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. He said this after putting up with my golf game, by the way.
He fits the volunteer mode. He is selfless. He appreciates the game, the rules, the people who play and compete and he likes to stay active.
He is one of many really nice people who volunteer to make it happen.
Several of the golfers who compete on a regular basis have come to notice, too. I’m struck by the growing number of junior golfers who have figured out they should thank the rules officials and others working the tournaments. Parents are obviously teaching them some good things, and of course it is usually a parent or two who has made it possible for those juniors to play in the GAM tournaments and so many others across the state.
Kyle Wolfe, director of handicap and course rating as well as a tournament director of the junior championships, always tells the juniors after tournaments to thank the course, the people who work there, the GAM volunteers and rules officials and of course, their parents.
It takes a village to raise a child, and one to run a great golf tournaments and make the GAM, a village of around 60,000 golf members, work.
And thanks to my teammates, Steven Parks, Herb Black and Mr. Latta in the golf outing and, of course, competition. We had a great time and we were in the trophy picture at the end. It was nice to be on the other side of the camera for a change.