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Have You Hugged Your Clubs Lately?

You should play in the 19th Annual Golf Outing and Supplier Field Day.

In this issue: National legislative notes Gaylord Golf Mecca celebrates 25 years Patriot Golf Day how-to’s Recap of

n 2012 Golfn o the Law

USGolf Cars 2011 Golf Outing team: (l-r) Al Lynch, Joel Nysse, Russ Stoffers and Larry Moore.

19th Annual Golf Outing & Supplier Field Day Thursday, August 9, 2012 Bedford Valley, Battle Creek

Tickets Please! Purchase 10 raffle tickets for $10 or 25 tickets for $20. There is a wonderful assortment of prizes which includes a registration to the NGCOA Annual Conference in San Diego and get away packages to Michigan hotels and golf courses. And more...

Individual Golfers Welcome! We will place you in a group. For additional information contact the MGCOA at 800-860-8575 or

Individual Golfer: • Scramble Format • Dinner • Use of Practice Range • Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin and More

$80.00 includes... • Trophies for the Winning Team • Putting Contest • Door Prizes at Dinner • Golfers Gifts

Registration and Lunch: 11:00 a.m . Shotgun: 12:30 p.m. Dinner and Cocktails: 5:30 p.m.

Golf Outing is Limited to 144 Golfers To reserve your place, please complete the information below and return this form with method of payment by

August 2, 2012

Come and enjoy a wonderful day of golf & networking. Bring your staff, friends, colleagues or come alone— we will make sure you have a great day! ____Golfers @ $80 = __________

Golfer #1______________________________________ Course or Company__________________________________ Phone__________________ e-mail____________________________

Golfer #1______________________________________ Course or Company__________________________________ Phone__________________ e-mail____________________________

Golfer #1______________________________________ Course or Company__________________________________ Phone__________________ e-mail____________________________

Golfer #1______________________________________ Course or Company__________________________________ Phone__________________ e-mail____________________________

Make check payable to: MGCOA, 603 S. Washington, Lansing, MI 48933 or pay with any major credit card. ___Check enclosed ___Charge my credit card ___VISA ___Mastercard ___Discover Card #____________________________________ Exp. Date___________________ Signature_______________________________________________________ 2 TEE-OFF TIMES JULY/AUGUST 2012

News from the President We are in the golf business by Bob Koutnik, MGCOA President

At the end of the day, it’s all about golf. We are golf course owners. Yes, we are business people, customer service specialists, marketing gurus, human resource managers, food and beverage directors, financial planners, maintenance supervisors, janitors. The list goes on and on but in the end, we are golfers. We love the game and we love the business. So, why wouldn’t we play? Just like any one of our customers we could say we are too busy. We could say we can’t get away. We could say we are short staffed. If our customers said that then, guess what? We wouldn’t be in this business we love so much. When your customer asks you what your favorite place to play is, what do you say? When they ask you when the last time you played golf, what do you say? You had better have an honest answer for them that includes the fact that you “just played last Wednesday” and “I love to play anywhere in a 30 mile radius” or “Surprise, surprise, my favorite course is the one I am standing on!” They need to know that you play. Otherwise, where is your credibility? August 9 th is the MGCOA golf

outing. It serves many purposes for the Association. It provides the opportunity for our corporate members to enjoy a round of golf and socialize with members; it is a fund raiser for the Association and for the Educational Support Foundation; and, it creates a reason for you to get out of “the office” and play the game we love. Take your staff, your business partner, your spouse, your best customers, or just yourself. Have you hugged your clubs lately? You should play in the 19th Annual Golf outing and Supplier Field Day. Bob

Board of Directors

Kathy Aznavorian Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center

Larry Moore U.S. Golf Cars


Larry Bowden The Natural

Carolyn Olson Elmbrook Golf Course

Ed Clark Sandy Ridge Golf Course

Steve Ramey Chisholm Hills

Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club

Jim Dewling Total Golf Inc.

Dan Rooney Grand Haven Golf Club


Frank Guastella Franklin Golf

Tom Schwark Sycamore Hills

Toni Joers Concord Hills

Jon Scott Gull Lake View

Fred Mawson Corporate Tax Resources

Curtis Wright Copper Hills Golf Course

Bob Koutnik Fox Run Country Club

Vice President

Susan Vanderburg Indian Lake Hills

Past President

Bill Fountain Majestic at Lake Walden

CALENDAR Aug 9 19th Annual golf Outing and Supplier Field Day, Bedford Valley GC, Battle Creek Sept 23 8th Annual Golf League Championship, Eagle Eye GC, Bath Nov 28-29 Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair, Bavarian Inn Lodge, Frankenmuth

A note about the Golf League Championship program: Our leagues have finished the first half of their seasons and I have had more time and experience with the Michigan Golf League Championship program. I like it more each time I log into it. The program is well thought out and everything you need is easy to access. I am a convinced this program will make me money. You can still enter your leagues. Call Kate at the MGCOA office and she will talk you into it.



What’s in your wallet? “Scott Family” Educational Support Foundation offers grants In 1996 the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association created a separate tax exempt foundation with a mission of “providing training, education and professional development for Michigan golf course owners and operators.” The core belief of the MGCOA “Scott Family” Educational Support Foundation (ESF) is that continuing education opportunities are vital to the success of golf course owners and operators. The ESF is committed to the future. In that effort, two grants have been created for owners, operators and their staff. The “Dul Family” Player Development Leadership Award of $1,500 is awarded to the best on-going program that overcomes the non-golfer’s perceived barriers to playing golf such as: time, cost and intimidation. This recognition award will be presented



to the MGCOA member golf course that demonstrates creativity and success in growing the game. The winner of the “John Dodge CARPE DIEM Award” will receive a check from the ESF for $500 - $1000. Each candidate must be actively engaged in the day-to-day operation of the business. An employee of an MGCOA member may receive up to $,1000 award for innovation and initiative in the support and development of the golf business at which they are employed. Examples include new product, service, system or operation, technology, etc. These recognition awards are presented at the Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair, taking place this year at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth (Nov 28 and 29). To apply, visit, click on “Educational Support” in


the main menu at the top, select one of the applications to download, printout, fill in, then mail to MGCOA.

Sandy Mily, owner of Fox Hills Golf in Plymouth, presents Brian O’Neil of Boyne (left) and Jason Guss of Otsego Club (right) with a plaque and $750 grant each for winning the award at the Michigan Golf Business Conference November 30, 2011, Somerset Inn.

Gaylord Golf Mecca turns 25 Cooperative marketing and the philosophy that a rising tide sails all ships, are the founding principles of the Gaylord Golf Mecca. Founded in 1987, the golf group

The golf industry has certainly seen its share of ups and downs over the years, particularly with downturn of the economy and the shrinking of people’s disposable

The Fazio Premier Course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord.

had the foresight to develop a strategy that would benefit all golf operations and draw on tourism funding and program development. This year marks a major milestone in the history of the economy of Gaylord and Northern Michigan. The key message was and still is that Gaylord has a large variety of quality courses, not just a large variety of courses. In 1987, there were seven golf courses that made up the program and had a modest budget of about $30,000. At the peak of the golf industry in the area, the Mecca had 24 member golf courses that comprised five counties and had a budget of more than $180,000. When the Mecca was formed more than 20 percent of the nation’s golfers lived within the five-state region surrounding and including Michigan. Add to the fact that those five states also have the highest participation rates, meaning the highest percent of the total population of people that play golf.

income for recreation like golf. But the one constant and one of the reasons the Mecca continues to be successful is the “can do” work together spirit that prevails among the owners, managers, golf professionals, bag drop personnel and almost anyone affiliated with the golf industry in Gaylord. The MGCOA congratulates Paul Beachnau, execut i v e d i re c t o r o f the Gaylord Area Convention and To u r i s m B u re a u and the Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce and the Gaylord Golf Mecca on their 25th Anniversary.

Patriot Golf Day 2012 ®

Become an Official Patriot Golf Day Host Facility today! Sparked by the vision and dedication of PGA Professional and MGCOA member Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot, Patriot Golf Day® has raised more than $8.6 million in the past four years. During Patriot Golf Day, golfers nationwide are asked to donate a minimum of $1 to the Folds of Honor Foundation that provides post-secondary educational scholarships to children and spouses of military men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation. To date, more than 2,100 scholarships have been awarded by the Folds of Honor Foundation. To learn more about the families who have benefited from Folds of Honor Foundation scholarships, visit 5

It is easy to get started. Visit where you will find a “kit” for the day and everything you need to get started. The goal for participating facilities is to collect a $1 donation from every golfer (in addition to the normal green fee) to support of the Folds of Honor Foundation. Facilities will have flexibility on donation collection options (including running tournaments/contests, using lessons, silent auctions, or hosting the event a different weekend.) In your kit there will be a Donation Card to be mailed along with your facility donations to Folds of Honor Foundation. Following the event, facilities will send one (1) check directly to Folds of Honor Foundation. Simple! WWW.MGCOA.ORG


Legislative Bulletin Golf under the Big Top Nearly 400 gathered under the big tent in front of the Capitol steps for “lunch on the turn”, an opportunity for legislators and their constituents to discuss the issues of golf business and connect with one another. The Michigan Golf Alliance members wanted to introduce themselves and their key issues to the House and Senate. Taxes, tourism funding and the environment were top on the list. The Michigan Golf Alliance, comprised of the leaders of Michigan golf industry associations, came together to create a dynamic event to promote the game and the business of golf. “With Governor Snyder’s proclamation of June as MICHIGAN GOLF MONTH, we showcased the important business this industry is to the state. With more public golf courses than any other state in the country, Michigan truly is a leader in golf business,” said Tom Schwark, chairman of government affairs for the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association and owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb. Michigan Section PGA professionals offered a swing analysis for the legislators and their staff throughout the afternoon as well as a putting tips. Lunch was catered by Eagle Eye Golf Course of Bath. Spartan Distributors of TORO and E-Z-Go brought a beverage cart to serve cold drinks from as well as a rough mower for the legislators and their staff to see.

Bob Koutnik is interviewed for a video presentation to be found on all Alliance websites as a review for the day. Special thanks to Art and Jenny McCafferty for putting it all together for us.

Senator John Proos is thanked by Chris Wilczynski , American Society of golf Course Architects and Adam Ikamas, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Superintendants Association

Our premier sponsor for the day, Spartan Distributors, brought along a piece of equipment for the attendees to see. This helped to demonstrate the value of personal property and the need for tax relief for business owners.

MGCOA’s dynamic duo president Bob Koutnik (Fox Run Country Club) and past-president Bill Fountain (The Majestic golf Course) are poised and ready to meet their legislators TEE-OFF TIMES


MGCOA members Jim Szilagyi (Strategic Golf Solutions), Kathy Aznavorian (Fox Hills Golf And Banquet Center) talk with Bill Fountain (The Majestic Golf Course) and Jennifer Aznavorian (Fox Hills Golf And Banquet Center) in front of the Capitol.


Legislative Bulletin Summer heats up race for seats by Eric Rule, MGCOA Government Affairs Coordinator

With the legislature on break for the summer to campaign for members of the House of Representatives, this is a very appropriate time to look at what is up for grabs and what some of the most competitive seats are. The Michigan House is currently split between 64 Republicans and 46 Democrats. The Republicans picked up a seat recently with the defection of Roy Schmidt from Grand Rapids, who at the last minute filed as a Republican and increased that party’s lead by one. This could prove critical as it makes the number of seats to win by Democrats at a minimum of 9 just for shared power. 55 is the magic number for shared control. To achieve this goal, Democrats are eyeing a number of the most vulnerable seats held by the GOP. It is important to note that 2 years ago, numerous Republicans won in Democrat seats, or borderline seats due to the Republican tsunami that seized the nation. This will probably not be the case this year with the presidential election and Obama’s base coming out for him. In that light, here are some of the most vulnerable GOP seats being targeted by the Dems: (Percentages are Democratic base of the district) 23rd District: Patrick Somerville – 52% Democratic Challenger: Tom Boritzki 91st District: Holly Hughes – 52% Democratic Challenger: Collene Lamonte – teacher Muskegon

108th District: Ed McBroom – 50% Democratic Challenger(s): Judy Nerat, Sharon Gray - CPA 71st District: Deb Shaughnessy – 50% Democratic Challenger(s): Andrea Cascarilla, Doug Drake, Theresa Abed 110th District: Matt Huuki – 53% Democratic Challenger: Scott Dianda – SEIU President 99th District: Kevin Cotter – 50% Democratic Challenger: Adam Lawrence 24th District: Anthony Forlini – 49% Democratic Challenger(s): Kurczweski, Carey Torrice – actress/ model/commissioner 52nd District: Mark Ouimet – 49% Democratic Challenger: Gretchen Driskell

• Pension Tax • Corporate Income Tax • Reproductive Rights • Education Spending The Democrats are claiming that the GOP basically gave big business a $2 billion dollar tax break while shoving it over to older citizens and public employees. They will also claim that this will affect education spending and that the GOP is aligned with the national GOP party in the “war on women.” The GOP conversely, will use the following issues: • Personal Property Tax • Economy/Deregulation • Corporate Income Tax They will rightly claim that their plan and achievement on replacing the MBT with the corporate income tax combined with deregulation has spurred Michigan to go from among the highest in the nation for taxes to among the lowest as well as moving in the right direction in unemployment rate and the state deficit. They will also point to the Personal Property Tax as an impediment to business spending in Michigan.

32nd District: Andrea LaFontaine – 47% Rep. Primary – conservative Republican – Mike Shmina 57th District: Nancy Jenkins – 47% Democratic Challenger(s): Jim Berryman, Harvey Schmidt The legislative issues that have been debated and over the past year and a half will come into play in the districts over the summer and prior to the fall elections. The main issues being used by the Democrats against the Republicans are: 7

Eric Rule reviews the days agenda with MGCOA government affairs chair Tom Schwark (Sycamore Hills GC, Macomb) at Legislative Day 2012.

Forward your questions or concerns to Eric at: WWW.MGCOA.ORG


Legislative Bulletin Service contracts that renew automatically by Tom Schwark, Owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb and chair of the MGCOA Government Affairs Committee

Have you ever waited for a service contract to end, so that you could use a new provider, only to find that the old contract renewed automatically and it was too late to cancel? This happened to me with a linen contractor, and I am still fighting the battle with them. I signed a five year contract with a linen supplier in 2006. We weren’t happy with their service and de-

cided to go with a new supplier at the end of 2011. In February of this year, we received a letter from our former linen company stating that we owed them over $50,000. The five year contract automatically renewed for another five years, because we did not give them written notice that we wanted to terminate this contract at least NINE MONTHS in advance.

National Update:

Key Issues Affecting the Golf Industry at Capitol Hill FCC Narrow banding (Phase 1) By midnight on Dec. 31, 2012, wideband VHF/UHF radio systems in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz band (25 kHz technology), must be switched to narrowband (12.5 kHz channel spacing) or technology that is equivalent in efficiency. Equipment that cannot operate on channels with 12.5 kHz frequency or less must be replaced. Required action: your facility’s radios, repeaters, base stations, mobiles and portables will need to be programmed, or possibly replaced. ADA Pool Lift Compliance; Deadline Extended Under the new accessibilityrelated building standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), any public accommodations (such as golf courses) with pools, spas, or wading pools must make them accessible to disabled patrons with the use of pool lifts. Required action: install lifts at each of your facility’s pools during all operating times, no later than January 31, 2013; lifts must be independently operable by disabled persons. TEE-OFF TIMES


The Small Business Tax Cut Act of 2012 (HR 9) This legislation will provide small businesses (< 500 employees) like golf facilities a deduction equal to 20% of their profits, up to 50% of their wages – allowing business owners to retain more capital, re-invest in their business, maintain the current workforce and create new jobs. The bill was passed by the House in April and is with the Senate for consideration. Money Market Mutual Fund (MMMF) Reform MMMFs provide the liquidity necessary for businesses, like golf facilities, to earn dividends on excess cash while being able to withdraw funds quickly to pay expenses. In 2010, the SEC revised MMMF regulations and as a result, the funds affirmed their strength in the distressed market; however, regulators are considering more changes that threaten to hurt the viability of MMMFs. If made, investors might reduce their investment or stop investing altogether. The NGCOA will continue to monitor the progress of these issues and keep you abreast of any changes. 8

As business owners, we are asked to sign contracts for many different services including cell phones, waste removal, copiers, credit card processors, phone systems, muzak, etc. It is very difficult to remember the terms of all the contracts we sign. When I discussed my predicament with some other golf course owners, I found that many will strike out the terms they don’t like. That means that you would have to read the entire contract thoroughly, and hope you don’t miss something significant and, of course, the service provider has to agree to your changes. My question to you is this. Is this a big enough problem that we should try to get the State of Michigan to ban automatic renewals of service contracts? Some states do prohibit automatic renewals. Other states require the service provider to send out a notice some 30 days in advance that the contract is expiring and will renew if no action is taken. Other states require that after the initial term of the contract expires, it can only automatically renew on a month to month basis. Time, Inc. was sued by the State of Iowa in 2005, because their magazine subscriptions automatically renewed. Iowa did not have a law against automatic contract renewals, but Iowa’s Attorney General sued on the grounds of deceptive business practices and won! Many other states joined Iowa in this lawsuit including the State of Michigan. If you think service contracts that renew automatically are a problem worth fighting, please let us know, and we will pursue a course of action. If we get little or no response, you and I will just have to get tougher about the contracts we sign.

The Digital Space Have you checked your email reputation? by Bay Paul, President of Course Logix

More and more courses are taking advantage of email marketing more than ever before. When selecting the right email marketing provider there are many factors to consider. How long have they been in business, do they specialize in golf, what technology do they use, how good is their customer support. But…what most courses never look into is a company’s email reputation, which is the entire premise of hiring a company to help you communicate with your golfers. Every website, domain, and email marketing provider have a email reputation. If your provider has a low email reputation, your e-blasts will get blocked. If many of your e-blasts are getting blocked, then why take the time and energy to participate in email marketing. Did you know that 2 of the largest golf course marketing companies show up on the black list report?

LIST button to see which black list directories you are listed on. If you are any of these black lists, many of your golfers are not getting your oblasts.

Below is a screen shot of a black list report of one of the so-called top email marketing companies in the industry. If you think you might be black listed or have a low email reputation score, please call us for a free analysis of your current Internet marketing program. Bay Paul CourseLogix President / MGCOA Tech Consultant (248) 613-2816

Are you receiving the monthly enews notices and legislative alerts from the MGCOA? If not, send us an email so we can add you to the list. Simply email Jada and say, “...add me to your enews list”. Simple.

Definition of: blacklist (1) A list of e-mail addresses or domains of known spammers.

WHAT DOES BLACK LISTED MEAN? When you send emails out, many of your golfers will not receive your message. You’ve spent a lot of time and money growing your database, but if your domain or email marketing provider is black listed, then why bother. If you think your email deliverability rates might be low or just want to check, please visit www.mxtoolbox. com, which is a free website that allows you to see if your website is black listed. Once you type in your website address and click MX Look Up, select the BLACK 9



603 South Washington Lansing, MI 48933

Toll-free: (800) 860-8575 Phone: (517) 482-4312 Fax: (517) 267-8984 Cell: (517) 230-8040

Dear members and friends of the MGCOA: Once again we would like to take this opportunity to thank each of those golf course owners and operators for their incredible support of the Michigan Golf Course Owner (MGCOA) government affairs initiatives. The “Golden Passbook to Michigan Golf” continues to be our only funding source for these initiatives. Without it, there would be no “voice of Michigan golf business”. It is crucial to our Association’s success to play a very active role in supporting those candidates and legislators that support the golf industry. Your contributions have allowed our PAC to grow to larger levels than previously experienced. This allows us to play a more active role in those tight races where we can have a real impact. It also allows us to support those caucuses that support our issues. The MGCOA rallied the allied golf associations in the state last year to form the Michigan Golf Alliance. Joining us are the Michigan Section PGA, Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association, Golf Association of Michigan, the two chapters of Michigan Club Managers Association, the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the Turfgrass Foundation. “Golf on the Lawn” served to highlight our industry’s contributions to the state and our great sport in general. All our efforts are focused on expanding the political and legislative clout of golf under the Capitol Dome in Lansing. We have made great strides in the past several years and we hope to capitalize on our enhanced visibility and continue to press forward to make sure we not only have a seat at the table when issues arise, but a loud and respected voice to wield influence. Your continued financial support will be key. If for some reason the MGCOA is not at the table, watch out! Many times the silent ones are the easiest targets. Golf Courses do not want to become an easy target. The golf business is tough enough. Thank you for your continued support. Sincerely,

Tom Schwark

Chair, Government Affairs Committee MGCOA


Eric Rule

Government Affairs Coordinator


Kate Moore Executive Director


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Members Save Through the NGCOA’s

Purchasing Network To better serve members, the NGCOA has forged relationships with the industry's leading suppliers of products and services for golf operations. These organizations have extended members-only pricing, rebates and value-added packages exclusively to NGCOA members.



PREFERRED SUPPLIERS NGCOA Insurance Program: Property and Casualty Insurance • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Allied Insurance $150 SAVINGS ON BUILDING APPRAISALS AND 80% DISCOUNT ON BACKGROUND CHECKS Visit or contact Mike McCoy at (515) 440-8403 or

NGCOA Insurance Program: Group Life, Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability • Gallagher Benefit Service, Inc. and Lincoln Financial Group


Food & Related Services • entegra Procurement Services, brought to you by International Club Suppliers (ICS) 7% -15% COST SAVINGS AND ACCESS TO MORE THAN 400 LEADING FOOD AND BEVERAGE SUPPLIERS Visit or contact Jim Bailey at (813) 994-4680 or

Credit Card Processing • ETS Corporation



Visit or contact Stephanie Cardin at (866) PEP-GOLF or

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Avis: Visit Budget: Visit Or for Avis and Budget contact Debbie Arett at (404) 577-5450 or

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Not a member? Join the NGCOA today and you too can take advantage of these member exclusive ive benefits. Learn more at or call Joe Rice at (800) 11 933-4262, ext. 222. WWW.MGCOA.ORG JULY/AUGUST 2012

Tee-Off Times


603 South Washington Avenue Suite 303 Lansing, MI 48933 (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.




Jul/Aug 2012 Tee-Off Times  

The July/August 2012 issue of Tee-Off Times, the official publication of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association.

Jul/Aug 2012 Tee-Off Times  

The July/August 2012 issue of Tee-Off Times, the official publication of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association.