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Virtual Conference Highlights Experience the Michigan Golf Business Conference Remotely

In this issue: Michigan Golf Business Conference 2020 16th Annual Golf League Championship Schwark weighs in on new virtual conference

2020 Course of the Year

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 | brian.herndon@fbinsmi.com 23200 Pontiac Trail, Ste. B, South Lyon




A Toast to Golf ! by GILDA JOHNSON, MGCA President A few summers ago I read a book called But What if We are Wrong by Chuck Klosterman, a book that challenges beliefs in many areas including scientific theories, our perception of great leaders, and even our contemporary interests in entertainment. The catchy title lives actively somewhere in my subconscious, making me question decisions that I make in my business and even in my personal life. This golf season has certainly proven me wrong about so many long-standing beliefs about my business; that booking more golf outings was desirables, that rates should change with the season, that millennials were not interested in golf, to name a few. Granted we are operating in an unprecedented moment, a period where golf enjoys little competition for our customer’s time and resources. I believe that the golf industry is not giving itself enough credit when we attribute the success only to the lack of competition from other rec-

reational activities. I believe that golf is thriving because when golfers either started golfing again, or took up golf for the first time, they actually had fun. They enjoy being outdoors, disconnecting from their computer games, televisions, and other electronic devices. Golfers realized on their own, all the benefits that we have been preaching for years. It is a sport that offers wonderful experiences, an opportunity for families and friends to spend time together, and to slow down. It is not unusual for customers to speak to me or another member of our staff, about how much they have enjoyed golfing this year. Often, they speak about reconnecting with old friends, with families, and how it has helped them feel a sense of normalcy. It is not by chance that golfers around the country are enjoying their golf experiences. Golfers are reaping the benefits

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 info@MichiganGCA.org

of the years of hard work that owners and operators have invested into creating beautiful courses for people to enjoy. It is because of your dedication, the commitment of all of our staff that has worked so hard over the years, that we are able to deliver the wonderful gift of golf to our customers. I believe that these are important drivers behind the success of golf. As we reflect upon the season, let’s give a Toast to Golf,! for all the good it has brought to so many in these very difficult times. I encourage you to join us at our Virtual Conference in a few weeks – it is a time for all of us to speak about our experiences, to share ideas, and to speak about how we can make our facilities better and more profitable. Most importantly, however, the conference is an opportunity to connect with fellow operators and to just say hello. I look forward to it and hope you do too.

Michigan Golf Business Virtual Conference Series 2020

December 1 / December 3 / December 8 / December 10

Board of Directors President

Vice President


Past President

Kathy Aznavorian Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center

Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club

Bill Mory Meridian Sun Golf Course

Tom Schwark Sycamore Hills

Corey Crowell Indian River Golf Course

Toni Joers Concord Hills

Bay Paul Course Logix

Susan Vanderburg Indian Lake Hills

Bernie Friedrich Boyne USA

Bob Koutnik Fox Run Country Club

Gilda Johnson Lake Forest Golf Club

Jim Dewling Total Golf Inc.

Jim Szilagyi The Lynx Golf Club


Bill Fountain Majestic at Lake Walden



Stoatin Brae Named 2020 Michigan Golf Course of the Year Placek, Brian Schneider and Brian Slawnik, senior associates for Renaissance Design of Traverse City in collaboration with the Scott family. “The geographic area does have a northern Michigan feel, but the goal with Stoatin Brae is the opposite,” Scott said. “Think Scotland but surrounded by forest-covered hills.” Stoatin Brae — translated from Gaelic meaning Grand Hill — has the elements to become a destination course. It’s part of the plan for the Scott family. They hope to continue to attract golfers from across the upper Midwest and beyond to the scenic, rolling countryside between the cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in Southwest Michigan. “Stoatin Brae offers a unique golfing experience,” MGCA Board President Gilda Johnson of Lake Forest Golf Course in Ann Arbor said. “We know golfing customers are wowed when they take to the tee.”

Developed in 2016, Stoatin Brae has become the jewel of the Gull Lake View Golf and Resort collection in Augusta, Mich. Accolades have been many for the young golf course and the latest is its selection as the 2020 Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA). “We are both proud and humbled to have been selected Golf Course of the Year,” Charlie Scott, CEO of the family-owned Gull Lake View properties said. The MGCA Course of the Year Award honors a member course that meets four criteria: unique characteristics of the course; exceptional quality of ownership and management; outstanding contribution to its community; and significant contribution to the game. Unique among championship golf courses in Michigan, Stoatin Brae is located at one of the highest points in Kalamazoo County and presents sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It was designed by Eric Iverson, Don

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Pain Points are Opportunities in Disguise by JADA PAISLEY, Exexutive Director The upcoming Michigan Golf Business Virtual Conference Series and Vendor Fair is an opportunity in disguise for our association and our members. Shifting the perspective of how to now connect with conference attendees has not been easy for me. I imagine many of you can relate. While having a virtual conference extends our reach to members that have not been able to attend an in-person conference, not being able to shake hands and greet our members in person isn’t our “style.” But now more than ever, we as an industry need to meet. Over the past few months the opportunity surfaced for our Educational Support Committee to visualize how a virtual conference would compare to an in person conference. The committee decided to go for it. I’ve outlined here a few of the highlights of the day to day you will be experiencing throughout the Conference. Take this opportunity to “tune in” to your fellow members and industry experts. These components will follow you throughout the Conference: Reception Area, Stage, Sessions, Networking and Expo. Each is unique and compliments the others for a complete Conference experience. Reception…The MGCA Team will greet you each day, similarly to how we would at the registration desk at the in-person conference. One of us will give you the lowdown on where to go and where to be. We will be the first smiling faces you see each day. Stage…Attend the Headliner and Keynote sessions. Be greeted by moderators and attendees with whom you can chat about the sessions and the days other activities. Think

of this like sitting down to a cup of coffee with fellow attendees before the session begins. Sessions…Decide which Breakout Sessions you will attend; maybe divide them up among your staff as you would at an in-person conference. Expect to be greeted by the Presenter(s). You will also be engaged with interactive polls and live Q&A segments. Networking…Always a huge part of any conference, networking in this virtual format is no different. Visualize yourself ‘working’ the room. Every few minutes you will have the opportunity to chat with someone you know or maybe meet someone new. The room will be full of golf industry representatives. Expo…The Michigan Golf Business Conference would not be the same without the Vendor Fair. “Walk” around and visit each of the vendors and talk with them. Talk with at least 10 and be entered into a MGCA Door Prize drawing. See the same friendly faces of the vendors you have known for years and meet new ones, too! What’s the Genius Lounge and how does it work in the virtual format? It’s the gathering spot to chat with your peers about the day. Since we can’t gather in the lobby area of the hotel, let’s gather here. No mask required. If you have registered for the conference already at www. michigangca.org, you will have been asked to identify a pain point you are looking to solve. The top 3 most mentioned pain points will become discussion points for the last day of the Michigan Golf Business Virtual Conference series (December 10). I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Conference. Let’s shift our perspective of how to now connect and join together to learn about all of the new opportunities that await.

Golf League Championship’s 16th Year On Sunday, September 27, the golfers in this annual event were greeted with sunshine and a warm welcome. Eagle Eye Golf Course in Bath hosted the MGCA’s Golf League Championship and over a hundred golfers came out to meet the challenge. The field of golfers comes from leagues all around the state who have registered with this unique league management program offered by the Michigan Golf Course Association and their technology partner Handicomp. It allows golfers of any skill level to compete in a state-wide tournament. The Tournament is scored as match play against

the field, so one poor hole doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of contention. MGCA and Handicomp, a Grand Rapids based internet handicapping and industry information provider, team together to make the Golf League Championship season and tournament functional and feature rich, culminating with the crowning of the State League Champions each year. Eagle Eye Golf Course is the host course for the Championship and their outstanding staff insures a great experience is had Continued on page 7




Legislative Bulletin by MICAH BABCOCK, Director of Government Operations, SBAM advocacy. This year we’ve been in contact more than ever with our federal officials, just through digital mediums. CurKeeping Small Business rently, our largest battle is the 2nd round of stimulus and on Legislators Minds pushing PPP (Paycheck Protection Programs) forgiveness as well as pushing out a 2nd round of PPP to small business Many of you know the long standing owners across the country. Unfortunately, we are not out of relation between SBAM and MGCA, the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19. For many the toughest times are yet to come and especially when it comes to advocacy. the PPP program has been critical But did you know that SBAM also for the survival of many businesses. has a voice in Washington D.C.? When it comes to concerns Brian Calley (SBAM President) and around Federal or State of MichiI, in non-COVID times, frequently gan policy, what’s keeping you up travel to Washington D.C. to advoat night? Reach out to me at micah. cate on the federal level for pro-small babcock@sbam.org anytime with business policy with a group known any concerns you’re having or issues as the National Small Business Asyou feel are not being addressed by sociation or NSBA. our legislators. Let’s make sure our As you can imagine, as many L-R: Babcock with Congressman Tim Walberg and businesses have been interrupted SBAM CEO Rob Fowler in the Congressman’s Washing- officials are keeping small business at the forefront of their agenda. or changed during this crisis, so has ton DC office.




Legislative Editorial by TOM SCHWARK, Owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb last couple of NGCOA annual conferences and thought his program was excellent. He is funny, articulate, knowledgeable, and very sharp. He has many great ideas and tells stories from his history in broadcasting on the Golf Channel. And you don’t want to miss the Legislative Update given by SBAM president, Brian Calley, happening December 3. He will recap the state and federal elections for us and give us a glimpse into how those will effect 2021. Speaking of no travel, lodging, or food costs, that is another huge advantage for the conference attendees this year. Other than the cost of the conference itself, there are no other expenses. I won’t be surprised if there are more attendees this year than at previous conferences. You will get more bang for your buck. The only thing that will be missing is the face to face social gatherings; that will have to wait for another year. Actually, there will be opportunities for networking and interactive chats. Breakout sessions include topics on marketing, customer retention, food service, and a tour of Eagle Eye golf course featuring best practices. Add an employee or two for the virtual conference as the investment is small for the information gained. I highly recommend that you attend this year’s virtual annual conference. You will find it educational, enjoyable, informative, entertaining and, best of all, affordable. I believe we have all had a very good year business-wise. Now, let’s prepare ourselves to have an even better year next year.

I’m Looking Forward to a New Experience Technology has come to the forefront with the advent of Covid-19. Since gatherings have been limited for the time being and the foreseeable future, we have to find new ways to hold meetings and conferences. The MGCA has held board meetings via Zoom since March. Now your association has decided to host its first virtual annual conference. The conference will be held December 1, 3, 8, and 10. There will be breaks between sessions to minimize “computer fatigue”, and sessions will not be held on consecutive days since there are no time restraints as when hosting a conference in person at a fixed location. Jada Paisley, MGCA executive director, has selected Motown Digital to facilitate our conference. Motown has a platform called Hop In which has the ability to handle “speed networking” and also can handle the exhibit/vendor fair component. I had difficulty imagining how we could do a virtual conference so the MGCA board was invited to watch a presentation from another conference. I thought it was simple and effective. It turns out that there will actually be advantages to having a virtual conference. First, and foremost, we have an awesome headliner, Kraig Kann. I have seen him at the

GLC’s 16th Year Continued from page 9

by all. Michigan based Great Lakes Coca Cola is the premier sponsor of the Michigan Golf League Championship and provided the golfers with great prizes and refreshments. Co-Champions this year are: Ian Vergith and Josh Shea (Grupo league) from Shepherd’s Hollow, Clarkston and Julie Westerfield with Jody Andrades (Power Players league) from Hawk Hollow GC, Bath. Any league golfer in Michigan is invited to take part in this annual tournament through the Michigan Golf League Network. For more information visit www. migolfleague.com or contact the MGCA at 800-860-8575.

Golfers are gearing up for the shotgun start at Eagle Eye on a beautiful day. 7



Michigan Golf Business ANNUAL CONFERENCE & VENDOR FAIR VIRTUAL Conference Series Dec. 1 / 3 / 8 / 10 2020 The largest gathering of Golf Course Owners, Operators and Suppliers in Michigan

Looking back and forward

Happening Daily Reception/Registration

The MGCA Staff will be “online” to greet you between 9:00 and 10:00. Log onto the Conference and view the daily greeting from MGCA’s President Gilda Johnson. She will help you make the most of the day with important “how to’s” and helpful tips for vendor viewing.

Speed Networking

In this “Hour of Power” networking, you will be matched up randomly and connected with your peers. Speed networking is a structured and fast paced event. This gives you the opportunity to interact with fellow attendees, sharing experiences in a one-on-one session.

Genius Lounge

Looking to unwind after the day and want to connect? Have lots of questions for the speakers or other “geniuses” like yourself? Join the MGCA staff and fellow attendees in the “lounge” to share your light bulb moment from the day.



How to Register


Program Information 8

Conference Overview


11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Speed Networking


Topic today is: What was your take away from Kraig’s morning session?

9:00 - 10:00 am

1:00 - 2:00 pm

10:00 -11:00 am

In the second session Kraig steers the conversation toward building a more attractive personal and professional brand and why it’s so critical to today’s success. He shares the importance for your course, your members and your customers. He’ll also deliver tips on becoming a polished presenter of your message and why standing out as a speaker can help you elevate your business brand and broadcast your business story as never before. Again, this session provides ample opportunity for break-out discussion and questions he’ll answer.

Kraig Kann: Session 2 - Building a more attractive brand

Reception / Registration Kraig Kann: Session 1 - How to be an influencer In the first session, Kraig delivers on the topic of being an influencer within your own club while also becoming more well known in the golf industry itself. Educational, interactive and inspiring, you’ll learn ways you can make a bigger impact, get more people to take notice of both you and your course, and find new ways to promote your golf course as a hub for entertainment, fellowship and local leaders. Questions will follow and there will be spots within the timeframe for interactive discussion.

2:30 - 3:30 pm

About Kraig Kann The foundation of Kraig’s career is unique and has allowed for the special teammates and multiple leadership and partnership opportunities. With over thirty years in television & radio broadcasting including 17 years at Golf Channel/NBC and over 3 at SiriusXM. Kraig was a sports executive serving as the LPGA’s Chief Communications Officer for five years. Having spent 3 years as a faculty member at Full Sail University’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting and almost a dozen as an entrepreneur starting and leading two consulting businesses. “I’ve left my mark by elevating three strong brands in the world of golf”

Genius Lounge

mance. Train the processes and engage your teams to deliver on your property’s brand. Learn how to motivate millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and get them all playing well together despite their radical differences.


2. What are you Doing for Customer Retention? Expert Panel The silver lining over the last 6 months, has been that golf has seen a huge resurgence in rounds of golf being played. New players to the game create a bright future for golf. What we do now to build the relationship with the customer in person and digitally will help to retain them in 2021 and future years. How does email marketing, digital marketing and social media marketing compliment the customer service experience you provide at the course?

9:00 am

Reception / Registration 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

3. Tax and Accounting Update: Sarah Jennings, CPA, Maner Costerisan Join us to reflect on 2020 from a financial perspective. We will have the top 10 things to be aware/wary of as you close the year and go over common questions we have received on the various 2020 legislative acts impacting your business (including PPP funding, employer payroll taxes, PPE purchase considerations and more).

Vendor Fair Viewing

Get a head start on visiting the MGCA Business Conference vendors when you visit this room and see what it’s all about. Twenty of Michigan’s industry suppliers will be waiting to make your acquaintance. Map out ahead of time who you will chat with.

12:30 - 2:30 pm

10:00 -10:45 am

Vendors Live Meetings

MGCA Member Meeting/Legislative Update

Pop into each Vendor’s meeting room and hear what is new or tried and true. Stay for 5 minutes or as long as you wish. Visit at least ten vendors and be entered into our prize drawing.

We start the session with a brief MGCA business meeting to elect our board directors. MGCA’s strategic partner Brian Calley, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan will recap of the 2020 election and how it may impact golf and your business.

3:00 - 4:00 pm

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Speed Networking

Your Choice of Breakout Session:

Topic today is: “What was your takeaway from the breakout session you attended?”

1. Drive Employee Engagement Drive Property Performance Sean Egan, Founder and CEO of Up to Par Management Answering and Delivering on the Right Questions To Ensure High Employee Engagement Levels to Generate Financial and Service Success. Whether you are the owner of multiple golf courses or a department head, learn a variety of different tactics to increase the overall performance of your teams, managers, and leaders. Understand the direct relationship of employee engagement to profitability. Learn measurement tools that you can use to continuously improve your team’s perfor-

4:00 - 5:00 pm

Genius Lounge 9



2. How to Protect Yourself as an Employer Directors of Advocacy from National Golf Course Owners Association join together in this pre­sentation. Prepare for the unexpected in these challenging times of Covid-19. From unemployment issues to working remotely and then heading back to the office, be prepared with the “how to’s” and “what’s legal”. It’s critical to take every precaution seriously to protect yourself and your employees.


9:00 am

Reception / Registration

3. Food and Beverage: 8 ways to make yourself more profitable Sean Taylor, Founder and CEO of Up To Par Management has worked with dozens of clubs and community associations. He will share his most effective and proven revenue-generating actions. He’ll discuss F&B trends, coming out of COVID, and specific strategies you can take to increase F&B and event revenue. He’ll also walk through the steps of designing, training, measuring and reporting that lead to success in their restaurants, bars, event spaces and hospitality centers.

9:30 -10:30 am

Behind the Scenes Come and “tour” Eagle Eye Golf Course in Bath. Experience best management practices used as you walk through the course. The golf course will give a walk-through on everything from cart barn to catering. Tour the course for the first 30 minutes of the session, and then go to the breakout that most aligns with your role at the course to join in facilitated discussion. 1. Front of House (pro shop, merchandising, customer service, marketing, event sales) 2. Back of House (food and beverage, inventory control) 3. Maintenance on the course (golf carts, turf management, equipment)

11:30 am -12:30 pm

Speed Networking

Topic today is: “What are your golf cart maintenance tips and tricks for off season?”

10:30 -11:30 am

1:00 -2:00 pm

Your Choice of Breakout Session:

Genius Lounge

1. MIOSHA, COVID Safety, and Your Course Hear from MIOSHA Director Barton Pickelman, and COVID Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan on MIOSHA’s response to COVID, what free training resources are available to you at the course, and specific questions you have in regard to your business answered.


11:00 am

That’s a Wrap!


Hear from MGCA Executive Director, Jada Paisley. She will share the 2021 vision for the MGCA members including benefits and features of membership, special member only information access, and new ways to meet, learn and share.

9:00 am

Reception / Registration 9:30 - 10:00 am

Benefits of attending:

Morning Chat with MGCA Leadership

Tune in and hear from MGCA Leadership on the top three pain points that surfaced when attendees registered. Hear their perspective before moving into the next breakout session on a “pain point” you are looking to solve in your operation.

• Kraig Kann new book as Conference gift • Conference platform is mobile friendly

10:00 -11:00 am

• Access live educational sessions where you can ask questions

Your Choice of Breakout Session: Look for three different and distinct “pain points” as topic headers that conference attendees identified earlier. These will appear on the Conference’s 12/10 agenda for you to click and join in the Breakout Session.

• Connect with your peers directly by chat or a quick video call

Pain Points are Opportunities in Disguise

• “Welcome Bag” mailed to you prior to the conference series • Virtual Concierge available throughout conference series




Conference Sponsors

Register online! At www.MichiganGCA.org Call us at 800-860-8575 with questions.

CEU Credits Info Continuing Education Credits will be available for PGA, GCSAA and CMAA members.

MGCA Preferred Vendors and Diamond Partners

Conference Attendee Pricing MGCA Member Rate 1 Attendee = $349 / 2 Attendees = $449


3 Attendees = $549 / 4 Attendees = $650

Passbook Member Rate* 1 Attendee = $249 / 2 Attendees = $349 3 Attendees = $449 / 4 Attendees = $549

Non-Member Rate 1 Attendee = $649 / 2 Attendees = $749 3 Attendees = $849 / 4 Attendees = $950 *Golf courses that appear in the annual Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf receive this special rate

No refunds after November 24




Tee-Off Times


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

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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.

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Profile for Michigan Golf Course Association

Winter 2020 Tee-Off Times  

The Winter 2020 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

Winter 2020 Tee-Off Times  

The Winter 2020 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

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