Golf Association of Michigan Reacts to Continued Surge in Rounds Played

Current National Golf Foundation statistics show golf rounds played in 2021 were up an estimated 5.5 percent nationwide, and 5.6 percent in Michigan.

  Golf continued a surge started in the summer of 2020 and the Golf Association of Michigan has continued to add golfing members.

  “It was really another phenomenal year for golf, probably better than those in industry imagined,” said GAM Executive Director Chris Whitten. “The GAM goes as the game of golf goes and our membership was up 11 percent in 2021. I was especially happy to see a balance between new private club members and new public players joining for individual membership.”

 Whitten said the number of scores posted through the GAM to the World Handicap System was also up 31 percent.

  “There were more than 2 million rounds posted to GHIN and it was great to see people out enjoying the game so much and posting their scores,” he said. “That indicates involvement in the game at a greater level and that’s great.”

  Whitten was happy to see the surge of golf that started following the global pandemic shutdown in 2020 continue through 2021 and said sustaining that surge will depend on several factors.

  “Looking forward are people going to have the same flexibility with work and be able to enjoy a mid-afternoon round, the kind that keep the tee sheets full,” he said. “So far we have seen people realizing that outdoor recreation is great for their health and they are finding it at a local golf course.”

  Whitten said another factor in Michigan numbers that must always be considered is the Northern Michigan resort golf.

  “Michigan is a golfer destination in the summer and there has been growth there despite missing out on our friends of from Canada coming across the border to golf,” he said. “Hopefully the border will be open this summer and those golfers who usually come can return to play with their friends on extended trips. That will be great for Michigan golf, too.”

  At the GAM Whitten has added to his staff as membership in the association has grown.

  “Were always looking at our processes and how to help our member club and golfers when they need help,” he said. “We want to always get back to the people quickly. We’re here for the good of the game and as the game advances we want to help people enjoy it.”

  He said the message of previous years from the GAM was more people should play more golf.

  “This is a great time for us and that message has shifted to making the game better and understanding all the things and people that go into making the game more enjoyable,” he said. “We want to continue building with our partners, our member clubs, the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents, the Michigan PGA, the Michigan Golf Course Association and other groups who make the rounds available and meaningful for golfers.”

 GAM Membership renewal is now open for 2022.