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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
Plenty of thought and care goes into helping the grounds crew keep the Club’s courses in pristine condition. In his position as Grounds Equipment Manager at Egypt Valley, Craig Witham enjoys being a part of that process and being able to work with his hands on a daily basis. Take a moment to get to know him better!

Please explain what it is you do at the Club.


I maintain and repair all of the grounds equipment for the club.

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 got my position by a referral from the previous equipment manager, as he was moving out of the area and he put Jeff in contact with me.

What's your favorite part of your job and why?

My favorite part of my position is working with my hands and seeing how the equipment I maintain keeps the course in great shape, with the help of our grounds employees.

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

When I’m not working, I’m usually found at home with my family. My three boys and myself really enjoy being outdoors. I also enjoy snowmobiling in the upper peninsula.

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

Something people might be surprised to know about me is I have never had a broken bone!

If you see Craig around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
Sophia Schulte
Nick and Krista Good’s golf journey began only recently when their good friends Dan and Becky VanderBaan invited them to experience Egypt Valley as guests during the pandemic.

“We fell in love with the ability to be outside in beautiful scenery and enjoy having a competitive sport to play together as a family and with friends,” said Krista. “Although we have a lot to learn, it’s fun to have a challenging active sport to improve upon.”

Nick, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, owns NBG Capital, a mergers and acquisitions advisory helping people sell their companies. Krista, who is originally from Holland, works at Anesthesia Practice Consultants as a Nurse Anesthetist, and spends most of her working hours in the operating rooms at Metro Hospital, Midtown, and other sites around West Michigan.

The couple met while attending Calvin College some years ago, and while the couple both conducted their graduate studies out in Boston (which they loved), they were happy to return to Michigan to be closer to family and start their own. Today, they share three children: Harry, Tyson and Sloane.

The Goods have been Egypt Valley members for a couple years now and although they’re new to playing golf, they’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Club’s Men’s and Ladies’ Leagues.

“One of the ‘requirements’ of us joining the club was that I had to join Ladies’ League,” Krista said. “Our kids are also fully involved in swim team, junior golf, dive, and tennis.”

There’s much the Goods love about Egypt Valley, including that it’s so family oriented and boasts incredibly well-designed and cared for courses.

“There are so many activities for the kids to participate in, and we have really loved being able to plug into this community of members. There are also people of all ages who often encourage us and our kiddos when they see us on the golf course, which reaffirms that this is such a welcoming place to be,” Krista explained. “We love that there are two 18-hole courses which allows you to be able to get on the course at pretty much anytime. The course design is amazing as well, and we often talk about which holes are our favorites.”

When they’re not on the green, the Goods could be found enjoying dinner on the scenic patio, which they say is one of the best outdoor dining experiences around.

Outside of the Club, the Good family enjoys the outdoors, whether it's swimming at the beach or in the pool, skiing and sledding in the winter and escaping the Michigan winters once in a while for the Florida beaches.

If you see the Good family around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
 
Kasie Smith
I want to wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July, and hope you were able to celebrate and spend the holiday with friends and family.

Those who were able to join us here at the Club were able to enjoy golf, a great cookout, the pool and games. Those who used the pool noticed that we’ve received our final health department approvals and the pool house is officially open. Our members are now able to use the locker rooms, the halfway kitchen is open and the asphalt damage from where the construction trailer and parking were located has been repaired. I know we’re all happy to have the extra parking spaces available once again!

As our pool project comes to a finish, I’m happy to confirm that we did come in on budget, and although we waited on the municipalities for our final approvals to get full access to the facility, we were able to use the pool starting on Memorial Day, as originally planned. We did have some minor inconveniences along the way, so thank you for your patience over the last few weeks while the work was finalized. A big “thank you” to the staff, the House and Finance Committees and Erhardt Construction for all their work that allowed this project to come together in an environment with significant construction inflation and supply chain challenges. As we are working through other capital planning, it’s very apparent that if we tried to move forward with this project at the end of the 2022 season, our budget would need to be significantly higher and we would certainly be delayed and likely miss the pool for a significant portion of the 2023 season.

With the golf courses being a central part of the EVCC experience, we’re excited to announce a change to the playing experience. We are in the process of changing the flags and flagsticks on the Valley and Ridge Courses, along with updating the flags and flagsticks on our practice green and short game area. We are moving to a white flag with the club logo and white flagsticks. The new flags will provide greater visibility and provide a better look for our championship golf courses. As part of this change, we will no longer have the front, middle, and back color-coordinated flags. While we recognize some of the membership will miss this feature, we do believe this improves the appearance of our club and brings us closer to standards with the best courses in the country.

The Greens Committee remains committed to working with Kyle Lundy, Jeff Holmes, and Mike McGonigal and their staffs to continue to improve the playing conditions and experience on our courses. The continued execution of our Master Plan, increasing our spend on preparation and maintenance of our courses, and improvements such as the Strackaline and Hole Location tools are a few advancements over the past year. We are developing a list of the next areas that need investment. If you have any comments or concerns about our golf courses or golf experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chris Hufnagel or a member of the Greens Committee.

Our capital planning project with Club Benchmarking is progressing, and a subcommittee—led by Mark Mossing with Paul Flynn, Jack Hannigan and Dan Carter—continues to meet and refine our overall strategy and financial modeling. Over the last several years, we’ve invested significantly in the Club and I’m happy to say we are in a very strong financial position. As previously mentioned, our goal is to develop a strategy that allows us to continue work from the previously completed Master Plan and also balance ongoing maintenance of the property with other aspirational goals. In the coming months, we look forward to sharing a comprehensive plan with the membership.

While we do have some challenges finalizing the plans for a few of the contemplated projects for late 2022 (due to supply chain constraints), we are installing our new full-site generator this fall, and you will soon notice the Ridge Halfway being open and the deck overlooking Valley 18 green was removed. We are making progress and are continuing to reinvest in the Club and hope to have more to share soon on possible other projects.

Finally, the Club continues to be heavily used by members and we recently had successful and full Men’s and Women’s Member-Guest tournaments. The staff is nearly full, allowing us to handle the peak business volume very well while continuing to focus on providing the best member experience we can. Our July calendar is packed with plenty of fun things, including Mulligans & Margaritas Twilight (July 8), the Women’s Member-Member tournament (July 12-13), the Men’s Member-Member tournament (July 15), Beach Bash (July 21), the Parent-Child Championship tournament (July 23), Summer Concert Series (July 27) and the Swim-in Movie (July 29).

Enjoy all that Egypt Valley has to offer!

Justin Karl
Club President


 
Sophia Schulte
The Egypt Valley culinary team values the strong, long-lasting relationships they’ve built with local farmers and producers in the area.

For Executive Chef, Ben Stinson, there’s nothing like a great cup of coffee in the morning (and sometimes another in the afternoon). When he stopped into Third Wave Coffee in Belding, Michigan, one afternoon, that’s exactly what he experienced. In that moment, Chef Ben decided he had to bring a bag of coffee beans back to the Club for members to enjoy. Since then, Third Wave Coffee has been the only coffee served in the dining room at Egypt Valley.

Owned and operated by Pete McGowan and his wife Megan, Third Wave Coffee roasts their coffee in-house and sources their beans through direct, ethical relationships with farmers in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Tanzania. Pete says that “Third Wave Coffee” is a fitting name because it expresses that he is a part of every step in the process from the coffee bean to the cup in the customer’s hand.

After being disappointed with the bitterness and high acidity in every cup of coffee he drank, Pete decided to take things into his own hands and learn how to create a great tasting cup of coffee. His goal was to maintain the flavor profiles and notes that are unique to the region where the coffee beans are grown, as well as reduce the level of acidity in each cup.

For his first attempt at roasting coffee beans, Pete created a makeshift coffee roaster using a gas grill and rotisserie drum. To his surprise, the beans began to burn and the entire grill caught fire! Since then, Pete has learned that roasting coffee beans involves a chemical reaction which requires a delicate balance of heat and air pressure. After a long trial and error process, he found the right balance (and invested in the right equipment) and is proud to provide great coffee for Egypt Valley members to enjoy.

Pete chooses direct trade and in-house roasting because it allows him to ensure first-hand the quality and equity of the product. This also ensures that he maintains strong, long-lasting relationships with the coffee farmers he sources from.

“Direct trade makes a difference in the lives of the farmers we work with,” Pete said. “What makes us unique is that when you enjoy a cup of coffee at Egypt Valley and in our shop, that coffee is fresh because those beans have been roasted within the last few days. The coffee you purchase from the grocery store can sit on the shelf for several months before you drink it, which is why you likely won’t see a roasting date written on the packaging.”

Pete has also started in-house production of compostable K-Cups for Keurig coffee makers after learning those coffee grounds are likely to be stored for up to a year before brewing.

Next time you’re in the dining room, enjoy a fresh cup of Third Wave coffee!
 
Sophia Schulte
Congratulations to Egypt Valley members Brian Telzerow, Jack Zubkus, Grant Ofield, and the Forest Hills Northern Boy's Varsity Golf team for a phenomenal finish to the golf season!

They recently closed out their season with an impressive finish. The FHN Boy’s Golf team won the Division 1, Region 1, Regional Tournament that propelled them to the State Finals at the Katke Golf Course on June 10 and 11.

At the State Finals, the team finished in 4th place for the second year in a row. The team would like to thank the Board, Membership, and Staff for allowing us to call Egypt Valley home.

                                                                                                 
                                                      State Finals – 4th place finish | Pictured (Left to Right): Jon Fay, Toby Bohn, Grant Ofield, Jack Eber, Jack Zubkus, and Coach Brian Telzerow.

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                               Regional Tournament – 1st place finish.

 
Sophia Schulte
Andi Gardner, Pastry Chef at Egypt Valley, has had a passion and talent for baking and creating delicious desserts ever since childhood. Take a moment to get to know a bit more about Andi!

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 started in the fall of 2020 as the pastry assistant to two different pastry chefs. This spring, the pastry chef left and the only thing that felt right was for me to step into the position! I couldn't ask for a more supportive team in this stressful transition process. I am so grateful for the people who have my back at EVCC.

Where does your passion for baking come from?

My passion for baking came from my childhood. At a very young age I discovered my love for baking and the pleasure it gave me when people enjoyed the things I made for them. I am so blessed to be able to make my passion into a career.

What’s your favorite dish to make?

I don't really have a favorite dish, but my favorite thing to do is decorating wedding cakes.

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

When I am not at work I can usually be found at the gym or Target. I tend to enjoy staying in the comfort of my own home and hanging out with those closest to me.

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

One of the weirdest things about me is that I don't really like sweets. I have my occasional cravings for sugary things but because I am surrounded by them all day, I don't go out of my way to eat them.
 
Sophia Schulte
Like many families at Egypt Valley, Tom and Katy Teklinski were drawn to the Club as an escape they could take together.

In 2013, the couple moved from Royal Oak to Grand Rapids, along with their three small children: Jillian, Ben and Henry. Shortly after, they became Egypt Valley members.

“We joined at a time when we had three young children and both worked long hours,” Katy said. “Having the course to escape to together and walk the beautiful terrain while enjoying learning and growing in the sport was such a blessing. The kids loved all the activities in the summer and were quickly immersed into it. They made new friends and always looked forward to going to the Club.”

Tom began golfing at age 12 and has always loved the game—and the challenges that come with it. He also encouraged Katy to play and was her biggest fan in pushing herself out of her comfort zone and playing in the women’s league and events.

“Having a family who all loved to golf was a dream of mine, but I didn’t realize until one day when we were all out on the course for a Junior PGA event that the dream had become a reality,” Tom said. “I wanted to instill the foundational values of golf, a game that can be enjoyed with others but also on your own, and a lifelong sport.”

Katy explained how through the support of Tom (and the patient women of the league in her early days), she grew to love the sport. When she was asked to become the Chair of the Women’s Association in 2021, Katy gladly accepted. With the growth of the Club, Katy said it was the perfect time to get involved.

“I wanted to give back and grow the women’s program,” she said, emphasizing her desire for women to feel comfortable learning and playing golf in what can be a somewhat intimidating atmosphere. “I’ve enjoyed working with the staff to create a 3-hole league and hybrid events that help to bridge the gap to competitive play, along with a whole team of ladies who are excited to recruit new players and grow the Women’s Association.”

Today, she looks forward to getting out on the Club’s courses for a variety of reasons.

“Every time I’m out on the course, whether it’s with Tom, the whole family, the ladies or alone, I feel a calming sense of peace being out in nature and pushing myself to grow,” she said. “I’m not sure there is anything better. Yep, I’m hooked!”

In the nine seasons the Teklinski family have been members at the Club, they’ve secured some family wins in the sport, as well. Last year, Tom won his flight for the Member-Guest, Katy and her partner won the Member-Member, Tom and Ben won the Parent-Child 9-hole, and Ben won the Children’s 5-hole tournament.

“We love that the Club offers 36 holes, along with the flexibility to get out when our busy schedules have a last-minute opening—it has made all the difference in the use of the Club and being able enjoy it fully,” Katy said. “Jeff’s team does an amazing job of keeping the course so pristine … it adds a magical element to being out there, especially on an early morning round or a right before sunset. It’s such a beautiful course!”

When they’re not putting on the green, the Teklinskis are likely to be found at the Club’s pool.

“The kids love to swim with the friends they’ve made over the years,” Katy said, noting how excited the family is about the new pool environment and all the space there is to gather and relax. “The kids also love a good pickup game of tennis and basketball when they need to dry off.”

According to Katy, the two elements that make Egypt Valley so special are, “the committed staff and members that contribute to making the Club an inclusive family environment and the setting of Egypt Valley, which is tucked away from the daily grind.”

The peacefulness of being nestled right into the thick of nature, Katy says, is such a blessing.

Outside of their time spent at Egypt Valley, the Teklinskis could most likely be found at one of their children’s sporting events.

“The kids are busy with baseball, basketball, skiing and volleyball, which has us traveling around and shuttling to practices, coaching and cheering them on,” Katy said. “We also love a summer day of exploring the beaches and spending time up north. We’re also active at the kids’ school and our church, St. Thomas the Apostle.”

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


 
Sophia Schulte
The buzz at the club is pin positions on the greens—how do they get selected? How often? By who? And are they always perfectly done? Well, let's start with admitting they’re not always perfectly done, but we sure try to make it right as much as possible. There is always going to be some element of human nature attached to the event.

To help make pin positions on the greens better than ever, we selected StrackaLine software to help position the pin location each and every day going forward. You can Google “StrackaLine” to get more background information. For us, the main use has to do with the greens, which have been topographically measured for their individual slope and size. The green speed is also entered into the system so the pin positions can be selected in relation to slope, size of pin position area, and green speed. The software randomly picks the daily positions for 18 holes and uses the front, middle and back of the green positions. The software has approximately 15 hole locations on each green to select from.

We request your help and patience as we move through the trial period of the system. We’ve placed a white dot in the front and the back of each green. If you line the two up, this will be the axis through the green. When reading a pin sheet (or for our team, when setting the pin), the axis is used for pacing into the green and figuring the paces left or right of the axis for the final location. As good as the software is, we’re learning there are some not-so-great positions. This is OK, but we simply need to modify some of them slightly, and our team doesn't always hit the mark. The pin positions are continuously being monitored and fine-tuned. Please bear with us as we’re going to make some mistakes while getting through this process. The employee who cuts the cups has been empowered to make adjustments from the StrackaLine selection, if needed. Then we can modify the software selection so it won't happen again with that StrackaLine-selected position.

There’s plenty more information about StrackaLine and what we have to do to make it work, but I’m not going to bore you with that information. Overall, it’s a great system and with a few small adjustments, we’ll be in good shape. StrackaLine selects the pin position, the cups get cut every day (with a few exceptions) by one of our cup-cutting people on each course.

The really good news? With StrackaLine, we’re using more of the green to place pin positions. Hope you enjoy the pin locations and the beautiful golf courses available to you at Egypt Valley Country Club.

See you on the course,

Jeff Holmes, CGCS
Golf Course Manager
 
Sophia Schulte
Stephen Larson, Egypt Valley’s Outdoor Services Supervisor, was originally only looking for a summer job when his position came along. But today, Stephen is happily in a full-time position at the Club and loves the culture and people he gets to interact with daily. Take a moment to get to know a bit more about Stephen!

Tell us a bit about your Egypt Valley journey!

I have been working at Egypt Valley for a little over a year now. I found out about working at Egypt Valley through the VandenBerg family while I was going back to grad school and looking for some work in the summer. What started out as a summer job turned into a full-time position and I am very grateful to be at Egypt Valley.

What's your favorite part of being on the EVCC team?


My favorite part about working at Egypt Valley is the people. Whether that be the members and talking with them about their round of golf or hearing more about their life outside of the club. I also love the culture and staff at Egypt Valley … everyone has been very outgoing and friendly.

When not working at the club, what are you likely to be found doing?

When I'm not at Egypt Valley, you can find me playing golf, going to my grandparents cottage in Grand Haven or hanging out with my new niece and nephew!

What's something people would be surprised to know about you?

A thing that might surprise people is that my dad tried to force me to learn golf playing right handed so he didn't have to buy me a set of lefty clubs and I hated it. Luckily for me, I was able to buy a set of lefty clubs after graduating from college.

Do you have any special talents?

Not really a special talent but I was a collegiate swimmer, so I can always give pointers in that realm.

If you see Stephen around the Club, be sure to say, “Hello!”
 
Sophia Schulte
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.
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