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As we move into the middle of March, it’s an exciting time of year at Egypt Valley. Our 2023 social and golf calendars have been released, the membership is starting to use the Club more and the increased temperatures and daylight are starting to clear the courses of snow and frost. The average daily temperature locally improves from 38 degrees on March 1 to 51 degrees on March 31, and we add over an hour of daylight by the end of the month. While I’m certain that winter has not eased its grip on us quite yet, spring is right around the corner and we’ll soon be playing golf and enjoying the property at EVCC.

At the conclusion of the 2022 season, we noted that although we spent most of the year with a waiting list and full at 550 playing members, we did have the typical end-of-season attrition, and that we would have the ability to accept new members early in 2023 season. I’m glad to report that many of our members provided referrals of friends and family to the Club, and we have had an excellent January and February for new member recruitment. Based on the membership growth to-date and our current backlog of potential new members, it appears that we will head into the playing season close to our cap of 550 members, if not at the limit. If you’re thinking of anyone in particular who would be a good fit for the Club, now would be the time to put them in touch with Hunter!

With our increased membership levels over the last several years, it became apparent there were some logistical challenges with how we’ve been utilizing the facilities during the peak season. One of those challenges was having on-course wedding ceremonies, most of which were held on Saturdays. After reviewing our policies, the Board has elected to make a few changes with how we handle weddings in general at the Club. First, any wedding to be held at EVCC going forward will either need to be for a member, or of a guest sponsored by a member. Second, only playing members or the child of a playing member may host their wedding ceremony on the golf course. As most weddings and receptions are planned well in advance, we do have commitments made for the 2023 season which we will honor, but going forward the new rules will apply. While these changes will ultimately reduce the number of weddings we have at the Club, they will also allow our staff to focus more on member events during the season and will not disrupt member use of the golf courses. The staff is already working on an even more comprehensive social and golf calendar in 2024 as a result!

Last month the Board approved the budget for 2023, and this will be our first full year operating under our new Operating Dues and Capital Dues structure. Our goal for 2023 is to break even from an operational standpoint and generate capital dues of $1.9MM, which will be reinvested into the Club during the season. Our three largest capital items for 2023 include a new irrigation pump house, our range and practice tee renovation (which will start in August after the conclusion of our Club Championship Week) and new on-course equipment to help the grounds maintenance staff. Hopefully in the coming weeks, we’ll have renderings of the updated range to share with the membership, as well as an outlined timeline of completion.

The capital projects we are embarking on in 2023 were all contemplated in our capital reserve study and help balance the investment necessary to catch up on our deferred maintenance, as well as begin to set the table for furthering our Golf Course Master Plan. I should note: Supply chain challenges are still continuing to make capital planning unpredictable (our recently installed generator—which took 18 months to receive—is a perfect example). However, the team is doing a great job trying to manage the process as best as possible in the interim. Should we exceed our forecast through higher than budgeted membership levels or by having less capital spend this year, we’ll be in a better place to further invest in the future based on our capital reserve study and/or dive further into the work outlined in the Master Plan.

Finally, I outlined the results of our membership-wide survey conducted in 2022 in my most recent letter. Later this month, EVCC will survey 25% of our membership on various aspects of the Club, but particularly focusing on our Food and Beverage operations. We received excellent feedback from the full survey in 2022, and these quarterly segmented membership surveys will help us provide trend lines and more direct data on ways to improve. If you receive the survey, please take the time to respond, as this information really is invaluable to the management of the Club.

Thank you all, and I look forward to seeing you at the Club!
Jasa West
As PGA Director of Instruction at Egypt Valley, John Seltzer enjoys helping members excel in their own game and improve while enjoying everything the Club has to offer. Take a moment to get to know John a bit better!

Please share a bit about your journey with golf!
I was introduced to the game at a very early age, as my dad is also a PGA member and golf professional. I played competitive golf my entire life and played collegiately at Newberry College and Eastern Michigan University. Those experiences helped me realize I wanted to help others get better and enjoy the game more. What I love most about golf is that it's a game you can never be "perfect" at and it's a game you can enjoy your whole life.

Share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey and how you ended up at the Club.
I came to Grand Rapids initially as the Director of Golf at Blythefield Country Club in late 2014. I spent five seasons there until making the decision to teach/coach full-time. During that time, I was a member of Egypt Valley and after some conversations with Mike McGonigal, I decided to join his operation in my current role.

What’s your favorite part of your role at the Club?
My favorite part about my role at the club is helping our members improve and enjoy playing the game we all like and are passionate about.

Talk a bit about your goals for the junior golf program and how you hope to expand it for the coming season.
Junior golf is going to be a large focus of mine in 2023 and beyond. We'll be offering a few more programs for juniors of all abilities and for some age groups that haven't had any programming yet. My goal for our Junior program is to create a culture of learning that's engaging, fun and makes our younger members want to play more often.

When you’re not at the Club, what could you most likely be found doing?
When I'm not at the Club, I'm spending time with my wife Amanda and chasing our two-year-old daughter Nora around.

If you see John around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
Jasa West
There never seems to be two days that are the same and there sure aren't two winters that are equal. With that being said, this winter has been nothing short of confusing. It has stayed warm and rainy when it should be cold and snowy. But the good news for golfers and the golf courses is that when the weather has warmed up, it has melted all of the snow.

Melting all of the snow prevents any chance of ice buildup on the fine turf areas. This is a big plus so we don't receive any type of ice damage to the turf. However, there are other turf concerns when the snow blanket is not covering the golf courses. Certainly, wind desiccation is a concern and so is cold temperature crow hydration. Ideally, somewhat frozen ground and snow cover across the property is the best way for the golf courses to survive the winter months.

Snow mold is a fungus that can also grow on the turf in the winter months, but is usually preventable with managed practices. We can protect the turf areas from some of the winter challenges but there are other factors that put us at the mercy of mother nature. The good news, so far this year, is that with all of the crazy weather swings, the golf courses are over-wintering extremely well. On January 28 and 29, the property received about 10 inches of snow. Now two weeks later, come February 11, we will more than likely be looking at grass again. There’s still not any measurable frost in the ground. With that scenario and not much snow pack to speak of, once the weather turns the corner, conditions can change quickly for the golf courses towards waking up from its winter slumber.

Our golf course maintenance team was moving sod to cart path edges in January and we were adding soil to the cart path edges to get ready for spring seeding. That’s a first for me in January! The bridge on No. 8 Valley has needed some major structural work this winter. The wooden barn beams have served their life and it’s time to upgrade the support structure of the bridge, which our team is working on. We will be putting in galvanized-coated steel beams. This change will last for many years and the barn beams made it over 30 years, so no one can complain about that.

Equipment purchases are still tough. It has been taking over a year to get product that has been ordered. Normally, in the past, that type of purchase would have been completed within about four months, if not immediately. As all of you know, purchases of larger items has become a project that will probably take a year or more. We are planning for a new irrigation pump station this coming November, so that process has already started. A pump station from design to completion used to take about six weeks; since COVID, it’s more like six months or longer.

Leah Connolly, the Club Horticulturalist, is moving on to a new role at Calvin University grounds. We say “goodbye” to Leah and wish her the best. She was with us just a little over a year and has done a great job for us. We are going to miss having her on our team!

The ground hog says six more weeks of winter, but what does he really know? If it warms up, we may be playing golf come mid-March. I will make a full prediction in mid-May.

Enjoy what is left of winter and we will see you on the courses soon!
Jasa West
Members of the Smiggen family, who joined the Club in 2012, have no shortage of hobbies, including golfing and spending time at Egypt Valley.

Born and raised in Owosso, Patrick graduated from Michigan State University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. He is a partner and vice-president of sales and marketing at Hart Enterprises, a contract medical device manufacturer located in Sparta. Rebecca, who was born and raised in Grand Rapids and has taught biology at Lowell High School for 27 years, graduated from Hillsdale College and earned her master’s degree in education from Grand Valley State University.

The couple, who met through E-Harmony, have had golf in their lives for many years, with both having been introduced to the game by their fathers while growing up.

“My father introduced me to the game at age six, as our family were members at Owosso Country Club,” Patrick said. “My older brother, Michael, already had an interest in golf and going to junior golf with him and trying to earn stickers on the Winner's Mark plaque was a big motivation at a young age.”

Patrick and his brother eventually started biking three miles to the Club every day, with Patrick securing his first job there by picking up range balls by hand that went into the ditch along the road or into the trees.

“The Club was my de facto summer home, as was either working or playing all the way through high school,” said Patrick, who played on the varsity golf team at Owosso for four years. “As everyone in my family played, there were few get togethers that did not include some or all of us playing a round of golf wherever we gathered.”

While growing up, Rebecca and her family belonged to Blythefield Country Club, a place where she fondly remembers spending weekend afternoons learning the game.

“We would spend hours on the range and then go play nine holes,” Rebecca recalled, noting her father was a very patient teacher and provided her with a solid golf foundation “I played high school golf at Catholic Central High School. Upon being hired at Lowell High School to teach biology, I was also asked by current Egypt Valley member (and science department colleague) Rick White to be his Junior Varsity Girls Golf coach at Lowell High School. Eight years later—and upon Rick's retirement—I coached the Varsity Girls Golf team for three years.”

The main passions of the pair’s daughter, Charlotte, are skiing and playing the clarinet in her high school band, though she did participate in junior golf, as well as the swim team when she was younger. She can be found occasionally hitting golf balls on the range, playing a few holes or relaxing by the pool with friends.

At the Club and out on the courses, the Smiggen family has certainly found success, with Rebecca having won the first flight of the Women's Club Championship four times and being paired with Gayle Belsito to win the Ladies Member-Member in 2018. Pat has recorded two double eagles at the Club (No. 1 and No. 8 Valley) during Thursday Men's League play. Together, Patrick and Rebecca are also a force, having won the Couples Championship for five consecutive years. The couple says that having 36 holes to golf with at the Club is a tremendous asset and the biggest reason they joined the Club.

“The four courses (when you add the Classic and Challenge courses) are different enough where you neither get comfortable nor bored playing them every day,” Patrick said. “The undulating lines across the golf course make every shot interesting and the sloping greens put a premium on hitting the green in the right spot.”

With her interest in nature and science, Rebecca also enjoys all of the wildlife found on the property. When they’re not golfing, the family enjoys the addition of the pickleball courts, noting that the pool is also always a favorite place to relax on a sunny day.

During the winter, the Smiggen family spends most of their time downhill skiing. Charlotte races for Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, so the family skis wherever Charlotte races, but Crystal Mountain is a favorite, as that’s where both Rebecca and Charlotte learned to ski.

“With Michigan's unpredictable winter snowfall, a trip to Colorado or Utah helps get us through the winter,” Patrick said, adding the family’s frequent use of the Club’s golf simulator during the winter. “Hiking and taking in nature during the warmer months is a nice break. Whether it’s in Michigan or a national park, there is just so much beauty to see.”

For the Smiggen family, the people and relationships formed at Egypt Valley—ranging from other members to staff—are what make the Club so special.

“The staff works very hard to make it a welcoming place for the members, and through all of the varied activities and events Egypt Valley offers, we have been able to enjoy a lot of family fun,” Patrick said. “We have also developed so many friendships with a lot of different people. Rebecca really enjoys the opportunity to meet and play with different women every week in Women's League.”

The couple enjoys that the Club is a place that can be enjoyed year-round and not just in the summer months.

“The golfing events are fantastic, but the ability to have family and extended family come for Club events such as Mother's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving or the Santa Brunches are great memories we have as a family,” Patrick said.

Something other members may not know about the Smiggens is that the entire family all have peanut allergies, and that during her single days in the early ‘00s, Rebecca worked as a starter at Egypt Valley for several years.

If you see the Smiggen family around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
Jasa West
Welcome to another session of Connect with Kyle! Unfortunately, my voice is not reacting well to a small cold at this time, therefore I am sending this update to you in written form.

Let me first say Happy New Year! We hope each of you had a wonderful and safe holiday season and we are looking forward to seeing each of you in the coming weeks. Our employees have been diligently preparing for the upcoming season over the last few weeks and also taking this time to perform annual maintenance to several areas at the Club. For those of you who are new to the Club, this annual maintenance includes items such as carpet and tile cleaning, small repairs to furniture and fixtures, kitchen cleaning, food storage organization and cleaning, trim and door painting, ventilation cleaning, suggested health department upgrades, and several other small projects that would normally disrupt your member experience. We always appreciate having this time to reset in the clubhouse for the coming season and appreciate your patience.

Please note that we will be reopening the dining room on Wednesday, February 1. We will be open for lunch and dinner service during the month of February on Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. We hope that you are looking forward to being back in the clubhouse as much as we are and look forward to having a full dining room again in the near future.

On Monday, January 23, our employees will be coming together as a group to celebrate the holiday season with our Annual Employee Holiday Party. We look forward to recognizing our employees who are celebrating service awards, enjoying a great meal with each other, and sending our employees home with some small tokens of appreciation.

Each year at this event, we ensure that each employee who attends is given a raffle gift to take home. Traditionally, these gifts have been gift cards to local retail stores that our team goes out to purchase. We wanted to try something new this year to better connect our members with this event and open an invitation to the membership at large to donate raffle gifts for our Employee Holiday Party. Realizing that many of you might own a business, have event tickets, or have gift cards to local restaurants, I would like to ask if you would like to donate an item to our Employee Holiday Party raffle prizes. If interested in donating to this event, please drop them off at the administrative office, email them to [email protected], or give us a call to let us know what item(s) you would like to donate by Sunday, January 22. Again, our goal is to provide something for each employee who attends but we only ask you to donate if interested.

Lastly, I wanted to provide you with a brief update on our membership levels. Following the end of the calendar year, we no longer have a waitlist to join the Club as a playing member and now have a few spaces available. If you have a friend, neighbor, colleague, or family member who has been considering joining EVCC as a playing member, this is a great time to apply. We love growing our membership family through the relationships of our current members. Please give us a call, send us an email, or stop by to introduce us to them.

Other than that, I hope you are all doing well and we look forward to seeing you at the Club soon.
Jasa West
Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2023, and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season spent with family and friends. At Egypt Valley, we were able host many festive events celebrating the season and it really is a great time to reflect and be thankful for everything accomplished in 2022. Although we are in the short, cold days of winter now, the days are starting to get a little longer and we know that another spring season will eventually come. Before the Club gets fully into preparation mode in the next few months, I wanted to take this opportunity to share the results of the recent Membership Survey we conducted. 
The Board and Club Management desire to provide the best experience for the membership possible, and we determined last year that the best way to allocate resources and make decisions is through having good, up-to-date information on how we are performing. The thought process was to survey the entire membership in all areas of the Club’s performance and establish a baseline “Net Promoter Score” for each area of the Club. Our intent going forward is to survey 25% of the membership each quarter so as to monitor feedback often, without being overbearing to the membership with seemingly constant survey requests. Since it will effectively be one survey annually for each member, please take the time to thoughtfully respond to the surveys, as they will absolutely impact how the Club allocates capital and makes operating decisions.
For the 2022 survey results, we had 278 responses, which our consulting teams tell us is a very good response rate. The results indicate that the Members are happy with the overall club experience and would recommend being a member to friends and family. Particularly encouraging, the members rating of the golf experience at EVCC was exceptionally high. Members also had high praise for the Junior Sports experience, with the biggest opportunity for improvement being avoiding scheduling conflicts between activities. Our improved pool facility received high marks, with the average member rating the pool experience 8 out 10 and our tennis and pickleball experience were graded nearly as high. Finally, our members on average rated their likeliness to recommend dining at EVCC relatively high, particularly due to the convenience of booking reservations by the new app, but the survey did provide significant feedback on how we can improve the dining experience, as well as other key areas of the Club, which are summarized below in order of impact:
Dining Experience: More dining options and more regular changes to the menu, as well as focus on consistency of product.
Pool Experience: Consistent cleanliness standards for pool deck, furniture and bathrooms, as well as the potential for more diverse food options.
Golf Experience: Consistent service training across all employees and cleanliness of carts and clubs.
Grounds/Facilities: The most common constructive feedback for improvement were for improvements to the practice area and bunkers.
Social Events: More social event offerings. Existing social events are well received, additional events and smaller options would be welcomed.
Overall, the survey proved that we have a very engaged membership who takes great pride in the EVCC experience, and it provided us with excellent feedback on focus areas to improve that experience. Club management has already begun making some changes based on this feedback, and the budgeting process for 2023 and beyond is under way and similarly taking the feedback into account as we allocate resources. Thank you all for taking the time to complete the survey, and I hope you will continue to do so when you receive the follow up later this year. Providing the best member experience possible is our goal, and getting your opinions is helping to do just that!
Thank you again, and I wish you all a healthy and happy 2023!
Jasa West
It has been another amazing golf season at EVCC! The weather throughout the golfing season was very accommodating, for the most part, which allowed for many good days of golf. The membership was full and the courses were in great shape. Hopefully you found time to be with your family and friends playing some incredible golf.

With snow on the ground, our staff is now finishing up some outdoor work around the shop maintenance area. This time spent organizing equipment and supplies makes for better working conditions when we need to use a piece of equipment or find products needed for a job. Our team just finished some irrigation repairs, storm water basins repairs and some debris cleanup around the golf courses before the snow hit us. Oh, we were also repairing some bridges that need new boards.

After the holidays, if the courses are snow covered, we will start our tree work for the winter. We have some dead trees throughout the property to be removed and several have fallen on our perimeter fencing that surrounds the property. We also have a few trees that need to be removed per our master plan. So, the team will be busy outside and we will also have a group working indoors getting our equipment ready to go for spring.

Please remember: If you are going to use the property in the winter for walking, skiing, sledding or snowshoeing, do not go on the greens. Always use the area to the side of the greens, tees and fairways. There is plenty of area to use without being on the critical golf playing areas. Have fun but be mindful of the turf being healthy for the golf season. When the oxygen gets compressed out of the snow and is packed to the ground, it can actually smother the turf underneath the snow pack. When snow conditions are in a packable state and it is walked on, there can be serious damage to the turf come spring time. Please do your sledding from the driving range hill; we will help make some sledding runs in that area. Have fun and be safe.

Per the Member Code of Conduct
, under the House Committee area, it states that there’s to be “no pets on club property.” I'm sharing this because it applies to the off season, as well as during the season. Please be a good supporter of the Club.

Happy Holidays to everyone and bless your hearts for contributing to the employee holiday fund. This bonus to the employees goes a long way in showing how much the members do care about the staff. Thank you for helping to make our employees holiday special.

It has been an awesome 2022 and we’re looking forward to a blessed 2023. I don't really like how fast they are flying by, but the ride is fun. Thank you for Egypt Valley Country Club. The membership, staff and guest are wonderful to be around. Thank You!

Happy Holidays!
Jasa West
Landon McIntosh, Assistant Golf Professional at Egypt Valley, has spent almost a decade with the Club, having joined the team in 2013.

When he’s away from the links, he enjoys spending time with his wife Jessica, hunting, fishing and indulging in basketball, baseball and football. Landon looks forward to making sure that every member has more fun, with more friends, playing better golf, more often.

Take a moment to get to know a bit more about Landon!

Talk about your journey with golf. What got you started in the sport and why do you still love it today?

When I was around 7 years old, my dad took me golfing. Ever since then, I have been hooked. I love the game of golf because each round brings new challenges. Doesn’t matter how many times you have played the course, you will have a new experience.

How about your journey to Egypt Valley? How did you end up at the Club?

I was an Assistant Golf Professional in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at the time a position opened at Egypt Valley. Since my wife and I both grew up in Ludington, we were looking to move back to West Michigan. It just so happened that we were planning our wedding in Ludington from Myrtle Beach that same year. So, the choice was very easy for me to accept the job when it was offered and move back to Michigan.

What’s your favorite part of your job at Egypt Valley?

The best part about my job is getting to know the members. There are so many great people here at Egypt Valley. They really do make you feel appreciated for your hard work. Another perk is getting to play the tremendous golf courses.

Any advice for members who are looking to improve their golf game for 2023?

One piece of advice I would give to someone looking to improve, is master the art of aiming. One thing that I see a lot in lessons, is people have trouble aiming correctly. I see a lot of people aim their body at the target and not the ball. You want to think of train tracks when aiming. The ball will be on one track that is leading to your target and your body will be on the other track that is left of your target. For a right-handed golfer, this is what we call parallel left.

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

Something that someone might be surprised to learn about me is that I love to hunt deer. So, once October comes, you can find me in the woods any chance I get.
Jasa West
Included among the many passionate golfers at Egypt Valley are a variety of talented young women golfers who are excelling in the sport both inside and outside of the Club. Take a moment to get to know a bit more about some of them and their accomplishments at their various high schools and tournaments!

For Natalie Kent, golf was something she became interested in thanks to her father, friends and family connections. Kent explains her greatest accomplishment this season was “making my Varsity golf team as the only freshmen and having an opportunity to go to states as an individual.”

Kent, who tied for eighth place at Regionals, says she looks forward to continuing to conquer the mental challenges golf brings while also continuing to learn how to handle stressful situations in a way that produces a positive outcome.

Ava Wisinski comes from a family of golf professionals, including her great grandpa, grandpa and uncle. Ava’s many accomplishments include placing at the GAM Junior State Amateur - 15 & Under Division (Stroke Play – fourth place out of 31; shot 74-76, Matchplay - state runner up); the Meijer Callaway Tour Player of the Year Race - 16-18 Division (seventh place out of 108); and the State Ranking for Division 3 - 18 holes (fourth out of 531 - 73.7 average).

Beyond high school play, Ava hopes to continue her golf journey well into the future.

“I aspire to play college golf and then hopefully stay in the golf industry after college,” Ava said.

Senior Mackenzie Davidson first became interested in golf following after her mother, Kelli, who golfed in high school and college, and was a previous member at Egypt Valley.

“I would follow her to the range and would take part in her junior clinics that she would put on,” Davidson said. “I loved being outside on the course and being a part of the game excited me.”

This season, Davidson and her team at Rockford were All Conference Champions, as well as undefeated in the conference for the fourth year in a row.

“We then went onto regionals and won for the third consecutive year by 30 strokes at the Meadows at Grand Valley, also qualifying as a team for Division 1 State Finals at Bedford Valley,” Davidson said. “I placed top 10 in almost every high school conference tournament I played in, as well as top 10 at regionals. We had a pretty good team showing at state on two very tough weather days.”

Shortly after state finals, Davidson committed to play golf at Lake Superior State University.

“I aspire to be the best I can be on the course, I try and keep a positive attitude and be a strong and competitive team player,” she said. “I can’t wait for my next four years as a Laker!”

As a freshman, Bella Chiodini tried out for the golf team without ever playing 18 holes. At the time, she was most often found spending her summer on the tennis courts or in the pool with friends (golf was usually last on her list of activities). And while golf initially was something enjoyed more so by her mother and father, the family would golf together on occasion. Bella decided to try out for the golf team as a way to a have a sport to play in the fall, stay in shape and meet new friends.

Now as a junior, Bella enjoys the sport and all that comes along with it. Her proudest accomplishment this year include receiving the Hawk Award from Coach T, in addition to earning an All Conference Honorable Mention. She also earned All State Academic and managed to shoot an 88, shave six strokes off her game, outdrive her mom and had several almost-hole-in-ones.

Freshman Stella Bernhardt got her first set of clubs in second grade she and her family lived on a golf course in Nashville, Tennessee for a year. Since moving to Grand Rapids, Bernhardt has enjoyed growing her skills at Egypt Valley.

“The junior golf clinics, Junior PGA programs, playing with my friends, and family Sunday play at Egypt Valley got me out playing more,” Stella said. “John and the other pros started working on my swing on a regular basis around fifth grade, and I saw huge improvements. From there, I got competitive with the game and wanted to improve each year. I started by doing a few tournaments in the West Michigan Junior Golf Tour, eventually doing the full tour and then moving onto the Meijer Callaway Junior Golf Tour. This past year, I enjoyed also trying out the Hurricane Tour and GAM events.”

Stella’s best round this high school season was an 82 at Quail Ridge for the Ernie Popiel Memorial Invitational with a fifth-place finish.

“I received All Conference Honorable Mention for the OK Gold Conference, finished the season as the number two scoring average for our Varsity team, and earned my Varsity letter,” Stella said. “As a team, we earned All State Academic honors for Division III, placed third in the OK Gold Conference, and placed fourth at Regionals. I also placed second overall for the Meijer Callaway Junior Tour Series in the Girls 13-15 Division, qualified for all end-of-season invitationals, and qualified for the GAM Junior Invitational.”

After a fun summer and fall season, Stella looks forward to starting her training program back up in January.

“For the remainder of my high school career, I’d like to consistently place in the top five for both league and invitational matches, as well as consistently be a contender at State,” Stella said. “My long-term goal is to work hard and get consistent enough to play Division I or II golf.”

Sisters Hannah and Sophia Flickinger have always been surrounded by golf. The pair would tag along with their father for a round, often not even playing, just enjoying the cart ride.

“Learning to play golf was a long process,” said Hannah, a sophomore. “My dad would often remind me that golf is a game of patience and appreciation, which has shaped my game immensely today. One year, my parents took my siblings and I to an LPGA event. Watching the professionals in person for the first time was an experience I will never forget. I viewed the players as such role models, and I aspired to be as hard-working as them. Every year since, my family attended this event, and it has gotten no less fascinating.”

Sophia, now a senior, started golfing seriously during her freshman year.

“My main sport was always basketball but after a knee injury, I was unable to play,” Sophia said. “I started taking lessons at EVCC with John Forton the summer before freshman year. Over the past four years, he has helped me get rid of bad habits, develop good ones and has been a tremendous help in developing my swing.”

Hannah also has benefitted from lessons with John.

“Once my interest sparked, I began taking lessons at Egypt Valley with Mr. Forton, and still four years later, I continue to take lessons with him,” Hannah said. “He’s worked wonders on my game, and taught me so much about the game. I couldn’t thank him enough for the amount of time and patience he’s had with me. Through Egypt Valley, I’ve had amazing opportunities to meet the best coaches.”

Sophia and Hannah and the rest of the Lowell girl’s golf team had a successful season, breaking many school records.

“Our biggest aspiration heading into the season was qualifying for the State Championships as a team. Last year, we fell only a few strokes short of qualifying, and this year we were absolutely determined to make it. The hard work proved to pay off, as we took first place at Regionals, shooting a 360,” Hannah said. “Our team is the very first group in the history of Lowell Girl’s Golf to earn the title of Regional Champions, and we couldn’t be more excited. Along with our success at Regionals, five Lowell players were recognized at the conference tournament for All Conference and All Conference Honorable Mention.

“Being recognized for All Conference Honorable Mention was a huge accomplishment for me, and having 4 of my teammates alongside me made the recognition even better. My coach, Mr. Bruwer has supported this team and been the best we could ever ask for.”

Sophia noted that their coach and team decided it was important to play every girl on their roster at least once while competing in the State competition.

“No other team did this, but it was so cool to have the entire team be a part of that life changing experience,” Sophia said. “I received Academic Honorable Mention as an individual, and our team was nominated for Academic All State. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my high school golf career.”

Hannah believes that being raised around the sport has taught her to appreciate the bits of relaxation and escape golf can bring, along with seeing what dedication and hard work can accomplish.

“Whether it be collegiately or just for fun, golf is a game I will never quit,” Hannah said. “It has taught me so much about myself and I’ve met so many amazing people throughout my experiences. My coaches are of my most valued role models, and I can never stop thanking them for all that they’ve done for me. Come the next few years, I’m determined to repeat the successes of the season of 2022, and I cannot wait to see what the future will bring.”
Jasa West
We’ve arrived upon the time of year where many of us put up the golf clubs for the season, but we can certainly be thankful for the beautiful fall weather we have had this year. It is incredibly rare to see golf being played well into November—and some of it in 60- and 70-degree weather.

As I write this, it does seem though that the colder weather is settling in for the season, and the golf courses will soon be closed and allowed to rest until spring. Although golf season may be coming to an end, there is no shortage of things to do at Egypt Valley through the end of the year. We have a Fall Wine Dinner on November 19, our Annual Lighting of the Tree on November 22, Thanksgiving Brunch on November 24, the Holiday Open House on December 2, and of course, Santa’s Gingerbread House Brunch on December 11 and 18, as well as the New Year’s Eve Celebration.
When reflecting upon the season, we do need to be thankful for the support of all of the members over the last year. We have accomplished a lot in the way of capital projects and member events, and are set up for long term success because of the commitment from our members. We head into the 2023 season with 539 playing members, just under our cap of 550 that we held at for most of 2022 and 2021. It is typical for our membership to dip slightly at the end of the season, and then rebuild in the spring.

We are continuing with other projects into 2023 that will be impactful for the Club, including the new Valley Patio project and a range renovation, among others. Our goal is to use the survey results to continually refine our operations and focus on the areas of the Club that members believe are most impactful.
Finally, we are thankful for all of the committee members who donate their time and talent to Egypt Valley. Our committees provide valuable feedback and guidance for the board and management of the Club. We are starting to fill out rosters for 2023 committees and are always looking for more representation. If you are interested in volunteering, please see Kyle or a board member for more information. 
Thank you all for another great year at Egypt Valley, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Jasa West
The fall colors this season are the best we’ve seen in the past several years. What a beautiful property that everyone gets to enjoy! We have witnessed it before, but people who are not members actually pull into the front entrance and take pictures of the beautiful colors on Ridge No. 7 (those are maple trees that line the left side of the hole and are beautiful every year).

The grounds staff have been busy trying to finish up aerifying tees and fairways on both courses. It will be a continuous process, probably until the snow flies. As you all know, it becomes difficult to golf at Egypt Valley once the leaves start dropping. Our team will be working hard to try and keep up on the leaf clean up, but it’s pretty much impossible for a short time period when they are dropping continuously. As play continues to slow down, we may only have one course open each day so we can concentrate our efforts on one course and make it more playable for everyone.

Tee markers will be removed near the end of the month, so when you play, please move the wear around by teeing off from different areas. Don't always line up at the GAM markers; you can go forward and move back behind them, mix up the yardage. Ball mark repair and divot repair always become more relaxed in the fall, but it should not. The recovery time due to the cold weather is slow, so if repaired, the ball marks and divots can heal up before we hit spring golf again. What players do to the course in late fall can show in the spring, if not cared for properly, which is no different than our team trying to complete many processes in the fall to prepare for a successful spring start up.

We are trying to get some more of the cart path edges finished up before the snow stops us. We have quite a bit of path removal area to work on for No. 12 Ridge, a little bit left on No. 13 Ridge and then all of No. 16 Ridge. There is also some repair to finish on the Valley course, but the scope of the repair is smaller. Needless to say, we will be working on finishing the cart path work in the spring, as there’s too much to complete this fall with all the other work we have going on. Drier weather is also a huge plus for being more efficient and causing less damage to the course. When golfing, please cross the seeded areas at a perpendicular traffic pass. Do not drive down the seeded straw areas!

Our team is going to start spraying the tees and fairways the first and second week of November. This treatment is to prevent winter fungus—snow mold— from growing on the play areas. There are three different varieties of snow mold that can attack the turf, if not treated. Greens will be treated a little later in the month. Once we treat, we don’t mow the treated areas again until next spring. We will also be in the process of applying our final fertilizer for the season on greens, tees, fairways and the mowed rough.

The irrigation system will be winterized starting November 10 and 11. If the weather is favorable for golf, just be aware that if you are playing and the sprinkler heads are running, they are going to proceed down the fairway in order toward the green complex. The air compressor to be used was secured back in August for this process, so there is no changing the dates for winterizing the property.

Continue to enjoy this great fall and let's get some more golf in yet this season!
Jasa West
Kevin Vulpetti feels right at home on the golf course, though it’s not necessarily always for golfing. As EVCC’s Assistant Superintendent, Vulpetti assists with maintaining care of the courses, equipment and supervision of employees. Take a moment to get to know him a bit better!

Share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey and how you ended up in the role you’re in!

With four seasons of grounds crew work at Cascade Hills Country Club, my experience landed me this opportunity and a chance to step up into a leadership role for Egypt Valley.

What’s your favorite part of your job at Egypt Valley?

My favorite part about the job is being able to meet and make relationships with members and employees, as well as being able to be outside and enjoy the nice Michigan summer weather.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Something that may surprise people is the fact I have worked on a golf course more than I have been playing.

When not working at the Club, what are you most likely to be found enjoying?

When I'm not working at Egypt Valley, I am hanging out with my friends and family, as well as playing and training my new puppy Leo. Hunting and fishing are also something I enjoy doing when I have the time.

If you see Kevin around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
Jasa West
As the season begins to wind down, it is important to update our membership on many of the good things that have happened at Egypt Valley this year. I hope everyone reading this will be able to join us today (Monday, September 26) at the annual meeting for a full update on the season and our plans for the future. Please allow me to provide a few brief comments here for those who can’t make it tonight.

From a membership standpoint, the Club remains at capacity with eight playing members on the waitlist. We are in a strong financial position and are on budget with our 2022 forecast. As we prepare for the 2023 season, we are financially in a position to continue updating and improving the property, even after the $4.4M of capital improvements we invested in 2022. For the balance of the year, we expect to do more cart path work, as well as install the new full facility generator in October and embark on a small project overlooking 18 Valley green to be known as Valley Vista. Look for more information on this exciting new project in the coming weeks!

During 2022, we have already had over 34,000 rounds golf played and hosted 4,800 guests to the property during our 28 outings. Many of these outings have generated significant income for important charitable foundations in our community. The Club’s goal was to accomplish all of this while also continuing to improve the day-to-day member experience, and in my opinion, we have succeeded in that endeavor in 2022.

We have had very good feedback on our food and beverage operations, our improved pool facilities have been very well received, junior activities have never been better attended, and of course, the golf courses have been in great shape all year. We owe a sincere gratitude to the staff who have worked so hard this year to accomplish all that we have. With all of our seasonal employees, we are now operating the Club with 13 total golf course maintenance staff for the two courses, nine full-time restaurant front of house employees, and we are down from 33 pro shop team members to eight, with only one morning outside service staff member. Needless to say, handling the highest volumes we’ve ever had can be quite the challenge at the end of the year!

One of the areas that our staff has spent more time on recently is rule enforcement. Golf is a game of integrity, respect for your playing companions and respect of the golf course. The rules we have at EVCC are designed with the game of golf in mind and respect for our fellow members. The staff have the sometimes-unenviable task of enforcing the rules that we—the members—have set, and I am sure you can all imagine that it’s not fun. Because the staff is enforcing the members’ rules, disrespect to the staff is the same as disrespect to your fellow members and this will not be tolerated at Egypt Valley. The Board has explicitly asked the staff to enforce the rules of the Club, as they were designed with our overall membership experience in mind. Therefore, please do not be surprised if a staff member politely asks for our dress code to be followed to be able to use the golf course or clubhouse facilities, or if a tee starter requires a group to wait for their reserved time before teeing off.

Obviously, we all should know that if the course is closed, it’s closed for a reason and is closed to all members. And of course, destruction to property, our facilities or carts may merit suspension or worse from being a member of Egypt Valley. Although this seems obvious, it does need to be communicated clearly to all so there is no question of when, why or if a rule will be enforced.

Like many others, I have friends that belong to other country clubs in the area, and of course they have pride in their facilities and community, but they don’t have what we have here at Egypt Valley. We have a wonderful community of members who are all here to enjoy the facilities and camaraderie of belonging to a private club and a team of staff who want to support that.

If you have taken the time to open this message and read to the end, I know that you also have great pride in being here at Egypt Valley—I thank you for that. Our team has dedicated their professional careers to being in a service industry; they do this because it gives them satisfaction to see our members enjoy being at the Club and we cannot take their efforts for granted!

Thank you all and I look forward to seeing you at the Club!
Jasa West
Here we go saying “goodbye” to another wonderful summer, as September 22 welcomes the official beginning of fall. But don't be too sad! The weather forecasters are saying temperatures are projected to be above normal all the way into October—and they are always correct.

Reflecting back on the summer and the past few years, I’ve a few thoughts to share about this wonderful piece of property called Egypt Valley Country Club and the people who visit. Many beautiful sunrises and sunsets are viewed throughout the summer and fall months. Amazing views, actually!

Across the property, it takes lots of time to care for this land—roughly 27,000 hours for the golf courses and grounds per year, to be exact. And while we are quite busy, we try hard to instill a “take pride in your work” attitude to our employees. It’s a real slap in the face to our team when we see divots being taken out of the greens and golf carts doing donuts, along with skid marks. We’ve had carts try to drive across the walk path bridges, carts driving through bunkers, across greens and tees, as well. Most of the cart trouble is happening in the evening hours but the divots happen during the day. We need your help to stop this kind of activity. If you see divots in the greens, please report it to the Pro Shop. Same with inappropriate cart usage; we can then back track the tee sheet to try and eliminate this type of activity.

I’ve also been pondering the people of Egypt Valley—members, guests, employees, vendors, contractors … anyone who enjoys this property or contributes to its success. There are numerous members who go above and beyond to give back to the Club in one way or another, whether it’s serving on a committee, offering their talents to solve problems and share ideas, offering equipment to complete a job, or serving on the Board of Directors. The list is endless and many have helped in countless ways over the years! I'm sure we will continue to see this kind of good continue into the future. It warms my heart when I watch this happen and it’s part of what makes this a great club. The same thing happens with many employees, vendors and contractors. This property would not be what it is without good, caring people. The more we share this type of attitude, the better off we all are.

So, thank you to all the members who step up to the plate for Egypt Valley! You are special people who help make the wheels turn. Thank you also to the employees who are behind the amenities and creation of that special feeling members and guests enjoy at Egypt Valley. Certainly, vendor and contractor support are also needed to help us succeed, so thank you to those people, as well. Please take some time to say “Thank you!” to the employees who make your experience great. Many activities happen behind the scenes before your experience is complete.

Our member standouts for this quarter are Dr. Moleski and Mr. Nisbett! They’ve offered their time to come in and help dress divots in the fairways. This comes at a much-needed time for our department, seeing as we’re shorthanded and welcome the help to accomplish all of the task at hand. Thank you, gentlemen!

Continue to golf and enjoy this wonderful club you’re a part of through the remainder of the fall months. There’s still a lot of golf to be had!
Kasie Smith
A long-time Egypt Valley team member, Francois Jayen takes pride in his role as Culinary Team Cook at the Club. If you’ve dined at Egypt Valley and tried the clam chowder or cream of tomato soup, you know just how talented Francois is! Keep reading to learn more about Francois.

Please share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey and how you ended up where you are today.

I began working at Egypt Valley in 1998 and have been a part of our culinary team ever since. I was born and raised in France and attended culinary school there, too. I moved to the United States in 1986 when I was working for a French hotel company. They had a restaurant in Florida and it seemed like a great opportunity to travel and experience something new. I ultimately found my way to Grand Rapids and was working for a restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids when a position opened up at Egypt Valley.

Where does your culinary passion come from and how did you learn the skills you have today?

Growing up, I would cook with my mom—she was a great cook—and that’s really where my passion for cooking started. When I got older, I attended culinary school in France and have been working in the culinary industry ever since.

Your soups are particularly popular at the Club (specifically the clam chowder). Share a bit about what goes into creating a spectacular soup recipe!

A lot of time and preparation! Prepping the ingredients takes quite a bit of time—dicing, mincing, and chopping the vegetables and meats can sometimes take an hour and a half since I make about five gallons of soup at a time for each soup. I started cooking the soups several years ago and created the clam chowder recipe more than 10 years ago. I’m hesitant to change that recipe because it has consistently been a Club favorite. The cream of tomato is another flavor that I enjoy cooking because it’s a favorite in the Valley Room.

What's your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job right now is working in the mornings so I can spend extra time preparing and cooking the soups and other dishes. I used to work later in the day and late at night when the kitchen is a very fast-paced environment. After working in several different positions in the kitchen, I like that I can help out the culinary team where needed, but also be able to slow down in the mornings and take extra care preparing ingredients for the dishes on the menu.

Is there anything special members could look forward to enjoying in the dining room this fall?

Head Chef Ben Stinson and Executive Sous Chef Ben Kingsley spend a lot of time and care creating a menu full of dishes for our members to enjoy. I’m excited to see what recipes they’ll include on the menu this fall, but I know members can look forward to some really great seasonal flavors.

When you're not at the Club, what are some hobbies you're likely to be enjoying?

When I’m not at the Club, I enjoy watching movies and spending time with my family—I have five-year-old twin grandsons that always keep me laughing!
Kasie Smith
It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter, the nights a little cooler and the kids are already back in school. We certainly have noticed a difference at the Club in the last few weeks with less junior activity and over 100 seasonal employees saying their goodbyes and going back to school.

In talking with the various committees, the feedback on the staff service levels have been excellent this year. For the first time in several years, our staffing levels were nearly full in all areas of the Club and the team leaders were able to focus on training and effectively running the departments. The management team at the Club has met with all seasonal employees and have discussed options for the 2023 season; our hope is to bring as many of the staff back to the Club as possible to keep continuity with the members. With so many staff members being high school or college aged young adults, many will apply for the Egypt Valley Scholarship. If you haven’t yet seen the communication from the Club on the Egypt Valley Scholarship Foundation, please look for it in the coming days and consider supporting this worthwhile cause!

With the coming of fall, we start to look at all of the things that need to happen to keep the property and membership strong. Not only do we aerate the courses, we begin many other maintenance projects around the grounds and clubhouse. All of the members that have been able to golf during the last few weeks have noticed the cart path replacement project. We invested over $125,000 in cart path maintenance this year and have further cart path upgrades budgeted for the coming years that fit in with the Golf Course Master Plan. Our Greens and Finance Committees have been tasked with making recommendations to the Board for further capital projects over the next year and we expect to possibly see some of that work start as early as this fall. Our dues structure transition to operating dues and capital dues—combined with the capital planning tool developed by Management and Club Benchmarking—should give us the blueprint to upgrade or replace the highest impact areas of the property in the coming years.

As it relates to membership levels, Hunter Stringfellow and the team have continued their good work of showing prospective members all that Egypt Valley has to offer. We continue to maintain full membership levels and currently have 11 applicants on the waiting list for playing membership, and other prospective members interested in joining the waitlist. We have received very positive feedback from the membership at large this year, and while we always have some turnover at the end of the year, we are expecting a very steady membership base heading into 2023.

On September 26, we will have our annual meeting of the membership at the Club, where we will discuss various departmental updates. You have likely already received notices of the nominations for the Board of Directors, as well as a proxy vote to return to the Club if you can’t attend in person. While I encourage all members to attend the annual meeting in person if possible, please submit your proxy vote if you are unable to attend. It’s imperative that we get enough representation from the members to have a quorum and conduct the Club’s business.

Finally, a few “thank-yous” are in order. First, thank you to the Nominating Committee of Katy Lewis, Mark Mossing, Kasie Smith, Joe Amaya and Paul Flynn for their time and dedication of vetting potential board members. It’s not easy to vet members and recruit them to the board role, but it’s critical to our long-term success.

Second, thank you to Troy Schrock for agreeing to run for the open board position. For those who don’t know, Troy has been a member for over 20 years, and has spent nearly 10 years on the House Committee; his skills and knowledge will be very helpful in guiding the Club forward.

Lastly, we all have to thank Mike McGivney for his six years on the board, including several years as Vice President and Secretary. Mike’s love for Egypt Valley and concern for the member experience and making this Club the best place it can be is evident from the first time talking with Mike. While he is looking forward to being “just a guy” at the Club going forward after retiring from the board, if you see him please tell him “thank you” for everything he has done to make Egypt Valley the special place that it is.

Justin Karl
Club President
Sophia Schulte
Well, we did it. Egypt Valley invested in some more asphalt.

More cart paths have been paved and we are also removing some paths and returning them to grass. On the Valley course No. 8, you’ll notice some new sections of path and we are grassing the area that did not get paved on No. 8.

If you travel to No. 14 tee box, you’ll see the area back by the tees has been paved up towards the bridge. Wow, what a nice improvement. We need to dress in the edges yet on all of the paved areas, but you can already see and feel the difference when traveling the new paths. Drink sales may go down due to less spilling, credit to smoother cart paths. Behind the No. 11 green also received some new blacktop, but this was not in the original plan. It broke apart from all of the truck traffic while getting to the other areas.

Moving to No. 15 Valley, we paved from the bridge all the way to the fairway bunker on No. 17, providing much better traveling through No. 15 to 16 and 17. There’s such a nice cart path on No.16, perhaps more carts will stay on the path when playing the par three. Just a thought, but certainly all four cart tires can stay on the path at the tee and green complexes. Also newly paved is the right side of No. 17 green. We did slightly shorten the overall length of this path due to the fact that it was not needed.

Moving to the Ridge course, we paved around No. 12 green on the left and right side. The path that runs from the forward tee to the green did get ground up and we are hoping to level all of this and return it to grass. So, on No. 12, we’ll have a cart path at the green and tee area but nothing running along the tree line. Players mainly travel the fairway, which can also be used by our maintenance workers and beverage carts, in addition to the rough. No more black marks on your golf balls when playing No. 12 Ridge! If all goes well this fall, we hope to remove part of the path on the right side of No. 11 and will just shorten it up and get rid of some of the crumbling path.

There will also be an overlay of paving done on the path by the tennis courts going up the hill to the Valley halfway house, as this area experienced some roughing up during the construction phase.

Many, many thanks to the members who helped support our grounds staff with a great luncheon and some kind generosity. On August 1, we had a cookout for our staff that was cooked and supported by several of our members. What a great day! We had burgers, chicken, brats and pulled pork from the grill; grilled peppers and onions for the brats or on the side; potato salad, sliced tomatoes, onions, cheese slices and pickles. There were also chip assortments and cookies, plus pop, Gatorade and water.

Once everyone was full, we met at the Forest Hills Eastern softball field a couple of hours later. The Ridge grounds crew challenged the Valley crew to a slow pitch softball game. Let me tell you: there was soft smack talk going on before, during and after the game. In the end, the Ridge stomped the Valley this year. Usually, it’s the other way around—but not this time. The Ridge team took an early lead and never looked back until the last out of the 9th inning. What a fun and rewarding day for our staff! They were spoiled by some generous members and then played their hearts out on the ball field. This was all after prepping the golf courses for daily play.

We had a solid team to help take care of the golf courses this summer! Best of luck to all of them as they head back to college.

(Don’t forget to check out the awesome morning sunrise picture in this blog!)

Jeff Holmes, CGCS
Golf Course Manager
Sophia Schulte

Jillian Farrell, an Assistant Golf Professional at Egypt Valley, came to the Club back in May and assists in day-to-day operations, teaches, coaches the junior golf program and orchestrates the Ladies’ Golf Association. Originally from Scotland, Jillian grew up in the industry and as a junior, had a brilliant career where at one time she was ranked the No. 1 Junior Amateur in Scotland. She later attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and played Division I Golf for four years. Get to know a bit more about Jillian!

Please explain a bit about what you do at the Club!

My main responsibility is organizing and running the ladies' events at the golf club, which includes our weekly league events and then bigger tournaments that take place throughout the season. Out with the ladies' section, I also give lessons and assist with any other jobs that need taken care of in the shop.

Share a bit about your Egypt Valley journey! How did you end up as part of the team in the role you’re in?

I had an interesting journey to Egypt Valley. Due to COVID-19, I was unable to go home in the summer of 2021 and ended up coming to Michigan to stay with family friends who had moved here from Scotland a few years ago.

I was fortunate that Mike McGonigal allowed me to come out to the Club and play and practice while I was here over summer. I then moved back to North Carolina to begin my masters and coaching the Men's and Women's golf team at Lenoir-Rhyne University. When the position opened up here in the early spring, I spoke with Mike and was excited to have the opportunity to come back to Egypt Valley in a full-time position.

Talk a bit about learning to golf in your home country of Scotland!

I learned to golf back home in Scotland, learning from my dad who was the Head Professional at the golf club where I grew up. Growing up at the golf club, I naturally became interested and started playing at around 7 years old. I then got involved in our national teams and got to travel around Europe representing Scotland.

Do you notice any similarities or differences between how golf is viewed in the U.S. vs. overseas?

Golf in the U.S. is definitely more of a country club sport. Back home, it’s definitely more traditional and clubs have less facilities. Often, we don't even have a range. I would say golf in the U.S. has progressed a lot faster than it has in the UK.

When you’re not at the club, what are you most likely to be found doing?

When I’m not at the Club, I’m most likely to be spending time with friends and family, working out or doing schoolwork. I’m finishing my masters online, so that takes up a good amount of my free time.

Be sure to say, “Hello!” to Jillian when you see her around at the Club!
Sophia Schulte
Over the last several years, we at Egypt Valley have been fortunate to grow our membership and improve the financial position of the Club while still reinvesting in the property.

One thing that has become apparent while budgeting is that there are not only aspirational investments our membership would like to make, but there are also ongoing capital requirements to maintain a facility like we have at EVCC. Frankly, determining the next place to invest is difficult, despite our strong financial position, due to the number of projects that we would like to address. For example, we know there are things that after 30 years need to be replaced or updated, like the Clubhouse roof (completed in 2021), re-paving the parking lot, replacing and upgrading the generator, updating the locker rooms and kitchen, a new pump house and on-course irrigation system, redoing the bunkers, etc.

We also know that investing in the refresh of the West Patio and pool have significantly enhanced the experience at the Club and allowed us to further attract and retain members. The balancing act of reinvesting in items that need to be done and those we want to do is difficult. This is why we decided to engage Club Benchmarking to perform the Capital Reserve Study and estimate the remaining useful life of all of our assets, as well as the cost and projected timing for replacing those assets over the next 20 years.

The results of the Reserve Study have been reviewed with Club Benchmarking, EVCC Management, the Board, Finance Committee and a smaller ad hoc Committee focused solely on the Capital Reserve Study. Through feedback from all parties and testing the assumptions provided by Club Benchmarking, we have continued to refine the analysis to what we believe to be the most likely scenarios. The results show that over the next 20 years, we will need to invest over $32 million to just maintain the facilities we have. This of course layers in assumptions for inflation and timing of completing the projects, and we know that some of the assumptions will be wrong. No matter if the analysis is exactly correct, it is obvious we will need to focus on catching up on investing in our facilities to make sure we continue to thrive as a Club.

Our challenge over the last several months of working on this project was to determine how best to fund the necessary maintenance and improvements to the Club, as well as aspirational projects. I am excited to say the Board has agreed to a plan that focuses on the short outline below to succeed in this endeavor. In addition, Kyle Lundy, Mark Mossing (Finance Committee Chair) and I will be available on Wednesday, August 10 at 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 16 at 7 p.m. in the Small Ballroom to discuss with anyone who has questions.

Future Dues/Initiation Fee Strategy
  • Split our existing dues structure into two categories: Operating Dues and Capital Dues. It should be noted, this is not a capital assessment, but rather a change of how we account for our existing dues, splitting your existing dues payments between the two categories. This split structure for dues is used by the majority of private clubs across the country. A hypothetical example would be that the 2022 Full Playing Member monthly dues of $803 would be split—$550 per month for Operating Dues and $253 per month for Capital Dues. Going forward, we can adjust each category as necessary based on membership levels, how costs are changing, the scope of projects we are reviewing, etc.
    • Operating Dues are meant to run the day-to-day operations of the Club and should be budgeted to breakeven. Operating Dues should be high enough to cover an excellent service level that our members deserve but not necessarily anything more as that would be profiting off the membership. If we do exceed budget, profits could be directed to aspirational capital projects.
    • Capital Dues are meant to pay for the ongoing reinvestment in the Club’s physical assets and debt service. The goal is that between the Capital Dues, non-member revenue (weddings, outings, etc.) and initiation fees, we will fund a capital reserve to accomplish all of our capital needs over time. The intent would be for these funds to be reserved, or earmarked, for capital and debt service only, and future Boards would be accountable to the members to maintain this philosophy.
  • Strive to at least maintain, if not increase, our initiation fee—regardless of economic cycles. Egypt Valley is a special place, and membership initiation fees will not only help fund our future aspirational capital projects, it will also ensure our future members are financially committed to the Club. With ongoing reinvestment in the Club, as well as everything else EVCC has to offer, we should recognize the value we provide in the market regardless of how full our membership levels are.

It is the Board’s belief that the accountability of reserving Capital Dues for capital projects and a significant and consistent initiation fee will keep us from ever falling back into a period where we can’t adequately reinvest in the Club. From talking with industry experts, the long-term health of a country club is driven by the membership experience, which is broken into two components: service level and welcoming and updated amenities. We believe this is an important step in further securing the future of our Club.

I am excited about the path this puts us on, and look forward to discussing it with anyone who has questions or would like to learn more.

Justin Karl
Club President

Sophia Schulte
Wow! Say “Goodbye” to the Fourth of July, “Hello” to August, and almost back to school.

We’re starting to feel the onset of college starting back up, as our college-bound students are beginning to talk about dates and times they’re going to be needing off to get ready for the school year. The summer has been great for golf and many activities at the club. We’ve been staffed up for a good part of the season, which helps greatly with taking care of such a large and sprawling property. The grounds team has been a nice mix of individuals this year!

The main focus of the grounds staff has been keeping the courses playing well and the property looking sharp. Accomplishing this has been much easier this year, thanks to having a solid grounds staff. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have some of the team members back for two or three seasons in a row, being that several of them are in the early stages of their college career.

We are in line to get some more cart paths repaved this year. On the Valley course, we’ll be paving on No. 14 from the back tee to the bridge. Then, No. 15 from the bridge all through No. 16 up to the bridge on No. 17. Then, from the fairway side of the No. 17 bridge up to the fairway bunker. The remainder of the path will be removed and replaced with grass. There are multiple reasons for the removal of some cart paths: Once they’re out, the hard surface is gone and can allow the rain to be absorbed into the soil (aesthetically pleasing to the eye when viewing up the golf hole and not seeing cart path). The right green side of No. 17 will be paved, and then on Ridge No. 12, we’ll pave the right side near the green. This No. 12 cart will also be on the list to remove, except near the tee and green area.

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the Strackaline hole location system! Our team has put a great amount of work into the process to try and get it to a point where it’s fair at all times. We’ve removed and adjusted several of the hole locations so far this summer, but I believe we’re down to the last few adjustments. If you don't agree with a pin position, please note what green, course and the day, and we can take a look at it and adjust for future use. Please realize we’re going to look at the location but also see if there’s additional comments or if it’s simply an isolated situation. Personally, I feel the Strackaline system has been a great addition to our course set up and helps to make good use of the greens.

When it comes to the weather, the summer has been good for the courses. Dry weather is always better for growing grass than wet weather, as it’s easier to add water to the turf than try to take it away. With that being said, I'm not opposed to some occasional rain—just not continuous rain like we had this past spring and last fall.

The landscaping at the pool area is being finished up and looking very nice. By the end of this week, I believe the landscaping will also be finished. It will be a relief to no longer have all the extra contractors on site (too many people with trucks and equipment running around). But the end results look amazing and will be enjoyed by many for several years to come.

Have a great week and we will see you at the Club!

Jeff Holmes, CGCS
Golf Course Manager

Sophia Schulte

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