GAM News
Legislators Learn About Golf’s Impact From GAM, Allied Associations
June 7, 2022
Written By: Greg Johnson

LANSING – Governors from the Golf Association of Michigan and Chris Whitten, executive director of the GAM, helped spread the word about the golf industry’s impact to legislators Tuesday.

  Among them was state Rep. Paulene Wendzel who said she had no idea of the impact of the golf industry in Michigan before she started her career in politics.

  In fact, she didn’t play the game until it was suggested to her that it was a great way to get to know people in politics.

  “Honestly, it’s where you can spend four or five hours with a person and really get to know them, so golf has helped me politically, and I found out I loved it,” Wendzel, R-Watervliet, said. “Then I learned about the Senior PGA (Championship) which we just had in our district at Harbor Shores Golf Club and I found out what just that one tournament alone does for the community.”

  Wendzel expanded her golf education Tuesday as the Michigan golf industry presented the Michigan Golf Day at the Capitol event.

  The Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA), the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MiGCSA), the Michigan Section PGA, the GAM and the Greater Michigan Club Management Association, which form the Michigan Golf Alliance, convened with legislators and staff members on the lawn of the state Capitol, and also visited the offices of each legislator.

  For almost 15 years course owners, operators and superintendents have gathered each spring to voice a cooperative message. To mark the day, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed that “June is Michigan Golf Month,” and Wendzel presented the proclamation Tuesday.

  “The Senior PGA had great impact,” Wendzel said. “The restaurants when I talked to them last week, sold out of food, the bars were out of alcohol and you couldn’t get a hotel room for miles. Big crowds came and it was great.”

  The executive directors, presidents and members of the allied organizations in the Michigan Golf Alliance presented other areas of impact to Wendzel and other legislators including the impact on tourism, employment in the state, and the industry’s positive effect on the environment.

  “This is an effective way to engage with legislators and it fits with our mission at the GAM in serving the game,” Whitten said. “Getting a chance for conversations and sharing lunch works well. This is something the Michigan Golf Alliance can do together for the good of the game in our state and a lot of great information is shared.”

  The message from Whitten, GAM representatives and other Michigan Golf Alliance members included industry facts like $4.2 billion in annual economic impact in Michigan, over 60,000 people employed by golf courses in the state. $1.4 billion in wages paid and over 150,000 acres of managed green space and wetlands that provide wildlife habitats.

  Wendzel, hooked on the game and on supporting it, said she has involved her family members in the game of golf, too.

  “My brothers-in-law, my dad, we are getting the whole family playing the game,” she said. “It’s great and it does some great things for the community, too. Whenever I tell people in Lansing where I’m from (southwest Michigan) they’re like, ‘oh, you’re the area with all the good golf courses,’ and I say I definitely am.”