Live Blog from the GAM Annual Meeting!

11:21 a.m. — Lunch is served!

11:09 a.m. – We ROCK! According to a member survey, 98.4 percent of GAM members are EXTREMELY SATISIFED with the GAM! Drumroll please . . . what benefits do members like the most? GAM/USGA Handicap Index ranks first. Golf Digest subscription, Michigan Links Course Directory and Swing & Save discounts follow.

10:59 a.m. – GAM Executive Director David Graham taking the podium. First announcement is the very thing everyone wants to hear; golf is ON for this afternoon as the weather is cooperating!
Graham giving some love to our allied associations — MPGA, MGCOA, MGCSA, MTF, USGA and more. A fun fact; 3,214 golfers participated in GAM tournaments in 2010.
A reminder for everyone with a 2011 GAM Gold Card to take advantage of the 200-plus Swing & Save offers available only to GAM members. There are 2 for 1 offers, 9 and dine offers and everything else you can imagine! Also back for 2011 is the Exclusive Tee Times program. Check the web site for available tee times.
Has your club been certified for administration of the USGA handicap system? If not, see Tonia Branch to find out about upcoming handicap seminars.
Got meeting? The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in Troy is available to host meetings and events.

10:55 a.m. – How does the USGA pick courses for their tournament anyway? Courses make their case and the USGA looks not only at the golf course but space for hospitality.

10:48 a.m. — Is that the sun trying to peek out? It looks bright in the West and dark in the East. Hopefully this sun thing is a trend for the day and we will have a spectacular afternoon for golf! And speaking of weather, Dave Baughman has just posed the question: “What happens if there is a tornado or some other similar disaster and Inverness CC in Toledo can’t be used for the tournament this year?” Hall just wants to assure everyone, there is ALWAYS a backup plan. Says Sewicki: “There is always a way.”

10:13 a.m. – Let’s have a warm welcome for Jeff Hall, Director of Rules & Amateur Status for the USGA and Matt Sewicki, USGA Manager of Rules & Competitions! They’ve been over at Indianwood CC checking out the terrain for the upcoming U.S. Senior Open July 12-15, 2012. This will be an exciting event for Michigan.
We’re getting the lowdown on course setup, course length, hole locations, and the challeneges of the U.S. Senior Open layout. It’s whetting the appetiite of every golfer in the room!
That business about narrow fairways and graduated rough? Not just a rumor! The USGA believes firm and fast fairways and less-lush rough adds to the excitement of the tournament. Says Hall: “It’s kind of fun when it’s firm. When a player can’t exactly control the ball but he can get it to the green, that’s fun.”
How fast is too fast when it comes to greens? “We’ve backed off on green speeds and sometimes we will back off on green speed on a given day. It is all about making the green speed work with the hole location.” And hole location? It’s a science!
Sewicki calls himself a “firefighter” during the says of the competition becasue his job is to put out fires. Right now he can relax and just give the crowd some fun facts about the U.S. Senior Open. Something you may not know — there will be $35 daily tickets available for the tournament at Indianwood; on site parking is free. Want to know more? Go to
Says Hall: “Remember, this is the Senior Open. Golf balls go everywhere!”

10:10 a.m. – Jeanne Myers behind the podium talking about the USGA’s Ike Grainger Award for 25 years of service going to John O’Donovan of Egypt Valley! Says O’Donovan: “The only bad thing about this award is that you have to be really old to get it!”  

10:08 a.m. — Legislative Chairman Jim Kohl giving a shout out to the Golf Course Owners Association and a planned event on June 22 at the state capitol. The plan? To educate our legislature about Michigan golf. Visit to find out more!

10:02 a.m. — So you think you know turf? Lee Juett says you don’t know anything until you attend a MTF seminar. And now Caddie Chairman Chris Angott is taking the stage. I’m going to get emotional now because he is talking about the Evans Scholar selection meeting and all of the great kids and their stories. This year 29 scholarships were awarded to college students around the state of Michigan. There are currently 115 Evans Scholars in the Evans Scholar houses at MSU and U-M. And if you haven’t done so already, make your tee time for the Evans Scholar fundraiser at Detroit Golf Club! Angott’s home club, Plum Hollow, is hosting the GAM’s Caddie Championship this summer.

9:49 a.m. — The committee reports are starting . . .Lloyd Schwartz of the GAM Finance Committee is first. Good news — the GAM is in the black. Pssst – Lloyd is picking Dialed In as the winner of the upcoming Kentucky Derby.
John O’Donovan has the report from the Nominating Committee. He is giving the lowdown on all of the changes in the list of GAM Governors, Officers and of course Lee Juett of Oakland Hills becoming President Emeritus as Ron Gaines of TPC Michigan becomes the GAM’s new president.
Dave Baughman of the Green Committee calls for a round of applause for Juett, then talks up the MTF and Tee Times 4 Turf and Super GAM Day, June 13 at the Hancock Center in East Lansing.

9:35 a.m.– We are now enjoying a video recap of the 2010 GAM Championship season. Hey! There is the “world famous” Jeanne Myers and her rules rug! Todd Arner, GAM member, is talking about how much he gets out of his GAM membership. He says it is fun to watch his GAM/USGA handicap index go up and down. Now we are giving a big thank you to all of the GAM volunteers without whom we could not put on our tournaments. GAM Course Rating Manager Doug Hendershot is explaining what he and his crew do all season, rating about 70 golf courses around the state each season.
Lee Juett is giving a shout out to the caddies, the Evans Scholars and the Western Michigan Golf Association. Dr. Frank is pumping up the superintendents and talking about what the MTF does for all of the golf courses in Michigan. Keeping the fairways and greens beautiful, developing disease-resistant grasses — they do it all at the MTF.
Now we are recognizing all of the 2010 GAM Champions. Kudos to all of them! The 2011 GAM tournament season gets underway tomorrow! GAM Executive Director David Graham is sparking some excitement for the 100th Michigan Amateur Championship at Boyne this June. It is going to be historic!

9:33 a.m. — Lee Juett starting the meeting and calling for a moment of silence for those from the GAM family who have passed away this year. He is also asking us to remember those of the GAM family who are sick and gives a shout out to the U.S. armed services who are serving us both at home and overseas.

9:31 a.m. — GAM Governor Harrison Stackpole just stopped over and told an extremely funny golf joke. So these two guys were on the 12th green and these women kept hitting into them . . .

9:26 a.m.– Dave Douglas and the crew from Sweetgrass GC in the U.P. are here! The left on their journey yesterday morning, stopped and played a round at The Dream and The Nightmare and then continued on to the Metro Detroit area. We are very excited to have our friends from the north here today!

9:15 a.m. — GAM Governor Lynn Saunders giving a hand to GAM Assistant Executive Director Tonia Branch with the audio-visual equipment. Everyone is doing their part to make sure everything runs smooth.

9:10 a.m. — Just got a friendly wave from GAM Governor Chris Angott of Plum Hollow CC. He’s smiling so the Governors’ meeting must have been a hit! Governors Jim Evanoff and Mick Kildea are mingling along with outgoing GAM President Lee Juett and Presdient Emeritus Bill Wright.

9:05 a.m. — The crowd is starting to file in and although it is cloudy, the rain is holding off at this point. It looks good for golf this afternoon on the lush fariways of Oakland Hills. Let’s hope the rain holds off until this evening.

8:50 a.m. — Dr. Kevin Frank from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is in the building as are the folks from the USGA. The Governors’ meeting us underway upstairs at the beautiful Oakland Hills clubhouse with part two of the meeting scheduled to start at 9:30.