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As spring at Egypt Valley begins to kick into high gear, a common theme is emerging: Full!

The weather is turning and we have the promise of a full season of fun and camaraderie at the Club ahead of us. Our membership is currently full, with a waitlist for both playing and social members. Our Finance, Greens and House Committees are currently evaluating a full slate of options for future investment in 2022, 2023 and beyond; we hope to share exciting news in this regard in the coming months.

Our social calendar is coming together nicely, and with over 750 people attending Easter Brunch and another 800 plus attending Mother’s Day Brunch (both recent records), our banquet events have been full this year.

Finally, once again within the theme, we are proud to announce our staffing is near full, at least relative to the past few years. We have been able to significantly increase our staffing levels as planned, which we expect will further improve your member experience this year. In addition, we have officially announced the hiring of Jillian Farrell to serve as an Assistant Golf Professional. We are thrilled to have Jillian come aboard, as she has a great golf background and will certainly add even more value to our golf programs.

Having a full and busy club doesn’t come without its challenges. The demand on our courses is at an all-time high, and we have seen some on the golf course not following the “cart path only” rule when required. Unfortunately, this has resulted in damaged areas that Jeff and his team have had to focus on, instead of preparing the rest of the property for the season. It’s important to note that while all instances were unintentional, the offenders were both newer and well-tenured members. As members of Egypt Valley, we need to all view the Club as if we are the owners. If the course is wet, please treat it like you would treat your front yard and keep the four wheels of the carts on the paved surfaces. This will ensure the best possible conditions for the membership and guests to the property.

While the weather in April was not ideal for those of us who like to golf, it’s quickly turning and we expect the activity at the Club to increase as a result. The new app that Kyle announced this week works great for setting tee times or booking dining or social reservations, so give it a try.

Get out to Egypt Valley and use your Club—we are all very fortunate to be members of this community, so enjoy it!

Justin Karl
Club President
 
Kasie Smith
Join us as we get to know Devin Irish, Assistant Golf Professional at Egypt Valley, a little better!

Where does your passion for the sport of golf come from?

The passion for the game of golf came from playing golf with my father growing up. When I got older, that passion transformed in to wanting to know the golf swing in and out to help other golfers achieve their goals.

Share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey!


I have been at Egypt Valley since January of this year; I will have to say it took some getting used to with Michigan winters (which bring a little more snow than back at home). I heard about the position through the PGA job board and did research on the club. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to advance my career!

What’s the best part of being part of the EVCC team?


The best part about being part of the EVCC team is how friendly the entire staff is and how welcoming the membership has been, as well. From the first week, the staff have made me feel welcome like a family and I can't wait for many more years here.

What’s your favorite golf highlight/memory at Egypt Valley?


I have only been on the Ridge Course once, so not too many fond memories yet. I will have to say the greens are tricky out here and they left me second guessing every putt I had.

When you're not at the club, what activities are you most likely found enjoying?


When I'm not at the club, I enjoy spending time with my friends and exploring more of Michigan, since I moved up here in January. I look forward to going up North in the summer and doing some sightseeing.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?


I didn't really catch the golf bug until I was in college.


If you see Devin around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
 
Hunter Stringfellow
The McGivney family finds that Egypt Valley has everything they could want in a club, and more.
Northstar Admin
With the spring season upon us and EVCC opening in earnest, there are many exciting updates to share this month.
Northstar Admin
For Hunter Stringfellow, Membership Coordinator, working in the private club sphere is an ideal way to apply her skills while building relationships with those in the club community.
Northstar Admin

For Matt and Hilary Lapham, Egypt Valley is a beautiful getaway from the crazy parts of their personal and professional lives.

Originally from Brighton, Matt is President of Packaging Compliance Labs, which works in sterile barrier packaging for medical and pharmaceutical devices. Matt’s history with golf goes back to when he was 12, when he decided to leave hockey behind to try something new.

“Turns out he was pretty great at it—though he'd never say that about himself!” Hilary said, noting that Matt and his partner Mike Simms won their league flight at the Club this year.

Matt played the No. 1 slot at Hope College for four years and broke many MIAA records, played in four D3 National Championships, competed in many Michigan Amateur events, and in two U.S. Amateur events. After college, he went to Texas to play on the Hooters mini tour and then to Florida to play on a different tour.

Hilary, who is the Founder of Train to Retain LLC, grew up in Grand Rapids right down the road from the Club and is a systems consultant for small to medium sized businesses. She got her start in golf six years ago when the family joined the Club.

“You learn quickly as a golfer's wife, ‘If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!’” she said. “I have achieved nothing beyond feeling comfortable playing nine holes!”

The Laphams find Egypt Valley offers plenty of opportunities for their three children—four-year-old Brody, two-year-old Brooks, and five-month-old Lennox—to get involved.

“We LOVE how family oriented the club is, with all the family events and kid related activities,” Hilary explained, noting the Club’s 36 holes make hitting the course as a new golfer much more relaxing due to player traffic being spread out. “Nothing is worse than when you're new to golf and another group is on your tail! The course is super challenging, so it's great for Matt to be challenged, and it’s great for me to learn on a hard course.”

When not on the golf courses at Egypt Valley, the Lapham family could almost certainly be found lounging by the pool (when the weather allows, of course).

A family of adventure travel seekers, the Lapham family loves to plan fun trips to crazy places, chasing trains and renting cars in places they don't know.

“We can't wait for [the pandemic] to be over so we can get back to it, with three kids in tow!” Hilary said, explaining that in addition to traveling, their family enjoys spending time with friends and staying active. “We run—a lot!”

The family also could be found skiing in the winter, visiting Hilary’s parents on their lake and anything that revolves around having fun with their kids.

If you see the Lapham family around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

The Valley Room here at Egypt Valley Country Club has earned the prestigious Certified Green Restaurant® status.

The Valley Room earned 116 GreenPoints™ in the Green Restaurant Association’s rigorous certification program. We are proud to be the first club in Michigan to earn this environmental certification.  

The Valley Room implemented over 20 environmental steps to meet the certification. If all of America’s restaurants followed in The Valley Room’s leadership of becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®, it would be a transformative step forward towards environmental sustainability.

“The restaurant industry has an enormous impact on our environment,” said Michael Oshman, CEO and Founder of the Green Restaurant Association. “We applaud The Valley Room at Egypt Valley Country Club for improving its environmental practices in a transparent fashion that provides its customers with the information and integrity they deserve.” 

Egypt Valley’s Executive Chef, Ben Stinson, is proud of the work he and his team have done to achieve this certification.

“It’s past time for all of us to start making important decisions about what kind of world we are going to leave future generations, and striving towards sustainability just seems like the right thing to do,” Stinson expressed.

When asked why he began working toward this certification, Stinson said that for as long as he’s been involved in the restaurant industry, it has had a problem with waste.

“Food waste, package waste from Styrofoam and plastics, and waste from non-efficient energy usage have been an acceptable part of the job for far too long,” Stinson explained. “We want to lead the charge towards real change and the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) has given us the roadmap to get there.”

LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL STEPS EGYPT VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB HAS TAKEN

  • Recycling aluminum, cardboard and paper—keeping up to 50% of the Club’s total waste out of landfills.
  • Cups and take-out containers are made with bio-based materials that can be commercially composted. 
  • Energy Star dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators and steamers are 30-40% more efficient than conventional models. 
  • 25% of the main dishes offered on the menu are vegetarian or vegan, which require significantly less energy and water to produce than meat-based dishes. 
  • Wall-mounted range hoods capture more smoke and grease while using less energy than a free-standing hood. 
  • Cold cups are made with materials recovered from community recycling.
  • Low flow toilets use 20% less water than the current federal standard. 
  • High-efficiency hand dryers in restrooms are least wasteful and most efficient. 
  • A Clubhouse free from Styrofoam, keeping harmful chemicals and litter out of the environment.

Restaurants consume one third of all electricity in the retail sector. With issues of climate change, ocean pollution, and sustainable food at the forefront of this year’s headlines, it’s important to note the leadership in environmental sustainability at Egypt Valley. Stinson and his team are excited to implement greater environmental steps to achieve more GreenPoints and higher levels of certification.

“I like to find ways to distinguish ourselves from the competition,” Stinson said. “Being the only club in Michigan to be certified by the GRA is something we can all brag about!”

Northstar Admin

As Egypt Valley’s Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, Jordan Silvester helps ensure the dining experience is always a pleasant one for the Club’s members and their guests. Take a moment to learn more about Jordan! 

You graduated with a degree in hospitality management. What attracted you to that degree for a college major?

I originally came up to Grand Valley State University to study Accounting. I switched majors halfway through college to Hospitality and Tourism Management.

What are you most excited about with your position at EVCC?

I love the communication between guests, members and employees. I am excited to start fitting into my role as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, as well as meeting all the members, and co-leading a great team.

What is your favorite food in general? What about your favorite dish at EVCC?

I would have to say my favorite food is either steak or spaghetti. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a steak here (yet) but I hear it’s to die for. My favorite foods at Egypt Valley are the Ben Ben Fried Rice and the Seoul Bowl.

What are some of your favorite ways to spend your free time?

Free time? What’s that? I love hanging out with friends, talking to my cats, and playing sports.

What’s on your playlist as you come into work each day?

My playlist for the car ride into work is named “whatever is on the radio.” I don’t really have a set list, I just pick a station and go with it.

What is something most members would be surprised to learn about you?

Something members would be surprised to learn about me would be that I grew up in Ann Arbor, but I’m not a U of M fan. I’m not saying I dislike them, but I don’t actively watch them!

Northstar Admin

Originally both from the east side of the state, Greg and Erin Kilby met while Greg was an attorney in downtown Grand Rapids at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP.

Before meeting, Greg was brought to Grand Rapids to play soccer at Hope College, while Erin came to the area to teach after graduating from Central Michigan University. The couple joined Egypt Valley in 2009—the year they got engaged.

Greg’s journey with golf began in 1996, and in college had a number of fraternity brothers that grew up at Egypt Valley.

“He took up the game of golf to play with them,” Erin said. “Greg has played in Men’s League ever since joining and every invitational.”

Erin also grew to enjoy the game at Egypt Valley, and now goes out every Tuesday night and plays in the three-hole league—a special time for herself where she can escape with women and moms who mean the most to her.

Outside of golf, the Kilbys and their children—Harper, age 9; Eli, age 7; and Zoey, age 6—enjoy traveling and spending time with family, though the kids’ sports take up much of their time these days.

When it comes to the courses at Egypt Valley, there are several aspects the Kilbys enjoy.

“We love that the courses are challenging, that there are 36 holes so you can always get on (unlike most country clubs), and that they are family friendly,” said Erin, noting that Greg loves to take his son out and play with him. “We love the work that Jeff Holmes and his team does to keep the courses in pristine condition.”

Being members now for 12 years, the Kilbys are passionate about being involved, with Greg serving as President of the Men’s League in addition to having served on the nominating committee for the board of directors three times.

“Greg, through his company, The Kendall Group, assisted in procuring products for the west patio remodel,” Erin explained. “Together with the VandenBergs, Greg also formed and sustained a charitable golf outing to benefit our godson, Hope for Gabe.”

The Kilby family truly considers Egypt Valley their home away from home.

“We’ve been here since before we were married. We've raised our children there,” Erin said, citing reasons including hosting special occasions like their eldest daughter’s first birthday at the Club. “Since our families aren’t in town, we spend a lot of time with our EVCC family. The kids love that we’ve created traditions with some of the Club’s annual holiday events. Our kids have not only learned to golf here, but it’s also where all three kids learned to swim and play tennis, in addition to having been involved in junior golf and PGA Jr. League.”

When they’re not out on the courses, the Kilbys could be found having dinner on the back patio with friends, at the pool with the kids or watching them be involved in sports like swim and tennis, and attending special events and parties.

If you see the Kilby family around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

Though relatively new to the Egypt Valley team, Andrea Deneweth, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, is energized by meeting new members every day at the Club and getting to know them.

“The energy I get from seeing the members happy is how I get through my day,” said Andrea, who enjoys playing golf in her spare time. “Meeting new members and getting to know them better is something I look forward to.”

Andrea graduated from Aquinas College in 2018 with a Sports Management/Business Administration degree. She also worked at another country club in the area prior to joining Egypt Valley.

“I worked at Lincoln Country Club in Walker as the Operational Supervisor for two years before getting this job,” said Andrea, who has been playing softball since she was four years old. “I played collegiate softball for Aquinas and in all of those years playing softball, the only injury I’ve had was two cracked vertebrae.”

When it comes to Andrea’s work ethic, she says her mom has been her biggest influence and is the hardest worker she knows.

“My mom has always told me to do my best at everything I do,” Andrea explained. “If I do my best and try my hardest, I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. That’s my mindset when it comes to working hard. My mom is my inspiration.”

When not at the Club, Andrea could be found spending time with her friends and boyfriend, relaxing, and walking and cuddling her dog.

“I am very excited to see what EVCC has in store for me!”

If you see Andrea around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

Raised in in Sarasota, Florida, long before air conditioning and Title IX, Barbara Schmid could often be found exploring the woods around her neighborhood, pole vaulting over rain-filled ditches with bamboo shoots and playing baseball with the neighborhood boys.

“I still thrive doing anything active in the outdoors to this day,” said Schmid, who was introduced to golf in high school. “My high school sweetheart’s father was a golf teaching pro, which enabled me to learn the game correctly from the time I first held a club. I hit hundreds of wedges before they’d even let me onto the golf course!”

Schmid is forever grateful to that family for opening a window into a sport that would lead to many incredible career opportunities and serve as a competitive outlet. She would go on to earn a bachelor’ s degree in journalism and public relations from Georgia State University.

“While it took 20 years to work my way through college, I managed to forge my own path to success and happiness,” Schmid explained. “It never ceased to amaze me that being a somewhat accomplished female golfer gave me a ‘step up’ in the business world.”

Once a general sports writer and golf columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Schmid also hosted a local sports television series. In the late 80s, she began working for a sports marketing company out of the New York area that managed several professional golf tournaments.

“I was the tournament director for the then Aetna Challenge, a Senior PGA Tour event in Naples, Florida, and also assisted with the company’s other sports properties,” Schmid recalled. “Those experiences allowed me meet some of the greatest golfers in the world.”

In 1994, Schmid also met someone very important: Her husband, Frank, in a plane over Africa.

“I had just finished a primitive backpacking trip across Uganda as part of The Congo Expedition, a sponsored recreation of Henry Morton Stanley’s trip into Africa to find Livingstone,” Schmid said. “During the same timeframe, Frank had taken a sabbatical from his medical practice in Saranac to volunteer in Rwanda with Billy Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse during the massacres there.”

The couple, who today have three children and five grandchildren, began a long-distance relationship (Atlanta to Grand Rapids) that lasted two years before Schmid loaded up a U-Haul and began work as the outdoors editor at the Holland Sentinel.

“We married in 1998 at the site of our first real date: Grand Teton National Park,” said Schmid, noting that since her and Frank met while traveling, it comes as no surprise that travel has been a constant theme throughout their marriage. “We’ve golfed in Ireland, snorkeled in the Galapagos, bicycled through Tuscany, and hiked and fly fished throughout the West.”

The couple joined Egypt Valley in 1999 partly because of its two great courses, but also because of the Club’s progressive vision regarding women, as well as nontraditional memberships.

“As a Club member, I was able to quickly make valuable and lasting friendships in my new hometown,” said Schmid, who is a single member at the Club these days. “While Frank no longer plays golf, I seem to play enough for the two of us! I love the social games with my gal pals and playing in league events as a way to make new friends. The competitor in me comes alive during GAM and USGA tournaments.”

Over the years, Schmid has garnered a wide array of awards and accomplishments, including: Riding her bicycle 3,000 miles across the country from San Diego to St. Augustine in 2007; completing four marathons; being named GAM Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 2005; and boasting five holes-in-one, though only one of them can be attributed to EVCC (Valley 5). She has also been the Egypt Valley Women’s Club Championship winner in 2013, 2017 and most recently 2021, in addition to being the Egypt Valley Senior Women’s Club Championship winner for four consecutive years (2018 – 2021).

Today, Schmid serves on the golf and green committees at Egypt Valley, as well as volunteering as a course rater for GAM. Frank, who joined the Army Reserve Medical Corps in 2003 and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, retired as Colonel and also from his private medical practice in 2018.

If you see Barbara and Frank around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

On August 4, 2021 during a ceremony at the Treetops Resort in Gaylord, The Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame celebrated the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.

They inducted four new members, including three Grand Rapids area coaches—Ken Bokhoven, Don Lancaster and Brian Telzerow—along with North Farmington’s Bruce Sutton.

Telzerow, who coached Forest Hills Eastern’s girls golf team to Division 2 state championships in 2010 and 2012 and the Forest Hills Northern boys to the 2019 state crown, is familiar with Egypt Valley’s courses, as the club serves as the home course for Forest Hills Northern Boys and Forest Hills Eastern Girls golf teams.

Telzerow has been a golf coach in the Forest Hills Public Schools since 1994, beginning as the boys’ and girls’ junior varsity coach at FHN for five years. In 2004, he became the boys’ and girls’ varsity coach at FHE, where he has continued as the girls’ coach. He became the boys’ varsity FHN in 2006.

During Telzerow’s 44 seasons of coaching, his teams have won 13 conference championships (7 girls and 6 boys); three district titles; six regionals (3 girls and 3 boys) and have played in 22 state tournaments (13 girls and 9 boys). His teams have played in 181 tournaments, winning 33 and finishing in the top-four a total of 93 times.

Telzerow was named the MIGCA Boys District Coach of the Year in 2011, MIGCA Regional Coach of the Year for girls in 2007 and 2013 and for the boys in 2014 and 2016. He was also named the MIGCA Girls Division III Coach of the Year in 2012 and the MIGCA Boys Division II Coach of the Year in 2018. Telzerow is an ordained minister, has his doctorate and is a professor of youth ministry at Kuyper College and now serves on the pastoral staff at Fifth Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. He and his wife Becky live in Grand Rapids and have a daughter Stephanie, and one grandson from his son Evan and wife Kelsey.

Join us in congratulating Brian and the other three coaches being recognized this year!

Northstar Admin

Egypt Valley member Bradley Smithson has experienced great success with golf, and it’s not hard to see why—he’s been playing the sport since he was around age three or four.

A junior studying advertising at Michigan State University, Smithson is also a member of MSU’s golf team and credits his father as the reason he got involved with golf.

“My father being a golf professional made me want to start golfing and once I started, I fell in love with it,” said Smithson, who has always called Grand Rapids home. “I have played all my life growing up.”

Smithson and his family are going on their second year as members at EVCC, an experience Smithson said has been great to be a part of.

“I have been able to form some very good friendships and I was able to win the club championship this past summer,” said Smithson, who also recently won the Turtle Casino Michigan Open in June. He’s only the fifth amateur to win the professional event in its 104-year history.

Though Smithson will be a junior this coming fall at MSU, he’s considered a sophomore eligibility wise because of the COVID year students received.

“Once I finish up with school, I plan on turning professional and trying to play golf,” Smithson said.

When he’s not golfing, Smithson enjoys fishing, spending time by a lake or on a boat, and spending time with his friends that he gets to see during the summer months.

“Playing golf while at school is tough with how busy we are, so it’s nice during the summer to catch up with my friends that I haven’t seen in a while,” he said. 

Smithson explains he enjoys playing golf at Egypt Valley because the courses are great and always in excellent condition.

“My favorite parts about the golf courses are that the greens are always so firm and so fast, which is a lot like what we play on during the school year,” Smithson said. “Both courses are very challenging and keep my game in good shape all summer for different tournaments and getting ready for school.”

When not on the course at Egypt Valley, Smithson could be found with friends at the pool or on the patio having dinner. 

“Occasionally, you could find me on the tennis courts with some friends, as well,” he said, noting that ultimately what makes Egypt Valley special is the people.

“I have formed many great friendships over the last couple of summers that I will have for life,” he said. “I also think EVCC is so special because of the staff and all the work they do, whether it’s for the golf course, restaurant or by the pool, everyone is super friendly and welcoming.”

If you see Bradley around the club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

Lindsay Hams, Assistant Pool Manager at Egypt Valley, discovered the club thanks to her older brother Kyle, who worked here as a lifeguard two years prior.

“I was also approached with a job offer by the pool manager at the time, Katie Clarin, who was my water polo coach,” said Hams, who greatly enjoys being able to work with the children at Egypt Valley. “I always love the fun energy that the kids bring every day to the pool. I can always rely on their out-of-pocket questions, jokes and happiness to provide me entertainment and laughs.”

Because Hams wants to work with kids in the future, she appreciates that working with a diverse set of children at EVCC is providing her with great experiences. Outside of the summer months, she attends Grand Valley State University.

“I’m currently going into my final year of the Communication Sciences and Disorders program and I’m getting ready to apply to graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology,” explained Hams, who is also observing three Speech Therapists. “One is in Michigan, and due to COVID-19, I had the opportunity to observe two Speech Therapists in Massachusetts over Zoom. They are providing me with great experiences in both the public and private sectors of the field.”

Hams, who friends would describe her as kind-hearted, dedicated and selfless, is no stranger to the pool. Her father was the head swim coach for Catholic Central High School for 28 years and she accompanied him to many of his practices throughout that time. She eventually started swimming competitively her freshman year of high school—when she joined the Rockford High School team.

“I swam on the team for four years, creating amazing friendships and finding a deeper love for the sport,” Hams said, noting her love for the water really stuck with her when she started playing water polo. “I started playing in 6th grade for the Rockford Middle School team and continued at Rockford High School and into college at Grand Valley State University. In high school, I was on the varsity team all four years and was the starting Hole Set player.”

Hams received All-State, All-Region, All-Conference and All-District awards, in addition to her team going to the State Championships every year and placing second, third, fourth and fifth.

“After high school, I became the Rockford Middle School Girls Water Polo coach while I was attending Grand Rapids Community College,” Hams said. “In my second year of college, I transferred to Grand Valley and joined their club team.”

Hams is very passionate about music—especially live music and going to concerts—though she claims to have no rhythm and barely passed her required band class in middle school.  

“My favorite concerts I have been to include Vance Joy, Post Malone, Panic at the Disco, and Hozier,” she said. “I’m very excited that concerts have started to resume and am looking forward to going to the Harry Styles concert as my first concert this year.”

Hams loves finding new music on Spotify using the “Discover Weekly” playlist that’s created based on the music genres that she listens to the most. Another favorite playlist of hers is called “My Life is a Movie,” which includes many of her favorite artists such as BORNS, The Lumineers, and Peter McPoland.

“At the pool, I’m the designated DJ during the day and typically play our ‘Egypt Valley’ Spotify playlist that is almost 15 hours long,” Hams said, explaining the playlist is robust and was originally created on an iPod Classic around 2009 and has been added to every year. “Around 2017, all of the music was transferred to the Spotify playlist, is still updated every year, and played down at the pool almost every day!”

If she could trade places with anyone for a day, Hams would choose Oprah Winfrey.

“I would like to experience her everyday life of helping others, kindness and generosity,” she said.

If you see Lindsay around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”

Northstar Admin

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