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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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