FARMINGTON HILLS – Greg Frontier’s favorite part about being a volunteer course rater for the Golf Association of Michigan is getting to play the golf course once the rating is complete.
“I love to play the game and I like that you get to play a lot of courses that you would not get the chance to play any other time,” he said. “This summer we played Tam O’Shanter.
“I also enjoy being able to play and then being able to understand how the course is rated, how during rating you look at the obstacles, the slope of the green, the width of the fairway and how that all goes into it. That has been an eye-opener for me and it helps me appreciate the game even more.”
Frontier, 76 and a Waterford resident who grew up in Birmingham, has been named the 2020 GAM Course Rater of the Year. The award is presented annually to the course rater who demonstrates outstanding proficiency with the Course Rating System™ and is committed to helping grow and develop the GAM Course Rating program, Kyle Wolfe, director of handicap rating for the GAM said in announcing the award.
“Greg has been volunteering for a long time now and he is well-liked by all of his peers,” Wolfe said. “He does a good job and has a really good attitude. That was main reason why he was nominated. He really helps our team in all areas of the state and has taken a more active role in the last handful of years.”
Frontier said he was surprised and pleased to be named the Course Rater of the Year. He has been rating for nine years.
“A friend of mine, Bob Campbell, was a rater and he took me along to a training session,” he said. “It sounded interesting. I was retired and had some time on my hands, loved to play golf and I thought it was a good thing to give back to the GAM from which I received a lot in the past.”
Frontier, who worked for 33 years in management primarily with Unisys and Burroughs Corp., has played golf since age eight.
“We lived in Birmingham near Springdale Golf Club,” he said. “It cost me $1 for membership and that allowed me to play the whole year. Springdale is still there. I went back a couple of years ago and showed them my membership card from 1951.
“They couldn’t accept it,” Frontier said and laughed.
His relationship with golf soon involved five years as a caddie at Oakland Hills Country Club. He had a bag in the 1961 U.S. Open Championship on the famed South course.
“I caddied for Gardner Dickinson in one of the last groups with the eventual winner, Gene Littler,” he said. “They called him Gene The Machine, and he was amazing. His caddie was a substitute guy who really didn’t know the course. Gene won that Open on his own.”
Frontier is a University of Michigan graduate where he fondly remembers playing the University of Michigan Golf Course for $1 as a student. He also has competed and serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Publinx Senior Golf Association where he handles the group’s website.
“I like to stay active and enjoy doing course ratings,” he said. “It’s interesting. It’s fun. I feel good when I can spend my time on a golf course.”
Frontier met his wife Patricia at Birmingham Seaholm High School and they have been married for 52 years. Together they have three daughters who are schoolteachers.