Michigan’s golf association continues to adapt to continue growth of the game

·3 min read

Serving over 72,000 individual members and encompassing over 450 golf courses and clubs across the state, the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM), has expanded on its quality services and staff in recent years to better lead a refocused effort in continuing to grow its membership.

“We are fortunate to have the third most golf courses in the country and the large majority participate in the GAM,” GAM executive director Chris Whitten said. “But there are a lot of people out there we feel have yet to hear our great, positive story, especially in the daily fee course sector.”

Kyle Wolfe is the man in charge of telling the story that Whitten so badly wants people to hear about. Having worked for the GAM in multiple departments including course rating, handicap services, acting as the director of junior tournament golf and more, Wolfe now finds himself as the director of member services.

“With the enhancements we have made in the last few years, including the World Handicap System, Golf Genius (enhanced computer software) and upgrades to our GHIN Mobile App we have new and better ways to serve our members,” Wolfe said. “We’ve also expanded our staff to continue the great level of service and even expand it.”

As for clubs and courses, Wolfe said course rating is the core product the GAM offers. It will continue to be a focus with trained volunteers rating as many as 70 courses a year, but Wolfe also wants the courses and clubs to be aware of how Golf Genius can help in terms of tournament registration, scoring, and other uses for leagues, events, and outings.

“They are great products that continue to make life easier for the people who administer golf at our member clubs,” Wolfe said. “And they provide a better experience for the golfers who play there.

“For instance, the ability to offer a Handicap Index authorized by the USGA (United States Golf Association), clubs can offer that to golfers so they are able to compete on an equal level whether playing in a tournament, a league or any event, or just as a group showing up on the first tee to play a fun game.”

Wolfe said GHIN Mobile App upgrades now offer statistics tracking, GPS and other features to improve the individual golfer experience.

“If you play a lot of different courses in a season that can be really helpful,” said Wolfe. “You can track your game on your phone statistically and see where your weaknesses and strengths are, too.”

The GAM has also developed new pricing structures that many courses and clubs have not learned about yet.

“It is economical for the clubs and in the last four years the value proposition is a lot different,” he said. “There is a lot more the GAM can offer in that area than we used to be able to provide.”

Wolfe said overall the idea is to grow the number of people and to maximize fun.

“We can make it more enjoyable for the golfers and those who administer the game,” he said. “Whether it is Handicap Index or technology, we can make life at the course easier.”

As for Whitten, he’s grateful to have staff that are passionate about making the game more enjoyable for all.

“In my time many staff members have shown great aptitude in various areas and Kyle is an absolute expert on programs and services we are able to offer our courses, clubs and players,” he said. “I get a lot of feedback from our current members about the quality service from Kyle, and I believe he is in a position now to excel even more. He will tell our story to courses and people who need to hear it and improve things for golf in Michigan.”

To learn more about the GAM, visit their website: gam.org