The Bernhardt family are no strangers to travel—they’ve lived in three major cities in four years before arriving in Grand Rapids.
Though Steve, a Client Advisor for JPMorgan, and his wife Jessica, an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields, spent almost 10 years in Dayton, Ohio, the couple and their two daughters—Stella, 13, and Carlie, 10—have been happily settled in Grand Rapids for almost five years.
“Though we all remain die hard Dayton Flyers basketball fans ‘til this day,” said Jessica.
Steve, originally from Grosse Pointe Woods, and Jessica, originally from New Knoxville, Ohio, met at the University of Dayton and got married in 2004. After moving to Grand Rapids, the family quickly joined Egypt Valley in July 2016.
“Two courses, with one being dedicated to family play on Sundays, had us at ‘Hello!’” said Jessica, noting that after belonging to clubs in three other cities, the family knew they wanted to be part of a club in Grand Rapids. “Egypt Valley seemed to radiate a family atmosphere, which is exactly what we were looking for. We didn’t even look at any other clubs in town because we were so impressed. The offerings of Egypt Valley for a family with young children were second to none.”
Steve’s history with golf began when he was a teenager, playing periodically with his dad, brothers and close friends, though he didn’t spend time truly learning the techniques of the game until his early twenties. He did, however, work as a grounds crew member at Detroit Golf Club in college, which inspired a great respect for the game.
Jessica, on the other hand, didn’t pick up a golf club at all until learning how to play alongside Steve in her early twenties.
“My goal at the time was just to be able to play good enough to go out and have fun at the corporate golf scrambles,” Jessica said. The couple both took some lessons and joined community leagues with friends, eventually becoming members at a small country club where they were able to get a lot of practice. “When the kids first came around, we hung up the clubs for a while, only getting out a couple times a year each.”
They started getting back in the game after purchasing a home on a golf course in Nashville, which is also when Stella and Carlie got their first sets of clubs and started taking a few swings. Now at Egypt Valley, both girls have participated in all of the junior sports.
“Carlie has won the Girls Junior 5-Hole Club Championship and Stella has won the Girls Junior 9-hole Club Championship,” Jessica said, adding that she and Steve enjoy participating in the Men’s and Women’s golf leagues and many of the tournaments. “Our goal is to keep creeping up the leader board of the couple’s tournament and keep shaving down our handicaps.”
The family enjoys that all levels of play are welcomed at Egypt Valley, and that the kids are encouraged to get out and golf.
“Egypt Valley has provided us the opportunity to teach the girls the game at a young age and now we can go do things like golf as a family in Hawaii,” Jessica explained, adding that Egypt Valley’s courses are both challenging and beautiful.
When not on the golf courses, the kids can often be found at the pool or playing tennis, while Jessica and Steve can be found on the patio or in the Valley Room, pre-COVID.
There’s a sense of community and comfortability at the club for the Bernhardt family.
“It feels like home,” said Jessica, who grew up in a very small town where everyone knew your name, or at least which family you were from. “And although they’re not in a small town like their mom, the girls get that same feeling at the club.”
Some interesting things other members might not know about the family is that Jessica grew up on a dairy farm; Stella went to three different elementary schools in four years because all the moving around; Carlie never lived somewhere longer than two years until the family moved to Grand Rapids; and Steve once had the privilege of opening the NASDAQ in NYC.
If you see the Bernhardt family around the club, be sure to say, “Hello!”