GAM Club Services Representative of the Year: Dennis “Marty” Joy

Written By: Greg Johnson

FARMINGTON HILLS – Belvedere Golf Club’s head golf professional, Dennis “Marty” Joy, concentrates on treating everybody the same.

“We have a national membership from out-of-state that is here for three months in the summer, then we have season-ticket holders, mostly our local people who play in the spring and fall, and then we have guests of the club and we try to help them and treat them all like they are special,” he said. “Nobody gets treated differently, and it works out well in the end because everybody is having a positive experience.”

Joy, 53, a professional at Belvedere since 1999 and the head golf professional since 2008, has been named the 2024 Golf Association of Michigan Club Services Representative of the Year. The GAM annually presents the honor to a club representative who demonstrates outstanding service to golf in Michigan.

“I’m very appreciative and kind of surprised,” he said. “I haven’t won many awards along the way. I’ve won some golf tournaments, but not many awards. This is new territory for me.”

A group of four Belvedere and GAM members nominated Joy. Tom Rex, a Charlevoix resident and one of the nominating members, said Joy is a friendly ambassador of Belvedere.

“I’m originally from Detroit, grew up and played golf down there, and now I’m in Charlevoix, but when I go back to Detroit or anywhere and Belvedere gets mentioned it’s always with Marty’s name,” he said. “Marty is everybody’s friend every place I go. I think it’s because there is never a hint of conflict with him. He treats everybody so well and he does it day after day.”

Rex said Joy is also instrumental in junior golf in Charlevoix.

“We have 80 to 100 kinds in the junior program and Marty goes out each year to play 100 holes of golf and with that raises 75 percent of our budget,” he said. “That’s just one of the things he does to keep golf growing. He’s always helping the high school kids, the Evans Scholars, all sorts of good things happen with Marty around.”

Joy, who can be found spring through fall at Belvedere, spends a few months during the winter in Florida. He was born in Ann Arbor while his father was in medical school and at age three the family moved to Charlevoix. He grew up a competitive golfer, though he only played Belvedere a few times.

He played professional tour golf for several years while also working at a selection of clubs, including notable stops at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, Innisbrook Resort in Florida and Carlton Oaks in California.

“When I came back here in ‘99 I was familiar with Belvedere and I did know some of the members growing up, played golf and tennis with them, so it wasn’t a big transition to working at the club,” he said. “The head pro then, Steve Braun, put me in charge of the customer service and merchandising end of things while he did more of the teaching, that kind of thing. That worked for me. I feel like I excel in that end of things. Even today, I handle that end and bring in others to do instruction and a few other things.”

In addition to serving Belvedere, Joy is well known in hickory golf circles as both a gifted player and an ambassador to the historic aspect of the game. Over 40 members of Belvedere play hickory-shafted clubs and in competition dress in the throwback appropriate apparel of knickers, ties and jackets.

Belvedere, a William Watson design dating to 1925, and host to the Michigan Amateur Championship a record 40 times, is a popular venue for the throwback game of hickory golfers. In 2023 the club hosted the international Hickory Grail Matches and has hosted the Belvedere Hickory Open since 2006 and in 2019 hosted the national U.S. Hickory Open.

Joy, who won in team and singles competition last summer in the Hickory Grail win by the U.S. team over Europe, said the renovation and restoration work by architect Bruce Hepner and Rick Grunch, a former longtime superintendent, has been a tremendous success.

“It’s back to the original intent of the design and we’re really excited to have the Michigan Amateur back here again next year (2025) in the centennial year of the club,” he said. “The golfers who have played here before will see a course that’s very different from what they remember.”

Rex said Joy will make sure the Michigan Amateur and the golfers playing in it feel right at home.

“It’s just what Marty does,” he said.