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Fairways & Greens

Collaborative marketing is the present and future for Michigan golf and the metro areas are jumping into the game. Witness Golf Grand Rapids, the new partnership formed under the aegis of the GR/Kent County CVB. Five upscale public courses, ten hotels, The BOB restaurant, and other downtown GR entities have joined together to offer an attractive, booking-friendly package. "With the development of several new upscale public courses throughout the area, Grand Rapids is now an attractive golf destination," says Steve Wilson, President of the CVB. GR-minded golfers should call 1-800- 678-9859 -- Bay Meadows GC in Traverse City will be the only Michigan site of the NIKE Junior Golf Camp this summer on July 20-24 and August 3-7. Juniors will practice in small groups, under PGA teaching pros' eyes, and then spend the afternoons on the course in actual, supervised play. All levels of play are accommodated at a week-long fee starting at $225. Space is limited so call 1-800-645-3226 -- meanwhile The Tiger Woods Foundation will hold its first junior clinic in Detroit on August 1-4 at a site to be announced soon. Tiger be there in person to give a hands-on lesson to 25 kids selected from the area while minority golf instructors will teach an additional 100 youngsters. After the clinic, up to 2500 juniors will attend an exhibition, clinic and talk by Tiger and his father Earl Woods. Call 512-292- 9062 -- Could the sometimes petulant Tiger use a Gremmie? The Gremmie is a Smurf-like character conjured up by Dave St. Aubin of Dowagiac to symbolize "what's good and right about golf." Check it out on Aubin's website at www.thegremmie.com or call 1-888-727-GREM -- Mike Meindertsma, Grand Traverse Resort's Director of Golf, was named one of three winners of the '98 Environmental Stewards Awards by the Golf Course Superintendents Association. Meindertsma's "Less is Better" theme at GTR in regard to irrigation, nourishment and chemicals proved to be the award- winning management practice -- Also at GTR, the Jim McLean Golf School is coming to the Acme-located resort this summer. McLean is the '94 PGA Teacher of the Year whose teaching base is at Doral, now a sister property to GTR. Call 800-723-6725 -- Jon Maddern of Elk Ridge GC in Atlanta was elected to a two-year term to the Board of Directors of the Golf Course Superintendents Association -- Kevin Alridge's eagerly awaited Blackheath GC is set to open by June 1. If you like The Gailes -- also designed by the talented Aldridge -- then you'll love Blackheath. It has the same Scottish, links-style charm -- Fast-rising course architect Ray Hearn (of Twin Lakes fame) will be packing his clubs, bags, and lesson plans as he and others from Michigan State will embark on June 12 for a unique golf-and-learning tour of Scotland. Accompanied by Prof. Warren Rauhe of MSU's Landscape Architecture Program, Hearn will co-host the tour which will visit such storied layouts as Cruden Bay, Carnoustie and Prestwick -- In the last issue of Golf Course News, an informative monthly by the way, I read where the Audubon International's Cooperative Sanctuary is launching a new program called "Project Flight Plan." PFP is aimed at fostering migratory bird conservation across the continent. Most birds migrate -- and I'm all for that. But when I think of migratory birds I also think of those pesky geese (waterfoul?) besmirching courses like some curse. Superintendents pull out their hair trying to combat geese on their courses while being politically correct on animal welfare. On last page in that same issue of Golf Course News is an ad for ReJeX-it -- a pesticide to "rid your Golf Course of nuisance GEESE." How about a compromise here: "Project Non-Stop Flight Plan to Hudson Bay for Geese." -- A recent trip to Boston emphasized the essentials in a quality golf range. In a Boston Globe article, Bill McInerney's McGolf Driving Range was favorably reviewed. McInerney gave this keen advice for being a winning range pro: "Always have new balls every spring, offer friendly tips, keep the place clean, and wear a clean pair of pants -- do these things and you can't help making money." I guess "Dress for Success" will now have a new chapter for the stop-and-sock management team -- Save the caddies! The key may be preserving the independent contractor status for caddies in Congress, under H.R. 2321 -- The Caddie Relief Act of 1997. Co-sponsors of this bill include Michigan's Fred Upton, Bart Stupak, and Debbie Stabenow. Show your support by writing them or your own U.S. Representative a letter -- Early travel tip for next fall and winter to Florida. Tom Marshall, Grand Rapids, gives "two thumbs up" for the Westin Innisbrook Resort's new Eagle's Watch golf course that opened in January. "The greens were perfect and the fairways were like a carpet, "said Marshall. "And the design is user-friendly with only an occasional forced-carry." Designed by Larry Packard, Eagle's Watch now represents one of five courses at Innisbrook, located in Tarpon Springs -- about 25 minutes from the Tampa International Airport. Call 1-800-456-2000 -- Remember "Spikey Mite," the foot-pedal operated spike-changer invented by Egypt Valley's Shaaf Hameed who was featured last summer in Michigan Golfer? Well, with investors behind him, Shaaf is now marketing his "revolutionary and safe" product to locker-room managers across the country. Aimed at curtailing repetitive motion-type injuries, the "Spikey Mite" costs $695 and may be ordered by calling Dave Russell at 616-956-9111

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