FARMINGTON HILLS – Jeff Coleman, the golf service manager at Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville for 33 years when he died unexpectedly last September at the age of 57, has been posthumously named the Golf Association of Michigan Club Representative of the Year.
“Our members will be very pleased with this recognition for Jeff,” Meadowbrook General Manager Mike Rossen said. “He had to be one of the most popular and greatest employees ever at Meadowbrook.”
The GAM annually presents the honor to a club representative who demonstrates outstanding service to golf in Michigan. Coleman had been suggested to the GAM for award nomination prior to his passing.
“Jeff was a good friend of the GAM,” Ken Hartmann, senior director of rules and competitions for the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) said. “He always had the best interest of everyone in mind when it came to handicaps and tournaments. He was all about customer service, and he was a hard worker.”
Mark Stevens, the head golf professional at Meadowbrook for 28 years, said Coleman was a constant as his right-hand man.
“Every day since he passed it seems at some point I go to my phone and start to text him or call him and tell him something or tell him he was right about what is happening at the club,” he said. “There’s so many situations that he would deal with or we would deal with together because our jobs were all about service to the members.”
Stevens said Coleman was always very professional and willing to go the extra mile.
“I knew when I put my head down on the pillow every night that everything would be fine,” he said. “Jeff was going to be there. He was my right-hand man, almost a brother to me. The brother I never really had.”
Coleman, a Gibraltar resident, was part of a family whose legacy is service to golf. His brothers, Jim and Pat, are currently involved in other business ventures, but both worked in the golf industry for many years.
Jim started the family legacy as a caddie at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club, and the others followed. Jim worked at Grosse Ile for 37 years. Pat worked at Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester for 20 years.
Meadowbrook was where you found Jeff.
“I talked with his brothers at the funeral and they told me I probably saw him more than his wife did over the years,” Stevens said. “I think growing up down at Grosse Ile and working for his brother had a big impact on him. You know, they were all golf services managers. They caddied. Golf service is in their blood, it’s their life and it was what they were going to do, what Jeff was going to do.”
Stevens said Coleman was simply the go-to guy, the key to operation of the club from the carts he would maintain through the winter to the caddie program and every other facet.
“We miss him every day, so this award couldn’t go to a better guy,” he said. “I think it will please his family to know he is remembered for doing his job so well.”
GAM Governor Janina Jacobs, who chairs the GAM Member Relations Committee, said the nomination of Coleman for the award took root last spring when she played in the Play for the Cure breast cancer golf event at Meadowbrook sponsored by Bill Brown Ford.
“I met Mike (Rossen) and we talked about it; he immediately suggested Jeff,” she said. “(Later) when I heard of Jeff’s sudden death, I made sure to let Mike know that Jeff could still be nominated posthumously. He did, and I’m so delighted Jeff has received the award.”
Meadowbrook has planned a Jeff Coleman Memorial Golf Outing for Sept. 19 to honor his memory.
“The idea is to make it an annual event so his impact continues,” Rossen said.
-Greg Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org