Growing the Game of Golf in Michigan with Family Friendly Programs

June is Michigan Golf Month, and it’s the perfect time of year to get out on the course! If you’re new to the sport or would like to get your family involved, guest blogger Janina Jacobs shares some ways to take advantage of junior and family friendly golf opportunities in Pure Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Shepherd's Hollow

Photo courtesy of Shepherd’s Hollow

School’s out and Michigan’s 850-plus courses offer great places to spend endless summer days. Family and junior programs abound everywhere and are vital to growth of the game. Making golf more fun is the goal for one spectacular opportunity you may wish to consider for your kids this year: the National Drive, Chip & Putt competition, sponsored by the USGA, the Masters Tournament, and the PGA of America. It could lead to an appearance at Augusta National Golf Club next April. Last year’s inaugural event had limited qualifying opportunities but the number of qualifying sites for the 2014 event has been greatly expanded and includes many Michigan golf courses.

Girls and boys ages 7-15 are encouraged to enter the contest, which awards points for accuracy in driving, chipping, and putting – certainly the key to lower scores for any golfer. Local qualifiers in each of four divisions separated by gender and age groups of 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 will advance to Sub-Regional qualifiers at Fox Hills Golf Club and Banquet Center in Plymouth on August 15 and Binder Park Golf Course in Battle Creek on August 23. Regional finals will be held September 6 at Prestwick Village Golf Club, in Highland. For official rules and to register, visit www.drivechipandputt.com. Entries close at 5pm, five (5) days prior to the local Michigan competitions, which are listed below:

Drive, Chip & Putt Local Qualifying Sites:

June 17 – Hawk Hollow Golf Club, Bath
June 22 – Marquette Golf Club, Marquette
June 25 – Railside Golf Club, Byron Center
June 28 – Whispering Willows Golf Club, Livonia
July 1 – Pheasant Run Golf Club, Canton
July 8 – Forest Akers East, East Lansing
July 12 – Ferris State University/Katke, Big Rapids
July 15 – Treetops Resort, Gaylord
July 19 – The Orchards, Washington
July 22 – Binder Park Golf Course, Battle Creek
July 26 – Apple Mountain, Freeland

Photo courtesy of Gaylord CVB

Photo courtesy of Gaylord CVB

There is no entry fee for the National Drive, Chip & Putt Contest, however space is limited and entries are accepted on a first-come first served basis. Each local qualifier has its own starting time, which is listed on the individual site. Of note, those who make it to Augusta and become Championship finalists will receive three Monday Practice Round Tickets to the 2015 Masters.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR HIGH SCHOOL GOLFERS: Free Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) memberships are available to all high school golf team members and their coach. To receive the free GAM membership, your golf coach must call 248.478.9242, Ext. 19. Perks include an online Michigan E-newsletter, weekly Global Golf Post digital edition, subscription to Golf Digest or Golf World, the Michigan Links Magazine and 2014 Annual Course Directory (which lists every golf course in the state, pertinent information, and also directions on how to get there) exclusive tee time booking, opportunities to play in the GAM Scramble, tournaments, events, and $60 Golf Days, sponsor offers, Swing & Save discount program, and handicap services. Visit www.gam.org for more information or for regular membership, which at $39, offers superb value.

Michigan Golf Schools and Lessons

A number of courses across the state offer private lessons and classes for those just getting their swing in shape. To find golf schools and lessons in your area, check out michigan.org.

Janina-Jacobs-headshot111-150x150Janina Parrott Jacobs is a lifelong Michigan resident but her passion as a multi-media golf and business specialist and international golf and travel writer takes her all over the world.