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Take Your Business to the Next Level ELEVATE 2019 December 2-4

Soaring Eagle Resort Mt. Pleasant

15 Success to Peer 14 Peer Networking Strategic

13 Marketing

In this issue:

12 Everything

2019 Conference Teaser

& 11 Golf Government

Jada Paisley ED...One Year Down

10 Questions

Family First Versus Business First

9 Revenue

Culture is


Non-Golf State of the

8 Industry

7 MIOSHA Ready 6 Outing Expertise 5 SWOT Analysis 4 Pure Michigan Security

3 Audits

2 Social Media Cloud

1 Computing

Patron Contribution Thank you for supporting golf industry education

“Dollar a Week” Special Fundraiser for 2019–$52!

Company Name: ______________________________________________________________________

Contact Person: ______________________________________________________________________

e-mail: __________________________________________



Phone: __________________________________________

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


• Education • Grants • Webinars • Networking • Resources




Exp Date: _________________________________

Name on Card: _______________________________________________________________________

Michigan Golf Course Association 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 800-860-8575 Fax: 517-267-8984 081619


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Thoughts from the Island

by BOB KOUTNIK, MGCA President ELEVATE The definition of elevate according to Webster’s dictionary is: 1. to lift up or make higher, 2. to raise in rank or status, or 3. to improve morally, intellectually, or culturally. The MI Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair on December 2-4 at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt. Pleasant has been designed with that definition in mind. The MGCA Educational Support Foundation has been purposeful in designing a conference that no matter where you are in your career journey, you will be able to “Elevate to Success”. FOLDS OF HONOR Labor Day weekend is the traditional fundraising time for the Folds of Honor Foundation, founded by our own Honorary MGCA Board Member Dan Rooney. FOH has given out countless scholarships to dependents of killed or disabled soldiers. I hope your course has supported Patriot Day Tee Off Times is published 4 times a year by the Michigan Golf Course Association. Opinions expressed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the MGCA. For information on Tee Off Times please contact us at

this year. The story of how the Folds of Honor began starts in Grand Rapids. Let’s make Michigan one of the top fundraising states of this outstanding organization. WEATHER Michigan certainly had lousy weather to start the season, so let’s start a petition to Mother Nature that we get a long and glorious fall to help catch up. Can I get an Amen? The rain certainly has helped the lime trees on my island to make margaritas. Let’s meet at the Soaring Eagle Resort

in Mt. Pleasant December 2-4 and elevate our glasses together! Cheers, Bob.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Golf League Championship, Eagle Eye, Bath

MONDAY–WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2-4 Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair, Soaring Eagle Resort, Mt. Pleasant

Board of Directors President

Vice President


Past President

Kathy Aznavorian Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center

Toni Joers Concord Hills Larry Moore U.S. Golf Cars Bill Mory Meridian Sun Golf Course

Steve Ramey Chisholm Hills

Jim Szilagyi The Lynx Golf Club

Tom Schwark Sycamore Hills

Susan Vanderburg Indian Lake Hills

Bob Koutnik Fox Run Country Club

Corey Crowell Indian River Golf Course Bernie Friedrich Boyne USA Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club

Gilda Johnson Lake Forest Golf Club

Jim Dewling Total Golf Inc.

Bill Fountain Majestic at Lake Walden

Jon Scott Gull Lake View

Bay Paul Course Logix 3


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Historical Michigan Tax Tribunal Success No upfront Tribunal filing or other fees for members 70+ Settlements and Tribunal Decisions 2016 - 2019

Partial list of clients: Country Club of Detroit Pine Lake Country Club Scott Lake Country Club Birmingham Country Club Bay Harbor Country Club Petoskey-Bay View Country Club Gull Lake Country Club

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


Co-counsel, Justin Gray Gray, Seaman, Shumar & VanderVeen, P.C.

Co-counsel, Brian Etzel Williams, Williams, Rattner & Plunkett, P.C.

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

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Aloha from Bedford Valley Golf Course Hospitality was served up with plenty of sunshine

scoring and calculations. Handicomp is our partner in the Golf League Championship. The MGCA is very grateful to all of our corporate support who sponsored everything from registration, practice green, lunch, dinner, cocktails, trophies, goody 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.

Wearing grass skirts and leis the MGCA staff greeted participants at the 26th Annual Golf Outing and Supplier Field Day. Bedford Valley is one of the Gull Lake View properties in Southwest Michigan. Gull Lake View features six championship courses, lodg-

Team Yamaha Golf Cars Plus took first place, and in addition to a nice gift card to Gull Lake View, each team member received a ukulele. Apparently the rest of Team Yamaha didn’t want to stick around to hear Chuck Pohl serenade them!

Led by owner Ed Clark, the team from Sandy Ridge Golf Course (Midland) looked dapper in their matching team golf shirts.

ing & dining, event facilities and golf course real estate, owned and operated by the Scott family for over forty years. Owners and operators joined with suppliers on this traditional day of great golf and fun. Special thanks to Jon and Charlie Scott and their families for the generous contribution to this important MGCA fund raiser and to Dean Kolstad and his staff at Bedford Valley for the superior service. Premier sponsors for the event insured a great experience for all attendees. With thanks to Lake Michigan Insurance Company for the lunch, US Golf Cars for the beverage tickets, SUREBET Prize Company and Midwest Golf and Turf for the Hole in One contests, Foresight Group for the printing, Great Lakes CocaCola for the goody bags, the longest drive contests sponsored by Site One Landscape Supply, Spartan Distributors and E-Z-Go for the registration sponsorship, Michigan Clubs Fund for team prizes and certificates, and Yamaha Golf Cars Plus for the Closest to the Pin and practice putting green, and a special thank you to Entegra who sponsored the event dinner. We also want to thank Jason Snow and Handicomp for the

Mary Brodin, Kate Moore and Jada Paisley welcome golfers to the 26th Annual Golf Outing. They couldn’t convince Milt Senter to put the skirt on.



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MGCA Executive Director on the Year by JADA PAISLEY, Exexutive Director A year has quickly passed since September 2018 and my taking on the role of Executive Director for the Michigan Golf Course Association. It has been a busy year to say the least. Having spent 10 years with the association in another capacity and then assuming the role as Executive Director, I have been challenged to look at the MGCA through a different lens.   One of my first priorities is to make sure the MGCA continues to be on the right track. With the leadership of the Board, two new committees were formed with that express purpose. The “Vision” and the “Voice” (committees) of the MGCA are helping form our strategies to meet the mission of the association. While I came to the MGCA as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), I knew it was necessary to continue my professional development. As a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, (yes, there is even an association for associations!) I have continued to pursue the relevant and timely education needed to insure our association keeps thriving and growing. This course of education and the networking that accompanies it have helped me gain confidence when serving our membership at all levels. Understanding how trends in association business affect the day to day working of the MGCA is critical to our service culture. Now, let’s talk about my golf game. Over the last 11 years with the association I can’t tell you how many

(l-r) Leni Staley, Jada Paisley and Kate Moore prove once again that you don’t have to win to enjoy the game of golf. (P.S.–last place again)

times, when finding out where I work, it is assumed that I am a professional golfer! Truth is while I won’t be joining the LPGA anytime soon, I have FINALLY taken up golf this summer. Taking a beginners clinic at Meridian Sun Golf Course here in the Lansing area with three of my friends has been rewarding in many ways. I am glad I can now claim to be part of the fastest growing segment in the golf industry and glad I started with my good friends. A personal highlight for me in my new capacity this past year was attending National Golf Day and the community service day in Washington, DC.  Working together with industry colleagues from across the country to educate our legislators on important issues the golf industry faces was an amazing process. We were welcomed by our legislators and their staff that truly cared about what we had to share.  It was both enlightening and encouraging, to say the least.  I made important connections with the individuals who have impact on our industry. One year down, many more to come. As our association continues to grow (this year to date the MGCA has added 21 new course members) I will continue to learn more, work hard and be here for you. The growth that we are experiencing is exciting and a confirmation that it all pays off. Doing community service with board member Kathy Aznavorian was a highlight of this year. See you at the Soaring Eagle! 7


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Onboarding and Training by WHITNEY PENNELL, President, RCS Consulting “Training is not something you did. Training is something you do!” Successful onboarding is crucial because it shows new employees they are valued and that they are a part of an organization where they will have opportunities to grow, develop, and contribute. The best employee onboarding equips employees to be successful by giving them the knowledge they need for their roles. Many times, the strongest onboarding experiences also include orientations that acquaint new employees with not only their individual responsibilities but also their organization’s culture– mission, values, and expectations. Successful onboarding is the best opportunity to begin the employee retention process by validating his/her decision to choose the company, and it starts the company cultural indoctrination. The first two weeks of employment is an opportune time for an employer to make a positive impact on a new hire; immediately engaging him or her. With the unemployment rate so low, employers can also take

advantage of this time of new employee excitement to ask for immediate employee referrals. At RCS, we are proponents of investing in human capital – the greatest asset any company has– its people. In fact, much of our in-person training incorporates both training and teambuilding into the program. Teambuilding affords employees, especially new employees, to have an instant connection to the people they work with, and training ensures that they are given the tools they need to be successful. This confidence and competence translates to satisfied customers. Consistent, repetitive messaging is the key to training success. We created RCSU, our virtual training platform, so that courses/clubs receive consistent and concise training that fits into the employee schedule and learning path. Investing in existing employees and preparing new hires well will naturally make the company an employer of choice due to positive referrals. Happy, engaged employees naturally provide the best service. I look forward to meeting you in December at the Michigan Golf Business Conference.

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Legislative Bulletin by MICAH BABCOCK, Director of Government Operations, SBAM mentor matchmaking initiatives, resource navigation, support services, procurement opportunities, access market research data and much more! If this Board sees an issue that is directly affecting many small businesses’ growth in the state, it would be their job to address it. With a Board and a Governor’s appointee all tasked with the specific job of assisting small business growth in our state, there is great opportunity to bring Michigan to the forefront in small business economic development.

When it comes to business development there are tons of programs to assist with access to capital for start-ups or to help larger corporations expand, but the companies in the “middle”, otherwise known as second-stage companies (9-99 employees), where a majority of Michigan’s jobs come from tend to be left out. With Michigan’s Golf Courses having on average about 15 employees, your business most likely doesn’t qualify for a majority of the existing programs provided. Since the founding of Michigan Celebrates Small Business in 2004, an awards program that focuses on second-stage growth businesses, the cumulative job growth of the total 750 recognized companies is 12,506. Now imagine that, an Amazon level amount of jobs already being created here in Michigan, diverse in industry and location, with almost no state investment. Imagine what these companies, and your golf course, could do if the state assisted in business growth. Now this “investment” isn’t necessarily in direct funding, but supplying businesses with resources to help them grow, and to set up the state government in a way that is responsive and mindful of issues small businesses are having. This issue is precisely why the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) has been working on important public policy that will change the conversation, something we call Entrepreneurship Led Economic Development (ELED). This year SBAM has been working with state legislative leadership to craft a package that will make state government work for small business, make it easier for businesses to comply and understand regulations and obtain occupational licenses, and to assist our state’s powerhouse of job creation when it comes to common issues that are setting them back from their full growth potential.

Creation of a Small Business Director The Small Business Director would be tasked with facilitating creation and retention of small business jobs in the state, creating a one-stop-shop for small businesses interactions with state government, facilitate a website tasked with providing resources for small businesses, fielding and investigating complaints from small businesses, and much more. This Director and their office would essentially be a small business advocate directly within the bureaucracy that can listen and act on issues that businesses across the state are having. The days of calling through a list of various government bureaucrats hoping to stumble on someone who understands your businesses’ issue is over. Creation of Department level Small Business Liaisons Require all state agencies that investigate, inspect, or monitor small businesses to have a specific Small Business Liaison in said agency. Currently, many of the departments and agencies that regulate and enforce regulation on small businesses don’t have an individual in their office that focuses on small businesses. This means that if you have an issue with a department as a small business owner, there usually isn’t a contact for you to speak with - this bill would change that. Many of the issues that small businesses have are very unique, and many of the rules that these bodies create are discussed without a small business voice directly at the table. Our current system demonstrates how rules and regulations that departments enact are created without understanding implications on small businesses. It’s time for the government to be responsive and mindful about their impact on small businesses, and to do that we need advocates at the table.

THE POLICY: Creation of a Small Business Administrator and the Small Business Growth Acceleration Board The Small Business Administrator, who is appointed by the Governor, would be Chair of the Small Business Growth Acceleration Board whose tasks are to promote and coordinate small business growth efforts. Specific areas this Board would look into to develop include, but are not limited to,

Continued on page 13



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From tees to greens and fairways in-between Brian Herndon covers clubhouses, golf carts, mowers, inventory, liquor and more. Call today for your free quote! (248) 486-4160 | 23200 Pontiac Trail, Ste. B, South Lyon


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Legislative Bulletin by TOM SCHWARK, Owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb

Thank you for elevating the “Voice of Michigan Golf Business”

• MGCA has weighed in on federal issues through our relationship with the NGCOA and continues to monitor should they impact our state.


As Chair of the MGCA Government Affairs Committee, THANK YOU to the courses that donated golf rounds in support of the Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf. As the “Voice of Michigan Golf Business”, the proceeds from the sale of the Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf have made it possible for us to represent and elevate the Michigan golf industry at the Capitol. Here are some of the ways that the Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf and YOUR SUPPORT have helped to elevate the golf industry in Michigan: • MGCA Government Affairs and SBAM effectively changed language on legislation making it workable for the small and golf business community. Most recently in 2018, the Paid Sick Leave Act and Minimum Wage Act had seasonal business language added to the bill as a result of MGCA’s direct input. • MGCA fostered and developed relationships with key legislators, educating them on golf’s economic impact in our state. • MGCA testified in committee hearings and conveyed how eliminating Daylight Savings Time would negatively impact the golf industry. • MGCA invited all Michigan golf associations to join and form the Michigan Golf Alliance. Through this alliance we are able to have important dialogue about the Michigan golf industry. • MGCA manages and executes the annual “Legislative Day on the Capitol Lawn” with the Michigan Golf Alliance. Our goal is to connect and to educate every legislator on golf’s $4.2 Billion economic impact. Packets are delivered and “Lunch on the Lawn” is served to legislators and their staff. • MGCA has spent time building and joining coalitions that help the golf industry with our proactive legislative agenda. Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan, MI Restaurant and Lodging Association, MI Retailers Association, and Pure Michigan staff. • MGCA Government Affairs Committee works to develop a proactive legislative agenda for the remainder of 2019 and into the next year. • MGCA monitors all legislation ensuring it is business and golf friendly.

Continued from page 11

Creation of a Virtual Business Roadmap This “Roadmap” would work much like the common tax platform “TurboTax” in which it would ask a series of questions in an easy format that would: identify possible legal entities for said business; assist users with state compliance issues; identify and assist in applying for appropriate licenses and permits; and link to other pertinent small business resources available. Many small business owners struggle with keeping up with regulations and rules the government is making. Having a system that is simple to use and effective in assisting owners with compliance and regulatory issues will give business owners more time to focus on business growth as well as make it much easier for new entrepreneurs to get started. These ideas are not unique or expensive, they’re common-sense changes that will make Michigan attractive to entrepreneurs and make it easier for you to run and grow your business. This bill package would make our state government deliberate in removing barriers to small business growth, responsive to inquiries, and mindful of it’s impact on small business owners. It’s about time state government worked for small business.



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From Your Superintendent by ADAM IKAMAS, CGCS, Executive Director, Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association ber of the MiGCSA. Membership dues are only $100 a year and come with 4 issues of our full color 50+ page quarterly magazine Course Conditions, access to the members only area of the website which has very active used equipment classifieds, employment posting areas along with timely news and information. Overall, the website had more than 3 million hits in 2018. We offer more than 20 low cost networking, educational and fundraising events a year with more than 1,000 total attendees a year. In the past ten years we have donated more than $215,000 to turf research at MSU and awarded more than $56,000 of scholarships to benefit our industry. What value do you put on course conditions at your facility? What is your budget for improvement and education for your Superintendent? Are you are investing in the people who have the greatest impact on your bottom line every year by getting them to the Michigan Golf Business Conference and having them be an active participant in the MiGCSA? It can be the best return on investment for the most important part of your operation. See you in December!

Thank you to the MGCA for allowing us to have a section in this issue of Tee Off Times to represent the more than 750 members of the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association (www.MiGCSA. org), one of the largest chapters in the country. We also appreciate the opportunity for our members to gain CEU credits from our national association, the GCSAA ( at the Michigan Golf Business Conference. As many of you prepare budgets for the coming year, have you considered the opportunities for your Superintendent to build their network and knowledge like many of you do with the MGCA? No matter the size or set up of your facility the most important asset is the golf course, and the most important part of that asset are the course conditions. No matter how good the food is, or how great the merchandise is, with poor turf conditions you cannot survive. So, we ask you to make sure you are giving your Superintendent the same opportunities you get from the MGCA by making sure they are an active mem-

Schwark to join Legislative Action Council SBAM’s Legislative Action Council (LAC) is a premier group of small business owners that directly makes all decisions regarding SBAM’s involvement in public policy issues. Tom Schwark, owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb and Chairman of the MGCA’s Government Affairs Committee, has joined this important group. As a member of the LAC, Tom will be a part of quarterly meetings where in-depth public policy with expert presenters will take place. There will also be roundtable discussions on pressing matters in Michigan politics. Through this process, the Legislative Action Council looks at pressing topics to interpret the impact on Michigan’s small business community as a whole, whether or not SBAM should engage in the policy discussion, and assists in creating the plan for SBAM’s team of lobbyists moving forward to impact that policy. With Tom’s past work as the MGA’s Government Affairs Chair, he is an obvious adTEE-OFF TIMES

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dition to the Council and will provide much needed insight on the overall impact public policy has on Michigan’s golf industry.

Then Lieutenent Governor Brian Calley with Tom Schwark at Michigan Golf Day at the Capitol.


National Golf Course Owners’ Benefits by DAVE BARTON, NGCOA Director of Programs Hello Michigan golf course owners and operators. As the newest staff member at the NGCOA, I’d first like to thank the MGCA for the opportunity to introduce myself, Dave Barton, Director of Programs for the NGCOA. I arrived in Charleston in April of this year, following a multi-year relationship with Raspberry Golf Management in Northern Virginia as a PGA Golf Professional, which followed my Navy career flying helicopters. The golf business after the Navy? Clearly, I am a glutton for punishment. I have had the privilege of cleaning carts and bathrooms, running tournaments, teaching full-time, managing golf clubs as a Head Golf Professional, and doing my share of acquisition work. Currently, I have an ownership interest in a nice driving range/practice facility/par-3 course in northern Virginia. I share this with you so you know I come from the operational and ownership side of the golf business and am a resource here to serve you, the Members of the MGCA and NGCOA. My primary focus is ensuring our national programs are of value to our Members, specifically Smart Buy and our newly launched Business Services of-

ferings (employee health benefits, property/casualty insurance, flood risk protection, HR/payroll, and 401 (k) MEP). The Michigan members have a range of outstanding purchasing opportunities through the MGCA, and our national programs are there to add even more value to your membership. As I move forward in this role, please let me know if you see opportunities where we can improve, or add relationships that are of real value to your clubs. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of you recently and welcome the opportunity to speak with and meet many more of you in the future. I wish you the best of success for the remainder of the season, and going into 2020. Dave Barton, PGA NGCOA Director of Programs 843-471-2765

MGCA Welcomes Newest Members With so many reasons to join your golf business association it is no wonder our membership is growing. We welcome these new members in 2019. Take a look at page 23 and review the Member Benefits. These are just some of the valuable incentives to Arrowhead Golf Course, Lowell Bedford Hills Golf Club, Temperance Chestnut Valley Golf Course, Harbor Springs Clear Lake Golf Club, Big Rapids Crystal Lake Golf Club, Beulah Garland Resort, Lewiston Gaylord Golf Club, Gaylord Golden Sands Golf Course, Silverlake

our members. And the list keeps growing because being a member of the Michigan Golf Course Association makes you a member of the National Golf Course Owners Association AND the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Gracewil Country Club, Grand Rapids Heather’s Club, Bloomfield Hills Lenawee Country Club, Adrian Links at Lake Erie, Monroe Links at Whitmore Lake, Whitmore Lake Macatawa Legends Golf Club, Holland Sage Run Golf Club, Harris 15

Sandy Creek Golf Course, Monroe Sweetgrass Golf Club, Harris The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club, Ann Arbor The Sawmill Golf Club, Saginaw Timberstone at Pine Mountain, Iron Mountain Woodlands of Van Buren, Wayne


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Yamaha’s Exclusive Distributor says Thanks

Yamaha is Cart of the Year for the third straight year and Golf Cars Plus won the President Award for the best distributor in Yamaha. Golf Cars Plus is proud to be the exclusive Yamaha Golf Car distributor in Michigan and a partner of the Michigan Golf Course Association. Representing the most innovative and fastest growing brand in the industry is exciting but does come with challenges. We continue to strive to meet these challenges headon through education and collaboration with our golf course partners and customers. At Golf Cars Plus, we believe it is not just about selling a product or service, but creating an experience that makes the operations of a golf course as pleasant as the game itself. Today, Golf Cars Plus and Yamaha are proud of our strong team of partners including the NGCOA, the National Golf Foundation, the GCSAA, CMAA, LPGA Women Who Play, LPGA USGA Girls Golf, the Davis Love Foundation, Folds of Honor, The First Tee, multiple PGA sections, and the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association. We would like to thank Michigan golf courses for their continued patronage as we continue to find new and interesting way to better the golf course experience. We look forward to the future of upgrading more and more golf courses to the Golf Cars Plus and Yamaha experience.


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to your course each season

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Simply provide an exclusive offer to your course for Farm Bureau members and we’ll market it year round for FREE! Call the Member Communications & Relations Department today at (517) 323-6552 to learn more.

Knowledge is King by KEVIN HELM, Executive Director, Michigan Section PGA fication requirement. Every three years, PGA Professionals need to earn 54 MSR credits in order to maintain their active membership in the PGA. So, it is my guess that you will see a number of PGA Professionals taking advantage of your educational offerings in December in Mt. Pleasant. The Michigan PGA is also planning on having a presence again at the vendor fair during the conference. Last year, myself and Todd Smith, PGA Career Services Consultant for Michigan and Indiana, attended and enjoyed the opportunity to speak to several golf course operators about the PGA and the benefits a PGA Professional can bring to your facility. Please stop by and see us this year at Soaring Eagle or feel free to contact Todd or me if we can answer any questions for you. Kevin Helm, Executive Director – Michigan PGA (517-641-7421 or khelm@ Todd Smith, PGA Career Services Consultant (561-371-2778 or

The Michigan PGA will be having their Fall Annual Meeting in late October. Part of the activities around the meeting will be education for our PGA Professionals to help them continue to learn and grow as operators and managers. Our seminars this Fall will focus on succeeding in a challenging economy, how to build your own staff education program, and how to thoroughly understand financial statements. Clearly, these topics fall under business management and should be applicable for most of our Professionals. That being said, PGA Professionals work in many different facets of the industry and it is hard to always provide education that will be of interest or a benefit to all of them. That is why we are happy to promote the MGCA Golf Business Conference to our membership. Each year there is a terrific education schedule covering a diverse range of topics. Our PGA Professionals will also receive MSR credits that will count towards their membership recerti-

Wishing you the best for a terrific remainder to the 2019 golf season.

BrightView Golf Maintenance

Corporate Member Profile BrightView Golf Maintenance – Better Conditions, Better Bottom Line. Did you know course conditions are the #1 factor for a golfer’s enjoyment? Could your course benefit from better conditions, and perhaps even reduce your maintenance budget? At BrightView, conditions are our specialty. We are like a management company, yet focus exclusively on golf course maintenance. We have been around for 30 years and currently have around 85 partner courses. Admittedly we are not for everyone, however for operators looking to improve conditions or impact their bottom line we can be a great solution.

Need high-res graphic By taking your existing budget (or even a bit less), we are positioned to improve your golf course conditions and steadily enhance them over time. Our in house Ph.D. agronomist’s science-based plans, proprietary operation systems/methods, massive buying power of equip17

ment and materials give BrightView Golf Maintenance the leverage to improve conditions and contain cost. Check out our website to learn more (, or contact Ron Stepanek at 267-804-5473 or ron.stepanek@ www.MichiganGCA.ORG

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Are you ready for an inspection?

MTESP Partners


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The Grass IS Greener in Michigan by CAREY MITCHELSON, Executive Director, Michigan Turfgrass Foundation It is my pleasure to write on behalf of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation for this issue of Tee Off Times. Many of you reading this issue are keen supporters of golf in our state and are aware of Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) and our function and purpose. For those who are not familiar with our Foundation…and those who would appreciate an update, I am grateful for the chance to review what the MTF provides and what impact it has on the golf industry in Michigan and anywhere golf is played. It was my honor to serve on the MTF Board of Directors for 9 years. At the completion of my tenure I was asked to continue as Executive Director and replace the retiring Gordon LaFontaine. Those acquainted with Gordie know there are two erroneous facts in the previous sentence. It is widely known Gordie will never retire, his respect for the Foundation runs well past a passion, as indicated by your organizations honoring him for his service in our industry by naming him with the MGCA Meritorious Award in 2018. As for the matter of replacing Gordie…he will never be duplicated. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. Gordie made you want to do something …and he is revered for it and we thank him for all he has done. The MTF exists to provide funding for the 8 faculty members at MSU – referred to as the “Turf Team”. The required funding and support of turf research is very much a group effort and is performed by our Board of Directors comprised of 12 individuals. Each board member is elected from a designated area of the State of Michigan as well as selected industry make-ups. The board meets on a regular basis to review the needs of the Turf Team and provide them tools for their continuing research. Research has a wide scope and includes many not so familiar items. It includes support of Graduate Students who are the key to research, Student Scholarships at MSU for future turfgrass managers, equipment procurement of over $500,000 for the 56 acres of test plots and lab items at the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center (one of the preeminent facilities in the world). The Foundation operates both on an operational budget and with endowments designed to sup-

port the specific needs of the professors and the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center. The operational budget is funded via memberships, donations, and our annual events including MSU Field Day, Annual Turf Conference, Tee Times 4 Turf and the LaFontaine Golf Outing. The MTF Endowments are specific to certain needs and have financial and use restrictions that ensure that the funding put aside will always be there to provide for needs when they arise. Each board strives to improve the MTF and the past few years many diligent, hard-working individuals have given their free time to make those “plans” reality….and there is certainly a difference. Recently, reality came in the form of combining our available funding to produce a fund specifically designed to ensure an annual distribution for Graduate Assistantship. This fund combines with the Rieke Endowment and will provide much of the financing required to help the Turf Team produce research. The board asked the Turf Team years ago what would be the best use of funds for their purposes. The unanimous choice was funding of Graduate Assistants. Certainly, Michigan is fortunate to have so many allied associations working together to advance the game of golf. The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is only one part of the liaison, but it is a key player when critical, scientific information is needed. The Turf Team supports all who may need questions answered or a reference when one is needed. The MTF would not be able to perform all the tasks required without the support of the many clubs and individuals who belong to the MTF, help with our Tee Times 4 Turf or attend any of our events. Thank you for all your support over the years and for the years to come. I look forward to hearing from any of you who may be interested in further information regarding the Foundation and hope all that have been members will continue to support our organization. As always, we encourage those in the Golf Industry to help support the MTF and its goal of improving our playing surfaces. It will be one of your best investments. Thank you. 19


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Family First Versus Business First by REJEANA HEINRICH, Stevens Center for Family Business at Saginaw Valley State University bank. A business-first FB will require that personal and business spending is kept separate, with cash flow generated from the business used to build business and drive value. Communication and Conflict – Families who give precedence to outward harmony can tend to avoid conflict, sweeping issues under the rug or otherwise refusing to deal with problems. Families who set clear boundaries between family and business matters have constructive ways in which to deal with sensitive issues and challenges, and productive methods for handling conflict.

Family businesses are complicated. Not only must they meet all of the challenges and demands of any business, but they must also manage the intricate – sometimes treacherous – terrain of family relationships. To help navigate the path to success, families who are in business together frequently are advised to consider whether they’re going to orient their enterprise to “family first” or “business first.” What is going to take precedence – family needs or business imperatives? An often-quoted statistic about family businesses is that about 30% of them survive into the second generation; 12% will still be viable into the 3rd generation, and 3-4% of all family businesses will continue operating at the 4th generation level and beyond. A key factor in determining the company’s longevity can be its “family first versus business first” philosophy. Actually, where a family business stands across this family first/business first continuum is probably fluid, depending on the situation and the circumstances. But, there are several areas that can be formed into ongoing family policies and procedures, to help guide decision-making. Successors – A family-first business will perpetuate itself by always – or, whenever possible – putting a family member into a position of leadership, basing the decision on family hierarchy rather than ability. This contrasts sharply with a business-first orientation, which requires that the best person for the job, one who meets the qualifications and requirements regardless of blood ties, will be hired. Compensation – In a business-first enterprise, everyone is paid according to the same marketbased scale, regardless of their familial ties, and salary is tied to position, performance, and track record. Family-first companies may award nonperformance-based compensation, paid regardless of the impact on the overall success of the company. Perks – The perks that family members employed in the business can receive are endless, including treating business accounts like a personal piggyTEE-OFF TIMES

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“A major complicating factor in balancing the interests of the family and the business is that the two systems frequently have diametrically opposed objectives and desired outcomes.” A major complicating factor in balancing the interests of the family and the business is that the two systems frequently have diametrically opposed objectives and desired outcomes. As expressed in a FB transition-planning guide, “The family is a system with a primary purpose of nurturing and developing member self-esteem and sharing common values. Each family operates with its own style, role relationships, rules and ways of dealing with stress and expressing emotions. “In contrast, a business system’s primary purpose is to use resources to make a profit. Combining a family with a business blurs the lines that distinguish one system from the other.” Consider the following: · The family unit is an emotional system – it flourishes in an environment of love and nurturing. But the business system is task based – the individual’s value derives specifically from their function. · Within the family, the mission is to raise the offspring to be independent, competent adults. Within the business, the mission is to produce profitable goods and services. · Equality is the rule within families – Mom and Dad (theoretically) love each child the same, regardless of their gifts and talents. But in a business, compeContinued on page 21


Interactive Marketing by STEWART HEALEY, President, Handicomp we’ve always known we have an ace in the hole because we have a database full of golfer/course information and it’s something we want to share with you.

Simple question: For golf courses is it better to have more interactions with more golfers or do interactions not matter? Pretty simple question; obvious answer. Without interactions marketing, let alone business, doesn’t exist. Somewhere, somehow businesses must cross paths with prospects in order to gain their attention. Without interactions, there is nothing! An interaction is simply a point in time where your course intersects with a golfer; a point in time where you’re serving them, or you have their attention. Too often we talk about interactions, usually in the form of relationships, but then do little to increase their volume and quality. Instead of making them happen we wait and hope they happen; hoping to benefit from chance encounters. Considering all the tools at our disposal it’s remarkable we don’t use them to their fullest to maximize the number of interactions we have with prospects; whether they be new or repeat. We at Handicomp struggle with this too. We wonder how often to interact and what to say, and sometimes that ends up not being enough or in the correct format to be fully understood. Well,

“Considering all the tools at our disposal it’s remarkable we don’t use them to their fullest to maximize the number of interactions we have with prospects; whether they be new or repeat.” By the time you read this article those we identify as course administrators will begin to receive an Admin Monthly Summary Report detailing a volume and quality of interactions your course has with its golfers; as tracked through our Golf Network Systems. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s intriguing and we’re very hopeful it’s helpful to many of you. And for those who don’t offer league management, tournament management and/or handicapping through our systems, we will present insight into how these applications can enhance and increase quality golfer interactions; whether they be through us or some other third party. Essentially, when it comes to technology, golfers have expectations, and tools that create and document interactions are readily available to meet those expectations. Well planned marketing communications (need those emails), anything that can be tied to your website or to a mobile app that travels with the golfer 24/7, and those service applications that document golfer activity such as Handicapping, Leagues, and Outing & Tournament management systems are there to be exploited. So, step further into interactive marketing and your course will intersect more often with more golfers; thereby enhancing your relationship with the golfers in your area.

Family First Continued from page 20

tency is valued and rewarded. · Similarly, acceptance of the individuals within a family is unconditional. In the business, acceptance is based on objective performance. · Family relationships are permanent. Business relationships are contractual, and probably temporary, with employer or employee able to end the relationship at any time. · Power within families frequently derives from what generation the individual is in, or where they fall within the sibling birth order. In the business world, power is primarily based on authority and influence. Schuman, Stutz and Ward in their book, Family Business as a Paradox, suggest, “One of the most powerful challenges in family businesses is managing the natural occurring tensions between the family and the business. Wise families know that the answer to this dilemma is to not choose one over the other, but be aware of the primacy of both.”

Handicomp is a Preferred Vendor of the MGCA. Reach them at 21


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Fair Billing No Auto Renewal Simple invoicing

Experience the Purple Advantage A family business since 1933, offers the widest selection of linen to the food and beverage markets in Michigan. TEE-OFF TIMES FALL 2019

Contact us




Napkins and Tablecloths Round Tablecloths Aprons and Towels Apparel Custom Embroidery Entrance/Logo Mats Facility Hygiene Services

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 partners with VGM as the exclusive cart provider. Rebates available • VGM Club membership is reduced by up to $250 annually • MGCA 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 • Up to $400 Direct TV Savings (or MORE when converting from another provider) • Yamaha Golf Cart rebates • Credit Card Processing will save significant $$ and hassle • MGCA pays for your membership in the NGCOA

• 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 • MGCA 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 5 other state/regional golf owner/operator associations to create 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 e-news 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) • 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 • Brochure of Golf Industry economic impact

To join visit

1005 Abbot Road Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 and click on


(517) 482-4312 800-860-8575 040219



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

Title ________________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________________________________

State ____________________

( ) Telephone _____________________________________________________

( ) Fax _____________________________________________________

Toll Free __________________________________________________

Zip ________________________

(required) e-mail ________________________________________________________

Web Site www. ________________________________________________________________________________

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, university golf operations, 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 ................................$175.00

18 holes.........................$350.00


27 holes...............................$450.00

36 holes.........................$450.00


45 holes...............................$575.00

54 holes.........................$575.00


63 holes...............................$575.00

Multiple Courses ..........$575.00


Management Companies... $575.00

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 MGCA and send to: Michigan Golf Course 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: or TEE-OFF TIMES

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MGCA 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 Derek Woelke @ 734-502-5649, to have our local Market Development Manager contact you to help you increase your total profit. 25


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Dec. 2 - 4, 2019

Soaring Eagle Resort, Mt. Pleasant

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



Cocktails and Connections and the Annual Awards Banquet wrap up this fact-packed and fun-filled day while we celebrate your peers and honor the award winners.

Start with an educational preconference lineup on cloud computing (additional price), social media tips, how to administer security audits and leveraging the Pure Michigan magic. Then connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues at the Opening Night Reception from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Time to get inspired.


We will wake you up with a wonderful breakfast and all the news from the MGCA and the NGCOA. Jada Paisley, MGCA Executive Director will review 2019 and then get you ready for the upcoming year. Jay Karen, NGCOA’s CEO and Executive Director will update us on our national organization’s events, strategies and programs.


Kick off this year’s conference theme with Elevate By Design with our great friend Whitney Reid Pennell. Whitney will take us through setting goals for each attendee at the conference. Looking at the SWOT analysis, she will help us gather the information and create an action plan to take back to the golf course. No matter what your role is, you will start the conference with knowing by the end of it, you will have your game plan in place when you go back to the office.

A Government Affairs recap of 2019 and forshadowing of 2020 by our SBAM strategic partner Micah Babcock, Director of Government Operations follows or you can choose to learn how Your Business Culture Dictates Success with Jon Scott, President of Gull Lake View.   We will send you on your way and teach you how to Put your Plan in Action with Whitney Reid Pennell. Using the workbook from the opening general session, it’s time to create your plan on how to implement.  Whether it’s with a team you manage, or for yourself, take it to the next level by setting realistic objectives with the knowledge from the conference.

Then get a Golf Outing Needs Assessment or find out if Your Course is MIOSHA Ready. Next up…lunch at the VENDOR FAIR featuring DOZENS OF YOUR Michigan golf business suppliers, some old friends and some new.

Early Bird Price

The afternoon continues with a Pure Michigan 2019 Review, Innovative Ideas in the Golf Industry and your Top 10 Legal Questions    TEE-OFF TIMES

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Register for the FULL conference

by October 4


Get Monday Pre-Con Education FREE!

Michigan Golf Business

Dec. 2-4, 2019 Soaring Eagle Resort, Mt. Pleasant


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

Registration: One Day

Monday Education

Tuesday Only

Member Passbook Member* Non-Member

With Conference

1 Attendee = $360



Member ($250) x ____ = $____________

2 Attendees = $560



Non-Member ($350) x _____ = $____________

3 Attendees = $760



4 Attendees = $810



5 Attendees = $880



Plus $100 for each attendee over 5

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

Payment Information


$__________ Monday Education


Non-Member ($200) x _____ = $____________ SUB-TOTAL $_____________

One Day


Member ($150) x ____ = $____________

$ SUB-TOTAL _____________



$35 Monday only

Wednesday Only

Full Conference

SUB-TOTAL $__________



(No refunds after November 21, 2019)

Check payable to MGCA 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 Soaring Eagle and receive the MGCA discounted rate of $99 per night for single/double and includes parking. To make hotel reservation by phone call the hotel directly at (877) 232-4532. Please reference the MI Golf Business Conference.

Three ways to register! Online at

Fax this form to (517) 267-8984 27

Mail to: 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823 www.MichiganGCA.ORG

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Tee-Off Times


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

Address Service Requested

Tee-Off Times is published by the Michigan Golf Course Association, editor – Kate Moore. MGCA offices are located at 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone (517) 482-4312, Fax (517) 267-8984. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the MGCA. MGCA’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, nor 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


Profile for Michigan Golf Course Association

Fall 2019 Tee-Off Times  

The Fall 2019 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

Fall 2019 Tee-Off Times  

The Fall 2019 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

Profile for mgcoa