"You'll Be Thinking About Hillside" - GAM Member England Trip Final Day
Posted by Chris Whitten on Saturday, September 28, 2019

At virtually every course on our trip, we would ask caddies and local members what they thought the “best” course would be.

Now that means different things to different people, but one caddie from Southport & Ainsdale who also works at Birkdale and Hillside May have said it best... “When you are on the plane to go home, you’ll be thinking about Hillside.” Now that we’re done, I have to agree.

Hillside, like S&A and Birkdale, is cut into huge sand dunes near the Irish Sea. The three courses are only separated by a small fence on one edge and train tracks on another. ... View this Post.

A Taste of "Royal"ty - GAM Member England Trip
Posted by Chris Whitten on Friday, September 27, 2019

Hello Again Everyone –

The past two days have been spectacular at Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & Saint Annes. Birkdale is only about 10 minutes from the hotel, and guess what… we had sun!

Birkdale is well-known for being a staple in the Open rota with notable past champions like Tom Watson, Johny Miller, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Jordan Spieth.

When you play the course, it’s easy to see why it is dubbed for championship golf – the holes are long and demanding with tall sand dunes framing many of the holes.

They make for amphitheater environments for fans.

The clubhouse at Birkdale is also iconic. ... View this Post.

"One of the best courses in the world that you have never heard of "- GAM Member England Trip Day 4
Posted by Chris Whitten on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

As our group come downstairs for breakfast this morning, the rain was coming down HARD… even for England.

Formby Golf Club, once called, “one of the best courses in the world that you have never heard of,” was on the schedule today and the club gave us the green light despite the weather. We certainly got wet on the front nine, but the course was so challenging, beautiful and unique, we were highly motivated to keep on before the clouds broke on the back nine.

Originally laid out in 1912 by Willie Park, the course later commissioned alterations by James Braid and Harry Colt – all some of the most famous golf course designers in history.

We enjoyed a pint in the golfers pub after the round with local members – one turned out to know our own Jeanne Myers from working on USGA Course Rating Committees!

We arrived back at the hotel a little earlier today and some traveling couples took the opportunity to explore the villages of Formby and Birkdale for dinner.

Tomorrow we go back to the sand dunes to play Royal Birkdale. ... View this Post.

Hello from Liverpool! Days 2 & 3 of GAM Member England Trip
Posted by Chris Whitten on Monday, September 23, 2019

Hello from Liverpool!

Two days have gone by since the first post and I am just getting time to write a recap. In short, both courses we have played so far – Southport & Ainsdale and Royal Liverpool have been AMAZING. ... View this Post.

2019 GAM Member England Trip Day 1
Posted by Chris Whitten on Monday, September 23, 2019

Hello GAM friends –

This week a group of GAM golfers is in and around Liverpool, England with our friends from Sullivan Golf Travel.

Check back here daily over the next week to follow our trip and see our adventures in photos.

I’m especially excited to play golf in England for the first time and see courses like Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & Saint Annes.

The temperature should comfortable, but we have some rain and wind on the way – what you would expect!

Today was a travel day for most of the group. I left from DTW with frequent GAM traveler Rocky Patel at 4:30 PM Friday afternoon,connected in Amsterdam, then arrived in Manchester

Saturday morning at 9 AM where we met Rocky’s friend and fellow GAM member Joe Topolski.

Our Sullivan hosts saw us off to our hotel resort for the week – Formby Hall – where the rest of the group trickled in throughout the day, some having been sightseeing throughout England on their own the past few days.

The golf itinerary does not begin until tomorrow, but Formby offers a fun Par 3 course onsite and we couldn’t resist.

Joe even snuck out for another round on the main Formby resort Course in the later afternoon!

Most travelers on this trip have known each other through Sullivan trips in the past, so our opening dinner was mostly a reunion.

For the few newcomers like me, the initiation was fast and funny. ... View this Post.

GAM Goes As Volunteers Go
Posted by Greg Johnson on Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Golf Association of Michigan goes as its volunteers go.

And they keep going.

The recent GAM Volunteer Day at Country Club of Jackson centered around golf and was presented to honor the 250 or so volunteers who help the GAM run tournaments, recruit more members, help the GAM Foundation raise money for Youth on Course, rate golf courses, and more, much more.

In my seventh year of working with the GAM as a contract employee I’ve made many friends among the volunteers and learned that it simply doesn’t work without them.

The Golf Association of Michigan is the volunteers, including the current president Chris Angott right down to the person who works maybe one tournament a year at their club.

Ken Hartmann, the senior director of rules and competitions for the GAM, had people introduce themselves, tell others how they got involved with the GAM and share stories at the GAM Volunteer Day lunch.

The striking thing was how many came on board through not just love of golf, but via a friend who told them they were needed and that they would be great for the organization.

My cart partner for the day, Bill Latta, was a rookie volunteer this year. He is 68, but looks much younger, plays a good game of golf and said he thoroughly enjoyed the Volunteer Day. ... View this Post.

#GAM 100 Year In Full Swing
Posted by Greg Johnson on Saturday, August 3, 2019

FARMINGTON HILLS – The GAM road in July, as expected, was a busy one that cemented a theme.

As the association celebrates 100 years it is clear it is reaching a more diverse set of golfers and simply more people who identify as golfers than ever before in its history.

The travels over the month included the GAM Women’s Mid-Am at the Polo Fields in Ann Arbor, the Net Team at Grosse Ile Golf & CC, the GAM Women’s Championship at Saginaw CC, the Junior Stroke Play at Forest Akers in East Lansing, the 14-and-under Match Play at Woodside near East Lansing, the Women’s Four-Ball at Owosso CC and the Junior State Amateur at Bedford Valley near Battle Creek.

It was a month of women and juniors, some elite, some with high handicap indexes, primarily following a month of men and seniors with much more coming in August and September.

Check out gam.org and the Championship tabs to get an idea of what all is offered by the game in simply the tournament structure. That doesn’t include the Golf Days, the Course Rating, the seminars, handicap work, membership offerings and so much more that goes on with the GAM. ... View this Post.

Just Call Me Jack: Mr. Nicklaus Makes Things Special for the GAM
Posted by Greg Johnson on Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Just Call Me Jack: Mr. Nicklaus Makes Things Special For GAM

Jack Nicklaus wasn’t the master of ceremonies, but he proved once again he is the master of working ceremonies.

He made everybody smile. ... View this Post.

Professional At “Werk”
Posted by Greg Johnson on Friday, May 17, 2019

Tom Werkmeister described it as cautiously anxious to do better.

That’s the current state of his golf game.

Werkmeister, one of Michigan’s most successful amateur golfers of the last 20 years and a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, turned professional just over a year ago and embarked with a goal to make it on the PGA Tour Champions.

Call it a work in practice with the cautiously anxious thing going on.

The Grandville resident showed some back-home flash earning medalist honors at the recent U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Battle Creek Country Club. ... View this Post.

Allyson Geer-Park Believes Augusta National Women’s Amateur Will Impact Golf
Posted by Greg Johnson on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Brighton’s Allyson Geer-Park, a two-time Michigan Women’s Amateur champion and a star for Michigan State University, returned home from playing in the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur and called it a really cool and wonderful experience.

“I learned so much just being part of it,” she said. “I think Augusta National being part of the tournament does a lot for women’s golf. It’s another door open that wasn’t open before.”

Geer-Park missed the 36-hole cut in the historic 54-hole tournament with rounds of 74 and 76, and thus was limited to just a practice round on the Augusta National course on the Friday before the final round was played on the famous stage.

“I did play 1-under through Amen Corner, and I birdied 13, which is every bit as beautiful as anyone can imagine,” she said. “I think that’s my favorite hole now, especially with the birdie. ... View this Post.