(Grand Rapids, Mich.) With the opening of the 22nd West Michigan Golf Show on Feb. 12-14 in Grand Rapids, the importance of golf to Michigan’s economy will be underlined as thousands of enthusiasts will pack DeVos Place to visit hundreds of exhibits.
A few years ago, the Michigan Golf Alliance published a study that indicated golf represented $2.2 billion in economic output for Michigan, sustaining nearly 60,000 jobs. With the state leading the country in the number of public golf courses, golf is also a centerpiece of Michigan’s award-winning Pure Michigan tourism initiative. Michigan has received national exposure and recognition for the breadth and quality of its destination golf properties. As a result, golf remains a key element of Michigan’s travel and tourism strategy.
“Golf is more than birdies, pars and bogies on a scorecard,” said Carolyn Alt, Show Manager. “Golf represents jobs, business, and travel spending right here in Michigan.” Alt reported that the West Michigan Golf Show remains one of the most popular consumer golf shows in the country due to the quality of its exhibitors and its attractions. “This year, we have 47 of the top 50 public golf courses in the state exhibiting with us. Few if any states surpass Michigan in terms of public golf courses.”
Alt also cited the recent news about AirTran Airways’ entry into the Grand Rapids market as potentially an asset for boosting golf travel for the region. “Now there will be inexpensive flights next summer from Orlando into Grand Rapids and that bodes well for our courses and resorts,” said Alt. “Hot and muggy Florida golf in the summer can’t compete with Michigan.”
Michigan Golf Hall of Fame golf writer and Detroit native Jack Berry, a presenter at last year’s West Michigan Golf Show, echoed Alt’s assessment about pivotal role of the Michigan golf industry.
“Golf means business in our state, from Ironwood in the westernmost corner of the Upper Peninsula to Monroe in the southeastern corner of the state,” said Berry. “Courses buy food and beverages, buy equipment and maintenance supplies while paying employees and taxes. And that’s in every county. Small businesses are an anchor of the American economy and in Michigan, those small golf businesses add up to a big business.”
Produced by ShowSpan Inc., the West Michigan Golf Show’s hours are 4:00 pm-9:00 pm, Friday; 10:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturday; and 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Sunday. Tickets are $9 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-14, and children 5 and under are free. Sponsors are Treetops Resort, Golf Association of Michigan, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Odawa Casino Resort, Michigan P.G.A., and Boyne USA. Srixon will provide a sleeve of golf balls to the first 100 attendees each day and to those buying tickets online. Tickets will be available at the door as well as online at www.westmichigangolfshow.com.