FARMINGTON HILLS – A special centennial Annual Meeting in April, a June gala fundraiser that includes golf at Oakland Hills Country Club, and the passing of the leadership baton with the naming of a new executive director will highlight 2019 for the Golf Association of Michigan.
“We are celebrating all the golfers first, but also our great volunteers, the governors, board members, and executives who have contributed to the Golf Association of Michigan and the sport we all love in the last 100 years,” said David Graham, who will retire in June as the longest tenured executive director of the GAM with 18 years of service. “At the same time, we are looking forward, and through the association and our foundation, we will also contribute to the future of the game for another 100 years.”
The Detroit Golf Club — one of the GAM’s original 14 member clubs and the site of the PGA Tour’s return to Michigan for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic — will host the GAM Annual Meeting of Club Delegates on Monday, April 22. Both Donald Ross classic courses will be available for the GAM 100 Celebration, and there will be special pricing to encourage broad participation. As always, the Annual Meeting will feature the presentation of annual awards, including the Distinguished Service Award and Player of the Year honors, a special guest speaker, a series of meetings and workshops for delegates and golf. Invitations will go out soon.
All golf lovers will want to save the date of Monday, June 17, for the GAM 100 CELEBRATION event at Oakland Hills. Opportunities will be made available for ticketed reservations to play the famed South Course that day, as well as meet and greet a golf legend who will headline the celebration and dinner that evening. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Youth on Course program in our state through the Golf Association of Michigan Foundation.
That special Monday also serves as the final practice day for those playing in the 108th Michigan Amateur Championship, which will be presented that Tuesday through Saturday on the North Course at Oakland Hills.
“We will announce our very special guest and pricing opportunities soon for what should be a glorious golf Monday, and the GAM 100 CELEBRATION promises to be both memorable and help build opportunities for the golfers of the future,” Graham said.
In 100 years, the association has evolved from a men’s private association to a state-wide, all-inclusive association for public and private clubs and golfers that today serves 60,000 golf members and 470 clubs and courses.
Two years ago, as part of the work being done by the GAM Long Range planning committee, the GAM started the GAM Foundation to serve as the charitable arm of the association. It has made significant impact early on with the adoption of the national Youth on Course program. Last season 4,513 youth participated and played over 6,000 rounds at 93 Michigan golf facilities.
The GAM tournament structure, a focus and success from the start for elite golfers, has been expanded in recent years, too. It includes Net tournaments and a Scramble network leading to a championship. Last year the GAM provided 35 championships for golfers age seven to 70-plus, and also administered 40 qualifiers for the major GAM championships and 18 for the USGA and their schedule of national championships. Significantly, the GAM also continues to administer the GAM/USGA Handicap System and measures and rates almost 70 courses a year.
Graham expects the GAM Board of Directors to name his successor in the coming weeks. He has been a part of the selection process and will continue to serve the GAM in an advisory role beyond June.
“It’s going to be a great year for the GAM, one that celebrates our past as well as our future,” he said.