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Member Insider: Joan M. Garety

Joan M. Garety, a retired financial executive, is a Michigan native and lifelong amateur golfer. 

Not only is Joan Garety a 22-time winner of the EVCC Ladies Club Champion, she’s also been honored in the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. It is safe to say she is a strong advocate for golf.

Why golf?
I started playing when I was 6. I don’t remember what drew me, other than spending time with my dad. He cut down some old wooden-shaft clubs for me. I fell in love with golf and have enjoyed it ever since. We had so much wonderful quality time! Golf’s a game where you can play and spend a lot of time with people, and really have a chance to converse. It’s a wonderful social game that way. You either get bit by the bug and you love it, or you don’t.

What has golf done for you?
It’s been a wonderful hobby and a terrific opportunity. Most of my closest friends I know through golf, in one way or another. When I was working, I could spend time with business associates in a more relaxed format. Having a common interest to talk about makes things easier. Golf gave me a chance to compete against talented women across this nation, which has been a special opportunity.

I began competitively golfing in high school, at the cusp of Title IX. I grew up in a small town in the Thumb, where there wasn’t amateur stuff for juniors. I played with my high school boys team, because we didn’t have a girls’ team. I attended a golf camp at Michigan State and made the decision to go there, which predated any scholarship money. I was tickled to death that there was a team—and a chance to compete and travel! When I was a junior, they began to have a bit of scholarship money. I received $500 and thought it was amazing.

What would your life have been like without golf?
I can’t even imagine it! I’ve played ever since I can remember. It’s an important part of me and my identity. I’m sure I would’ve muddled through, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. So many folks I know are wonderful golfers and accomplished people. They’re doing things, making a difference—they’re talented, in all facets of their life. Golf brings people together. I just love it!

Why should we play golf?
Golf is a game for a lifetime. I hope to play well into my 90s. You don’t have to be a wonderful athlete. Various skill levels can play together: You can have someone under par playing with someone golfing 120. You’re in beautiful settings, outside, on green grass—it’s always pleasant around you. Every golf course looks different and they’re all fun. It’s a wonderful challenge. You never reach perfection.

There’s nothing easy about golf, but it’s an awful lot of fun. Everyone should give it a try! 

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