MGCA Announces 2018 Award Winners

Posted on November 19th, 2018

Bernie Friedrich, Senior Vice President of Golf and Resort Sales for Boyne USA, Gordie LaFontaine, long time Executive Director of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, Major Dan Rooney USAF, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, and The Heather at Boyne Highlands were announced today as 2018 Award Winners by the Michigan Golf Course Association.


They will be introduced at the Awards Banquet on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 27, during the 2018 Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair at the Somerset Inn Hotel and Conference Center, Troy.


The Heather at Boyne Highlands will be honored as 2018 Golf Course of the Year. This acknowledgement honors a member course in good standing that has demonstrated exceptional quality of the golf course, exceptional quality of ownership and management, outstanding contribution to its community and significant contribution to the game. Officially, the Boyne Golf story began with founder Everett Kircher creating a nine hole executive course at Boyne Mountain. Thinking big, Kircher then hired Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to build the resort’s first full sized course. It was called The Heather in keeping with Boyne’s Scottish theme (it was thought that Northern Michigan resembled the Scottish Highlands). The Heather was the first Boyne Golf course and widely credited as the spark that launched the golf boom in northern Michigan. The Heather has cemented the region as America’s Summer Golf Capital, and tested some of the finest names in the game since its opening.

Major Dan Rooney, USAF, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation will be honored with the Award of Merit reserved for significant, measurable and meaningful work in and for the golf industry and beyond. An American hero, Major Dan “Noonan” Rooney is a fighter pilot with 3 combat tours in Iraq, a PGA Golf Professional, and the founder of the Folds of Honor.  Rooney has raised over $100 million and has awarded over 13,000 educational scholarships to the family members of soldiers killed or disabled in combat. Rooney is the author of A Patriot’s Calling: Living Life Between Fear and Faith.

Bernie Friedrich is the catalyst behind the tremendous golf portfolio at Boyne Resorts.  Boyne has been a pioneer in hiring PGA Professionals, hosting competitive and meaningful events (including the creation of the Tournament of Champions and hosting an annual AJGA event), and helping to put northern Michigan golf on the map.  Bernie was a facilitator behind the creation and resurgence of America’s Summer Golf Capital which is a partnership of prominent Michigan resorts utilizing partner marketing to bring visitors from out of state to play golf in Michigan.  Bernie currently serves the Michigan PGA as the Chair of the Career Services Committee and sits on the Board for the MGCA.  Among other awards, he has been the recipient of the Michigan PGA’s Golf Professional of the Year Award.  He is well respected in the industry and has certainly moved the Michigan golf scene over the past 30 years.

Gordie LaFontaine will receive the Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to an individual or organization that over the span of a lifetime has provided steadfast leadership, outstanding service and continuous commitment to the Michigan golf industry. Owner of Pine View Highlands Golf Course in Houghton Lake, LaFontaine retired in January after 37 years as Executive Director of the MTF where he administered $500,000 in annual revenue and product funds, helped to raise over $1.1 million annual donations of equipment, product and funds, oversaw $1.3 million in endowments and was instrumental in the creation of the world renown Hancock Turfgrass Research Center at Michigan State University. The MSU graduate has won multiple awards, and is a past winner of the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America Distinguished Service Award.






To join the celebration, contact the MGCA at 800-860-8575 to register or visit

For additional information contact Kate Moore at the MGCA 517-482-4312 or

Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association
Member of GCSAA