GAM Blog
The Joy of Amateur Golf
Posted By Susan Smiley

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the privilege of helping at some events that really emphasized the reasons I enjoy being part of amateur golf in Michigan.

The GAM held its annual Caddie Championship at Walnut Creek Country Club in late July and I was on scoreboard duty. It was so much fun to see the teams come into the clubhouse after their rounds and gather around the scoreboard to see how they stacked up against the competition. Just listening to their excited chatter, the exchange of stories about who got a birdie and who was able to hit a great rescue shot out of the trees put a big smile on my face. The camaraderie and the fun are just as much parts of the game as are putting, chipping, etc. and sometimes we adults forget that.

The individual winners in the two divisions were congratulated not only by their teammates, but by caddies from other teams too. Seeing the amount of support players gave to each other was truly heartwarming.

A week later was our annual Father & Son / Parent & Child tournament at Travis Pointe Country Club. So many of the families have made this tournament part of their summer golf schedule year after year after year and it is great to hear the golfers share their stories at the registration table. One golfer mentioned he had flown in from Oregon, as he does each year, so he can participate with his son. Another group proudly stated they had been playing in the event for 28 years. For many families, this might be the only event where everyone is able to hit the links together and that alone makes it a special day. I know if my dad were still here, he would have the date for this event marked on his calendar and probably would have suggested some kind of stylish, matching golf attire too so we could distract people from our less-than-perfect games.

Again, it is so much fun for me to work these events and see what a great time all of the golfers are having. It reminds me that golf is a whole lot more than your score for 18 holes.

Just this week I was on hand for a photo shoot at College Fields Golf Course for our 2018 Michigan Links Course Directory (yup, we have to start THAT early). The shoot involved several youth golfers, some from The First Tee, some from local high school teams, and some from the GAM Foundation’s Youth on Course program. It gave me the opportunity to chat with some of the parents who all talked about what golf has done for their children. For one young golfer, it was an opportunity to spend time with her grandpa. For another, it was about gaining confidence. My favorite moment, I think, was when College Fields PGA Professional Chris Hallead, who had led everyone to a par-3 hole where we were going to shoot some putting photos, laid down in a grass bunker, hands clasped behind his head. Almost immediately, a young man who looked to be about eight years old jumped in right next to him and assumed the same relaxed position. The photographer was able to capture the spontaneous moment which really encapsulated the mood of the entire photo shoot.

So when you’re out on the links, don’t forget to smile, laugh, share great stories and just relax.