100 HOLE HIKE: Fundraiser Helps Michigan Youth Play Golf for $5 or Less

  GAM Executive Director Chris Whitten Taking on Chandler Park Once Again

  DETROIT – For the second consecutive year the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) is participating in the 100 Hole Hike fundraiser for Youth on Course.

  Golf Association of Michigan Executive Director Chris Whitten and members of the GAM staff plan to play 100 holes of golf at Detroit’s Chandler Park Golf Course on Sept. 29.

  The GAM Foundation’s Youth on Course program, which is part of the national Youth on Course non-profit grow-the-game initiative, allows kids ages 6-18 to play golf for $5 or less at participating courses around the state.

  The GAM Foundation will take pledges for that day with all proceeds going to the implementation of the program, which includes subsidizing the participating courses in Michigan.

 Those who want to donate can do so by visiting .

  Whitten, in his first year as Executive Director, raised more than $4,000 on the day after his 40th birthday a year ago. He had also just returned from a week-long golf trip to England but made it through the 100 holes well before sundown. He walked 44,738 steps for 20.2 miles with three socks changes and one change of golf shoes.

  “Last year was my first time participating, and it was a great day,” Whitten said. “Sure my feet were sore, but I played as fast as I could and once I got in a rhythm I really played well. Although I only brought four clubs and played all of the shots around the greens with my bag on my back, I shot my lowest scores of the year!”

  Whitten said Youth on Course grew tremendously in Michigan this year and he is excited to get out on the course and raise some funds for the state’s young players.

   “The GAM Foundation is so proud to bring Youth on Course to Michigan with the amount of participation we have seen,” he said. “When many activities were considered unsafe for kids this summer, golf filled a big void for a lot of families. We saw growth over 100 percent and the Hike will help bring awareness to our effort to support kids playing golf affordably all across the state.”

   The most current numbers indicate there are over 6,800 members this year through the Golf Association of Michigan’s Youth on Course program, which is up from the 4,261 members a year ago.

  Over 24,000 rounds have been played this year at 108 participating Michigan golf courses, up from 9,900 last year and the $185,000 in subsidies paid to those participating golf courses this year is well over $100,000 more than all of last year.

    Youth on Course, based in Northern California but now implemented nationwide including Michigan, recently reported 104,189 members across the country. Those members had played 289,088 rounds so far this year at 1,432 partner courses. Over $2,034,074 had been reimbursed to the courses for their Youth on Course rounds.