GAM Mourns Passing of Golf Business Leader Carl E. Rose

Written By: Greg Johnson

Carl E. Rose, one of the most influential people in golf as owner of the highly successful Michigan-based Carl’s Golfland practice facilities and retail operations, said in December of 2022 he couldn’t envision doing something different in life.

“It has never been a job,” he said in an interview for Carl’s Golfland’s annual magazine. “It has kind of been my life. I got to work with my dad and my mother. At times I’m sure it was not fun for them and at times I could question it as the thing I wanted to do, but my dad and mother were my educators in so many respects. My dad taught me how to behave, influence and treat people the way you want to be treated. They both taught me hard work and that if you love what you do, it is never a job. I loved coming here as kid, driving the tractor picking balls, having fun with the different mowers. I still love coming here.”

Rose will be missed at Carl’s Golfland and by the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM). He passed away on Jan. 11 and the Golf Association of Michigan mourns. Carl was 65.

“The partnership between the GAM and Carl’s Golfland has been especially meaningful for what we do,” GAM Executive Director Chris Whitten said. “You could tell Carl loved the game and made it a mission to support amateur golfers.”

Whitten noted that staff members at Carl’s Golfland not only work with the GAM in sponsorship and support but are active golfers playing in GAM tournaments and taking part in various golf events.

“Ryan Johnson and Casey Baker, who work for Carl’s, have won some of our most important championships and so our relationship with them is not just business, it’s personal because they are our members, too. At Carl’s they have always understood the game and what the GAM is all about, and I know many members of the GAM family feel this loss at a personal level.”

Baker, chief operation officer for Carl’s Golfland, said Carl was always a huge proponent of amateur golf in Michigan, including starting a First Clubs for Kids initiative that grants junior golfers their first club for free.

“Carl understood golf retail was simply one facet of the great game we love and play,” he said. “While a retailer in the industry, he wanted to support golf wherever he could and wherever it was played, especially by amateur players, who are as passionate about the game as he was. He and his dad played in many father-son events. There was never a question about Carl’s commitment to amateur golf and supporting the GAM. The core values of Carl’s Golfland and the way Carl envisioned his business operating, align with the GAM and their mission.”

In the interview just over a year ago Carl promised hard work, treating people well and hiring good people would remain the cornerstone of his family business.

“Who knows what golf will look like in 50 years?” he said “Just hope there’s a place like us that customers can go to enjoy the game they love. Think about it. We work in a great industry. Nobody comes through our doors because they need a water heater and they have water all over the basement. They come in because they love golf and they want to enjoy it even more. How great is it to be able to help people with something they love? Golf is going to change, but I don’t think the love of the game will change.”

Following is his obituary published by McCabe Funeral Home in Farmington Hills. It includes the funeral and celebration of life information.

Carl Rose

August 19, 1958 – January 11, 2024

Carl Edward Rose, age 65, passed away on January 11, 2024. He was born on August 19, 1958, to Carl and Donna Rose. Carl is survived by his wife Tiffany Rose and their two children Ella and Jake. He is also survived by his sister Barbara Rose and her wife Valerie Vernon, his brother-in-law Mark Kjolhede, father-in-law Howard Gustafson (Tammy) and his many cousins, nephews, and nieces. Carl was preceded in death by his father, Carl F. Rose, mother Donna Rose, and sisters Christine Rose and Paula Rose.

Carl was an accepting, devoted husband and a proud father. He never missed a game or a recital, and was always available to go skiing, surfing or throw a football. It was important to him to make time for family.

Carl had two families, his home family and his Golfland family. They were of equal importance to him as he was committed to providing the security and means for both families to grow and succeed. Carl was gracious to no end.

Beginning at an early age, Carl went to work with his dad. He would pick up balls and drive the tractor, which in later years led him to his love of driving snowmobiles, dirt bikes and fast cars. He dabbled with selling dirt bikes in his early 20’s, and shortly after, planted himself in what would be his life’s passion at Carl’s Golfland. He became determined to grow the business and did so very successfully. He expanded the company by adding another retail location and creating a very successful online presence. Carl attributed the success of these ventures to the people he had behind him and the entire Golfland team. His success as a businessman was based on principles modeled by his father; generosity, integrity and strong work ethic to name a few.

Carl worked hard and played hard. He had a love for people and life. He loved to snowmobile, car race, ski, boat and, yeah, he played a little golf. Carl also enjoyed building bonfires and hosting friends and family at his peaceful northern Michigan home.

Friends and family are welcome to attend a memorial gathering for Carl on Friday, January 19th,  from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at McCabe Funeral Home, 31950 W. 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills. A celebration of Carl’s life will be held Sunday, January 21st at 12:00 p.m., at St. John’s Resort, 44045 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth, MI 48170.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Carl’s name can be directed to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital – University of Michigan Health, to aid in pediatric cancer treatment and research, or the Bloomfield Township Fire Department Charities and Police Department Benevolent Fund.