again. Michigan’s revenues for 2017 are higher than January estimates. Michigan’s economy is healthier than it has been in a long time. So, what is being done in Washington? Republican’s control the Senate, House, and the Presidency. They have complained about Obamacare for six years, and voted to repeal it when they were in the minority, but now that they have a majority in both houses, they cannot agree on how to do it. So, noth-

ing happens. They want to rewrite the tax code and give tax breaks to individuals, and reduce corporate taxes. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rates of all the industrialized nations which results in many U.S. corporations keeping their profits offshore to avoid those taxes. If corporate tax rates were reduced, corporation’s would bring those profits home which would result in more investment in the U.S. in the future. However, they cannot agree on how to do it. So, nothing happens. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. The Democrats and Republicans both support this idea. However, with money being tight in Washington, no budget, and spending deals that raise the debt ceiling for only a few more months at a time, how is that going to work? Granted that Republican’s have only been in power in Washington for a few months, but Democrat’s didn’t get much done, other than Obamacare, in the eight years prior. Gridlock in Washington may not be such a bad thing. One encouraging sign at the national level is the stock market. It has been on a tear since last fall’s elections. If Wall Street is optimistic about our nation’s economy, then we should be too. Washington has managed to get a seat filled in the Supreme Court, and eliminated many of Obama’s overreaching bureaucratic rulings. Apparently, that is enough to create optimism for the future for the smart money on Wall Street.

Communicate with your Michigan Legislator... go to to find your legislators, see bills, amendments and how they voted. Need help? Call the MGCOA at

800-860-8575 13


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The Ins and Outs of Checking References Over the past decade or so, references have fallen out of favor. This is unfortunate, because they are the best indicator of potential success a company can receive about prospective candidates. References are not just a formality — they are necessary to ensure that you are making the best decision for your company. So how can you check references and get the details you really need? Here are the best questions you can ask:

3. What improvements could the candidate make? These references were hand-selected because they would speak positively about the candidate. There is nothing wrong with that. But it does mean that you might want to rephrase some questions to get honest feedback. Suggested improvements are not a negative thing, and they might help you determine whether the candidate is a good fit.

1. How do you know the candidate? Chances are your candidate provided you with a list of references. And of course, they are only going to provide you with individuals who will speak positively about them. So it is important to establish exactly how the reference knows, or worked with, your potential new hire. Discovering whether they were a supervisor or a co-worker will inform the types of questions you might ask.

4. Why did the candidate leave? Yes, you probably won’t find a reference who will tell you that the candidate was fired, but what this person does say may be indicative of the way the former employee left the company. You might get a sense that they were restless or that they weren’t a fit within the organization. These can all help you determine their appropriateness for your company. 5. Would you hire them again? Finally, the most important question you can ask is whether or not the employee would be rehired by their former employer. Keep in mind that this may not be a simple yes or no answer. What the reference says can give you some insight about the candidate’s desirability to a company.

2. How long did you work together? Similarly, you want to find out the depth of their knowledge about working with the candidate. Did they work together for several years or only for a few months? This will help you determine the validity of the reference in terms of how they can best gauge the individual’s work performance.

How does your company check references on potential new hires?



Custom insurance & risk management programs


Unique coverages for golf courses & country clubs Industry experts for 40+ years Strong relationships with top-rated golf industry markets Competitive pricing


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Now is a good time to start your ‘17 tax planning and tax record organizing by RYAN CARTER, Senior Information Technology Consultant, CNA, CNLM You may be tempted to forget all about taxes during summertime, when “the livin’ is easy,” as the Gershwin song goes. But if you start your tax planning now, you may avoid an unpleasant tax surprise when you file next year. Summer is also a good time to set up a storage system for your tax records. Here are some tips: Take action when life changes occur. Some life events (such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child) can change the amount of tax you owe. When they happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4 with your employer. If you make estimated payments, those may need to be changed as well. Keep records accessible but safe. Put your 2016 tax return and supporting records together in a place where you can easily find them if you need them, such as if you’re ever audited by the IRS. You also may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid. Although accessibility is important, so is safety. A good storage medium for hard copies of important personal documents like tax returns is a fire-, water- and impact-resistant security cabinet or safe. You may want to maintain a duplicate set of records in another location, such as a bank safety deposit box. You can also store copies of records electronically. Simply scan your documents and save them to an external storage device (which you can keep in your home safe or bank safety deposit box). If opting for a cloud-based backup system, choose your provider carefully to ensure its security measures are as stringent as possible. Stay organized. Make tax time easier by putting records you’ll need when you file in the same place

during the year. That way you won’t have to search for misplaced records next February or March. Some examples include substantiation of charitable donations, receipts from work-related travel not reimbursed by your employer, and documentation of medical expenses not reimbursable by insurance or paid through a tax-advantaged account. For more information on summertime tax planning or organizing your tax-related information, contact Maner Costerisan, we are happy to help, 517.323.7500. Ryan Carter is a senior technology consultant with over 25 years in the IT field. Before joining the Maner Business Solutions and Technology group, Ryan was Associate Executive Director, and Director of Information Technology Services in the non-profit eduaction sector for 14 years. Having managed all aspects of the technology department, Ryan has extensive client server experience, desktop configuration and connectivity knowledge, router switch and firewall expertise, VMware virtualization experience, along with a non-profit leadership and management skillset. Ryan’s entire career has been in the technology field, supporting such industries as manufacturing, insurance and state government. Ryan has extensive coursework experience with Cisco, VMware, Novell, Microsoft and Juniper. Ryan will be a featured speaker at the Michigan Golf Business Conference in November.

Direct Line: (517) 886-9526 Email: 15


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Where’s the Thirst? Continued from page 11

one. So hang around – for the moment these teens and young adults have no or very limited disposable income and no or very limited interest in booze – but within the next five years they will become the fastest-growing generation in both – workplace and marketplace and will reshape the retail space.

are socially relevant and acceptable within their peer group. But when it comes to shopping, they like attention and want to be pampered – personalized offers, customized products, exclusive experiences – they want the full Monty for the price of their loyalty. And, like for everything else – the purchasing of alcohol is rushed. As Justin Stephenson mentioned – “This generation is on the go and has a pre-planned mission for buying specific labels rather than taking the time to browse and explore the category. They aren’t store dwellers which means they aren’t going to spend a lot of time exploring or selecting brands to make their brand choice.” So, to ensure a brand captures their attention in-store, it must have made a significant impression pre-shop and placed a brand onto their repertoire list.

Storytelling crosses all boundaries Looking at the bigger picture, consumers today are asking why do you want to sell this to me and why should I buy? Increasingly, they want brands that can capture their imagination and break social, cultural and category rules. They may differ in how they access the story – in print, on social media or even out there in the world – but without the ability to inspire belief in that story, a brand has nothing. And when it comes to this belief – cohesion across all points of contact with the consumer is key to build trust and loyalty.

Generation Z Born after 2000, their general interest in alcohol appears to be very different from their predecessors. For them there is no “cool” attached to boasting drunk in front of their peers. Quite the opposite in fact – it is seen as high unappealing and unhealthy. They are more realistic and optimistic than their parents, with a tendency to think “we” rather than “me.” They expect brands to have a higher purpose, and take genuine stances on social, environmental and even political issues. To address them brands will need to shift the focus from their heritage or expertise, to the very specific benefit they can offer to each individual, while positively contributing to the world. And to make it even more complicated – Gen Z are hard to reach and have a miniscule attention span; they multi-task across five screens and value the seamless nature of a shopping experience, rather than the variety of choice. 63% of Gen Z-ers polled in a recent Ernst & Young study said that they shopped online because it “saves time”. But it’s not all bad news with Gen Z – as digital natives, born with a device in one hand, if they like something – the world will know it…quickly! Snapped, Instagrammed and shared with just about every-

The next big challenge In a world with non-drinking bars and morning ‘raves’ for all those fresh-faced teetotalers and sobered-up millennials, drinks brands need to fight to stay relevant, cool, and memorable. Consumers will increasingly expect “better marketing” from booze labels and those offering more engaging, personable experiences, with a deeper story and even a higher purpose will be winning consumers’ hearts and wallets. And that’s more than possible. After all, those healthy youngsters, isolated with their phones, want interaction beyond the emoji. The same goes for their predecessors, who – after having tried a number of bottles and reduced their selection to a few names – crave some genuine attention in return. All are avid for an actual dialogue, to be part of some immersive story and live a palpable experience. To deliver this, brands just need to better know what’s going through their consumers’ heads. After all, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can hardly complain when they don’t listen. Edited and Reprinted with permission of the author Evgueni Spiridonov of Hornall Anderson Agency, February 14, 2017. 17


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Thank you for supporting golf industry education Greetings!

Education and action are essential in sustaining and furthering your position as a golf course owner and/or operator. The “Scott Family” Educational Support Foundation (ESF) first and foremost ensures that every golf course in the state of Michigan has the opportunity to grow their business through education, outreach and resources. The Foundation, established in 1995, provides lectures, symposiums and continuing education opportunities in addition to grants and awards to qualitied recipients. The Foundation is responsible for the Michigan Golf Business Conference content and connects owners and operators with experts in all areas of the golf business. The ESF is a critical component for a successful education program. It provides the necessary funding to ensure qualified experts are available to you at the Golf Business Conference and through outreach. The MGCOA is an organization of public and private member facilities. Those facilities have supported the Educational Support Foundation throughout the years – many of them for 20 years. We can only continue to provide these valuable resources with support from the golf industry as a whole. Only $52 is what we are asking from the golf industry. It’s just $1.00 per week. That’s right….just $52.00 a year. The combined support of over 800 golf courses, their employees and industry suppliers have made the MGCOA a pro-business association in Michigan. MGCOA utilizes the combined expertise of the Educational Support Foundation trustees to make recommendations for speakers, webinars, white papers, etc. based on what is considered best for Michigan’s golf businesses. WE NEED YOUR HELP… Step up and support the ESF. Your dollars make the difference.


Kate M Moore Executive Director, MGCOA Foundation Trustee - ESF


Brenda Velandra Owner, Raisin Valley Golf Course, Tecumseh Chairman - ESF

Company Name: ___________________________________________________ Contact Person: _____________________________________

e-mail: __________________________________________



Phone: _______________________________

Your $52.00 contribution may be made by check to MGCOA-ESF or by major credit card. Please send this document in with your contribution and thank you! Credit Card #: _______________________________





Name on Card: _____________________________________________________________

THANK YOU! Michigan Golf Course Owners Association 800-860-8575 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A Fax: 517-267-8984 East Lansing, MI 48823 TEE-OFF TIMES

FALL 2017


Exp Date: ______________________


Historical Michigan Tax Tribunal Success No upfront Tribunal filing or other fees for members 50+ Settlements and Tribunal Decisions 2016, 2017

Small, large, daily fee, private country clubs all clients professionally serviced Success rate 95% Solely contingent fee

Other property tax appeals, athletic clubs industrial, office buildings, bowling/restaurant, banquet centers, mobile home parks, retail, multi-family, private residential

Property tax reductions up to 70% of assessed taxes


“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible ... Everyone does it, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.� Justice Learned Hand, U.S. Court of Appeals

Call 248-546-7600 or email for no obligation evaluation and information. 74 West Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304 19


FALL 2017

Real Money

Association Initiatives

• Michigan Clubs Fund dividends workers compensation program could save you 40-50% • Entegra Procurement Services saves you 7% to 10% plus quarterly rebates • Coca Cola has discounts and rebates • Club Car/ US Golf Cars saves you hundreds, if not thousands on golf cars • VGM Club membership is reduced by up to $250 annually • MGCOA pays your $195 membership into the Small Business Association of Michigan • TORO/Spartan distributors saves you hundreds, if not thousands on equipment • NGCOA Smart Buy Program savings • Deep discounts for members at • Receive 15 percent off Verifone and Ingenico Terminal Equipment and Peripherals and will have their terminal conversion and training fees waived by JetPay

• Create, produce and promote the Golden Passbooks to Michigan Golf to fund the association’s legislative advocacy • Always striving to educate the golf operator to ensure their business grows through the Educational Support Foundation • MGCOA represents approximately 1/3 of all golf courses in Michigan • Created strategic partnerships with SBAM, NGCOA and VGM Club so members will be able to maximize their membership investments • Partnered with 4 other state/regional golf owner/operator associations to for the Northern Golf Alliance for the purpose of securing deep discounts and benefits for our members

Resources • “Guide to a Successful Golf Outing” booklet is available for members to attract and retain outing business. • “Tee Off Times” quarterly newsletter • Bi-Monthly enews to members on new opportunities, education, information • Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair • Education Programs, Events and Webinars • Golf Outing and Supplier Field Day • We are your golf business call center

Golfer Retention and Promotion •, an internet based golf league management system through (GLN) • available FREE to all Golf League Network courses • Golf League Championship for GLN golfers • Player Development Leadership grant ($1,500) for programs focused on golfer retention and promotion • Golden Passbooks to Golf bring new golfers to participants facilities • John Dodge Carpe Diem Award ($1,000) annual grant available to members’ staff for creative and innovative business enhancement

Legislative Action • Lobby for Michigan Golf Industry • Manage the Michigan Golf Alliance, a collaboration of Michigan golf associations • Bi-Weekly legislative newsletters • Has a seat on the Michigan Water Task Force • Attends legislative meetings and monitors, evaluates and fights for the Michigan Golf Industry at the Capitol • Property Tax and Service Tax analysis and legislative initiatives • Brochure of Golf Industry economic impact

1005 Abbot Road Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 083117


FALL 2017


Michigan Golf Course Owners Association Membership Application Business/Golf Course Name _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Contact ____________________________________________________________

Title ________________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________________________________

( ) Telephone _____________________________________________________ Toll Free __________________________________________________

State ____________________

Zip ________________________

( ) Fax _____________________________________________________

e-mail (required) ________________________________________________________

www. Web Site ________________________________________________________________________________

Number of Holes ________________

Please check the category that applies. All golf course memberships include membership in the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan and are open to owners and operators of privately held golf courses (both public and private), lessors of golf facilities who operate on a for-profit basis and courses owned or operated by resorts in conjunction with real estate developments. Annual dues investment is based on your size of operation.

Category Dues

Daily Fee

9 holes ..................................$156.00

18 holes............................$312.00


27 holes.................................$416.00

36 holes............................$416.00


45 holes.................................$520.00

54 holes............................$520.00


63 holes.................................$520.00

Multiple Courses ............$520.00

Management Companies...... $520.00

Note: Membership dues are not deductible as a charitable contribution. However, your dues may be deductible as an “ordinary and necessary” business expense with the exception of 35% which is not deductible as it relates to our lobbying and legislative expenditures. Pay online: - click on the “membership” link at the top of the page.

Payment Method Check Enclosed

VISA, MC, Amex or Discover

Account # ___________________________________________________________________

Exp. Date ____________________________

Name on Card _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Complete the credit card information or make check payable to MGCOA and send to: Michigan Golf Course Owners Association 1005 Abbot, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823 Phone: (517) 482-4312 Toll Free: (800) 860-8575 Fax: (517) 267-8984 website: e-mail: 21


083017 FALL 2017

Michigan Golf Business


People + Purpose + Passion = Golf


Monday evening’s opening reception...

The afternoon has everything from Farm to Table to Technology Strategies and Protection.

is a great time to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues. 6:00pm to 8:00pm gives you plenty of time to start talking about what your future holds while enjoying the company of your staff and colleagues in the golf business.

The MGCOA’s Award Banquet...

wraps up this fact-packed and fun-filled day while we celebrate your peers and honor our award winners.

Tuesday get ready to put on your positive attitude...

Wednesday we will wake you up with a wonderful breakfast...

FIRST UP… Debbie O’Connell, LPGA Professional and lead LPGA Professional for the LPGA Leadership Academy. She is the bestselling author of Golf Positive! and a regular of the Golf Channel. A dynamic, engaging speaker and leadership advocate, Debbie will start your conference with a passionate message for positive results. Debbie has had multiple appearances on the Golf Channel and hosts multiple radio shows and the TV show “Par For The Course“.

and all the news from the MGCOA and the NGCOA. Kate Moore, MGCOA executive director will review 2017 and the upcoming year. Ronnie Miles, NGCOA’s director of advocacy will update us on our national organization’s events, strategies and programs. The ADVOCACY PANEL will follow with Tom Schwark (golf course owner and chair of the MGCOA government affairs committee) , Ronnie Miles (NGCOA) and Tony Stamas (Vice President of Government Relations, SBAM) will do briefing on state of government affairs and legislative issues.

Closing Keynote and special guest Dan Pohl

NEXT… Allison George, or as the golf world knows her… The Wizard of Fun! Allison has been in the golf business since she was two. Having grown up on the family golf course in Iowa, she has had her hands in all aspects of the game and running a business. It all began with helping her dad change cups, moving on to mowing as a teenager and working the snack bar to her current position in management.

Since the 1970’s, Dan Pohl has been associated with the great American game of golf and has contributed by instructing, designing courses, and committing to first rate charities and non-profits.

Pohl was born in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and is recognized as one of the state’s greatest all-time, all-around athletes He turned pro in 1977 and joined the PGA Tour in 1978. Pohl developed a loyal following as the longest hitter on tour early in his career, but would win only after learning to control his natural power while becoming one of the best long iron players stalking the tour fairways. He has designed golf courses around the United States with his signature work being the prestigious PohlCat course in Mt. Pleasant, MI, where he was born.

With her can do attitude, Allison has created many successful programs bringing new golfers to the game and filling her tee sheet. Two years ago, she became obsessed with figuring out how to create solid online marketing strategies and began studying extensively how to bring more people to the game using social media and a bigger online presence.

Next up… lunch at the VENDOR FAIR featuring dozens of your Michigan golf business suppliers, some old friends and some new. FALL 2017

FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek


Here is a quick snapshot of just some of the action you can expect at this year’s Michigan Golf Business Conference. The complete brochure will be in the mail to you shortly but plan on attending NOW and


Nov. 27 - 29, 2017


Michigan Golf Business

Nov. 27 – 29, 2017 Firekeepers Casino, Battle Creek


Conference Registration Form Registration Information

(copy this form if you have more than four registrants)

Name 1 (to appear on badge)____________________________________________________ e-mail: ________________________________________________ Check all that apply:






Name 2 (to appear on badge)____________________________________________________ e-mail: ________________________________________________ Check all that apply:






Name 3 (to appear on badge)____________________________________________________ e-mail: ________________________________________________ Check all that apply:






Name 4 (to appear on badge)____________________________________________________ e-mail: ________________________________________________ Check all that apply:






Name 5 (to appear on badge)____________________________________________________ e-mail: ________________________________________________ Check all that apply:






Organization/Course ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip_________________________________________

( ) e-mail________________________________________________________________ Phone__________________________________________________________ required

Are there special needs for any of these attendees?__________________________________________________________________________________________

Registration: Full Conference Attendees Member 1 Attendee = $360

Passbook Member*

Registration: One Day Tuesday Only




Member ($250) x ______ = $_____________

2 Attendees = $560



Non-Member ($350) x _______ = $_____________

3 Attendees = $760



4 Attendees = $760



5 Attendees = $760



Wednesday Only Member ($100) x ______ = $_____________

Full Conference Sub-Total


One Day Sub-Total


Non-Member ($175) x _______ = $_____________

Plus $100 for each attendee over 5


TOTAL SUB-TOTAL$______________

*Courses participating in the Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf are “Passbook Members”.

Payment Information


(No refunds after November 21, 2017)

Check payable to MGCOA enclosed




Credit Card Number _________________________________________________________________________________ Total $________________

Exp Date_______________

Customer Code (last 3 digits in signature panel)________

Print Name______________________________________ Signature_________________________________________

Hotel Reservations

Conference attendees stay at the Fire Keepers Casino and Hotel and receive the MGCOA discounted rate of $99 per night for single/double and includes parking. To make hotel reservation by phone call the hotel directly at 877-352-8777. Please reference the MI Golf Business Conference. If you would like to make your reservation online, please visit and use the following group code: GOLF11112717

Three ways to register! Online at

Fax this form to (517) 267-8984


Mail to: 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823 WWW.MGCOA.ORG

FALL 2017

Tee-Off Times


1005 Abbot Road Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 (517) 482-4312

Address Service Requested

MGCOA National Golf Course Owners Association Chapter Tee-Off Times is published by the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, editor – Kate Moore. MGCOA offices are located at 603 S. Washington, Suite 303, Lansing, MI 48933. Phone (517) 482-4312, Fax (517) 267-8984. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the MGCOA. MGCOA’s position on key issues will be clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of the editor who reserves the right to reject or edit. Appearance in the Tee-Off Times does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, not does Tee-Off Times make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer and reserves the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable. Advertising rates and other information available upon request.

We’re supplying all your golf course needs.

487 West Division Street Sparta, MI 49345

1050 North Opdyke Road Auburn Hills, MI 48326


Fall 2017 Tee-Off Times  

The Fall 2017 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association's Tee-Off Times publication.