For as long as he can remember, Christopher Hufnagel has been fascinated with golf—from working as a caddie growing up to now delving into the science of golf course design and even dabbling in hickory golf.
It’s safe to say his passion runs deep. We sat down with Christopher to hear more about his interesting golf past and why he chose to join Egypt Valley Country Club when relocating from Baltimore to Grand Rapids in 2009.
Christopher knew Grand Rapids had some pretty great golf clubs. Egypt Valley stood out.
“It checked almost all of the boxes for us as far as clubs go: great courses and membership, amazing staff, good facilities, and great programs for families.”
He isn’t lying when he says he loves everything about the game of golf.
“Its history and traditions, the courses, equipment, etiquette, comradery, the competition, and the fact that it’s as much as a mental challenge as physical. It’s truly a sport of a lifetime and I’ve learned a lot about life by being around this wonderful game.”
Christopher’s first job was working in the cart barn at a public course outside of Detroit. During high school, he was a caddie for four summers at Lochmoor Club and the Country Club of Detroit—a job he notes was probably one of the best he’s ever had.
“For three summers while in college, I was a greenskeeper at a country club outside of Chicago and I really got an appreciation for how hard greenskeepers work and the challenges they face each day. I got to cut greens and tees, edge and rake bunkers, helped fix sprinkler and irrigations lines, and a lot of other random jobs.
“It was awesome.”
These days, Christopher and his family—wife, Jill, and sons, Owen and Henry—spend time at the club in a variety of ways. It’s an environment Christopher never had access to growing up.
“That’s probably one of the best parts of Egypt Valley for me. Our kids love coming to the club, whether to golf, swim, and have dinner on the patio, or for the fall hayride or Halloween party.”
Christopher’s sons are active in the junior golf program at the club and he credits Assistant Golf Professional Landon McIntosh with providing Owen and Henry an exceptional start to a game he hopes they’ll love for a lifetime.
“Egypt Valley has been the perfect club for me. And with the boys getting a little older, it’s becoming the perfect club for them.”
Christopher keeps himself busy, no doubt about it. The President of CAT Footwear, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, he served on the 2010 USGA Junior Amateur Host Committee and was the Chair of the Golf Course Master Plan Committee in 2016. He currently serves on the Greens Committee.
When asked how he’s able to have a successful career and still make time for golf, Christopher’s response is candid.
“I’m not sure I do that very well, to be honest. Family and work always come first—then golf. For those that have seen me play, they can attest to that; I’m frankly not very good, but I love it.”
Christopher tells almost everyone he plays with that he loves golf more than it loves him.
So, what is it about Egypt Valley that keeps Christopher and his family coming back, again and again?
It comes down to the people—the members and staff.
“Egypt Valley is a special club because we have great people. It’s been great to see the club evolve over the past several years. Bo and his team deserve a big thanks from all of us, as we’ve made great progress across so many fronts in just a few years—the improvements to the clubhouse, the bar and dining room, the new patio. And the work Chris has done has been remarkable.”
Christopher is quick to credit the work Jeff Holmes and his crew have already done on the Master Plan, as well as the improved golf operations thanks to Mike McGonigal.
“Egypt Valley is a great club and it’s only gotten better since we joined. I take a lot of pride in being an active member here and we support the club and staff whenever we can.”
Christopher notes the club has so much going for it, but that it’s important—especially in a competitive market like country clubs—to work both smart and hard to ensure the club continues to thrive.
“The club has a tremendous history and it’s up to the members of today to help preserve and protect that legacy into the future. We should all strive to leave EVCC better than when we joined!”
If you see Christopher and his family around the club, be sure to stop and say “Hello!”