The VandenBerg family has deep roots at Egypt Valley Country Club—and to them, it’s more than just their favorite place to golf; it’s family, too.
We sat down with two generations of VandenBergs to learn more about why Egypt Valley is the place they call a second home.
Rick and Mary VandenBerg joined Egypt Valley—then Greenridge Country Club—in 1983. Rick went on to serve as a board member for six years, at one point also serving as president in 1998, and currently serves as Past Presidents Committee chairman in addition to being president of the Egypt Valley Scholarship Program. Whew! He’s been busy.
All the while, Rick and Mary’s sons—Zack and JB—enjoyed everything the club had to offer, such as golf, swim and tennis lessons, and making lasting friendships along the way.
“I was a bit apprehensive about joining the club at first due to the drive,” said Mary, who today notes that joining those years ago was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.
“We’re so fortunate and it’s a real treat to see the grandkids take part in the same sports our sons did.”
Rick, who plays with his sons in the Men’s League, notes the golf courses at Egypt Valley are phenomenal.
“I’ve been golfing on them since 1990 and still can’t figure ‘em out!”
Growing up in the Egypt Valley family provided Zack VandenBerg with “awesome memories” and friends he still sees to this day.
“It’s a place where you can just run free and just truly be a kid.”
His wife, Lisa, adds that though she hadn’t grown up in a country club environment, she’s thankful Zack talked her into joining.
“I ended up falling in love with the atmosphere and programs offered, and even though I don’t golf, there’s still so much to do,” said Lisa, who adds that Egypt Valley offers a relatable vibe, which contrasts what some people assume country clubs are like.
“When you go to Egypt Valley, you know the staff and the staff knows you,” said Rick. “It’s a real personal connection and sense of community.”
JB VandenBerg has always felt like a member at the club—even after moving away from the area years ago. But upon returning to Grand Rapids in 2009, he and his family formally joined up again.
“It’s a total no-brainer. We love this place!” JB said, speaking of his wife, Melissa, and children.
JB and Melissa’s son, Gabe, was diagnosed with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD), a rare condition that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Though research is being dedicated to the disease, there’s no cure at this time.
One day while out golfing with his friend, JB thought, “You know what? We should have a fundraiser for the PMD Foundation.”
Along with help from his friend, JB put together the first Golf for Gabe outing that same August. In just four years, Golf for Gabe participants and sponsors have raised close to $250,000 for the PMD Foundation and the VandenBerg’s newly founded charity: Hope for Gabe.
“The club showed us tremendous support with a turnout of upward of 200 golfers at this past summer’s outing—many of them being members,” said JB, who expressed gratitude for those who donated to the cause.
“We call it our Egypt Valley family.”
It’s not uncommon to see the VandenBergs spending a day at the pool, dining on the patio, out on the course, or at one of the club’s many social events. If you see them, be sure to stop and say “Hello!”