Legislators learn about golf’s impact in Michigan
Published 6:09 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022
LANSING — State Rep. Paulene Wendzel said she had no idea of the impact of the golf industry in Michigan before she started her career in politics.
In fact, she didn’t play the game until it was suggested to her that it was a great way to get to know people in politics.
“Honestly, it’s where you can spend four or five hours with a person and really get to know them, so golf has helped me politically, and I found out I loved it,” Wendzel, R-Watervliet, said. “Then I learned about the Senior PGA [Championship] which we just had in our district at Harbor Shores Golf Club and I found out what just that one tournament alone does for the community.”
Wendzel expanded her golf education Tuesday as the Michigan golf industry presented the Michigan Golf Day at the Capitol event.
The Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA), the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MiGCSA), the Michigan Section PGA, the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) and the Greater Michigan Club Management Association, which form the Michigan Golf Alliance, convened with legislators and staff members on the lawn of the state Capitol, and also visited the offices of each legislator.
For almost 15 years course owners, operators and superintendents have gathered each spring to voice a cooperative message. To mark the day, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed that “June is Michigan Golf Month,” and Wendzel presented the proclamation Tuesday.
“The Senior PGA had great impact,” Wendzel said. “The restaurants when I talked to them last week, sold out of food, the bars were out of alcohol and you couldn’t get a hotel room for miles. Big crowds came and it was great.”
The executive directors, presidents and members of the allied organizations in the Michigan Golf Alliance presented other areas of impact to Wendzel and other legislators including the impact on tourism, employment in the state, and the industry’s positive effect on the environment.
“The Michigan Golf Alliance created this event to facilitate golf industry representatives introducing themselves and informing the legislators and their staff on who we are and what our industry brings to the state,” Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA said. “I can’t overstate the importance of this day in delivering the message to our government leaders.”
The message from the Michigan Golf Alliance includes industry facts like $4.2 billion in annual economic impact in Michigan, over 60,000 people employed by golf courses in the state. $1.4 billion in wages paid and over 150,000 acres of managed green space and wetlands that provide wildlife habitats.
Wendzel said she has involved her family members in playing the game, too.
“My brothers-in-law, my dad, we are getting the whole family playing the game,” she said. “It’s great and it does some great things for the community, too. Whenever I tell people in Lansing where I’m from (southwest Michigan) they’re like, ‘oh, you’re the area with all the good golf courses,’ and I say I definitely am.”