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Michigan’s Gull Lake View Recognized By NGCOA for Role in Junior Development
Moore, Finch Receive Association Awards For Service to Course Owners and the Game
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 26, 2007) – The junior golf program at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in southwest Michigan is not a major revenue source for the family-owned facility. But that doesn’t seem to bother anyone at the resort that’s long been a favorite among golfers in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Canada.
“It’s probably a breakeven for us,” Ashleigh Kosin, Gull Lake View’s director of marketing, said of the five-year-old program that targets juniors 7 to 13. “But it’s the long-term investment in golf that we’re going after.”
The Gull Lake View junior program, which won the National Golf Course Owners Association’s 2008 Player Development Award, includes three weeks of instruction (two hours per week) led by Bill Johnson, head professional at the resort’s Stonehedge course. The program ends with a tournament that gives many of the young players their first taste of competition.
But in many ways, the instruction and the tournament are just the beginning for many of the program’s participants. “We encourage them to see this as more than a month of golf lessons,” said Kosin, who was introduced to the game as a junior at Gull Lake View. “We want this to be the start of a lifetime in golf.”
Gull Lake View extends the program’s reach by giving participants a card that entitles them and a family member or friend to playing privileges at a reduced price on weekdays. “Our first goal is to get the kids hooked, and then we just want to keep them coming back,” says Kosin.
Kate Moore, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, won the NGCOA’s Champion Award, which recognizes a member whose work has benefited fellow owners and operators. Moore led a lobbying effort that successfully thwarted the state’s plans to levy a six percent sales tax on Michigan courses. “We argued that golf is Michigan’s No. 1 form of leisure and tourism business and brought in millions of dollars in revenue to the state. We felt it wasn’t fair to tax golf courses on top of the taxes they were already paying,” Moore said.
The Association’s Paul Porter Award, which is given to a person who leaves an enduring mark on a chapter or international affiliate through the highest levels of commitment, service and leadership, went to Raymon Finch Jr. Finch, who died in February, built and owned golf courses in Florida and South Carolina and was a longtime supporter of the NGCOA and amateur golf. He helped the NGCOA take on the IRS over an owner’s right to depreciate greens, tees and bunkers. Finch founded the Florida Golf Council, which helped defeat several state tax initiatives aimed at the golf industry. He also helped establish the “Hook-A-Kid on Golf” program and an Executive Women’s Golf chapter in south Florida.