Business Profile: Marywood in a well-Groomed layout
by John Block
BATTLE CREEKMike Grooms has his sights aimed at the future and for him the future is now.
Grooms is the general manager of Marywood Golf Course, and the public facility, which was recently sold to brothers Robert and Dave Bennett of Kalamazoo, is doing exceptionally well.
Grooms took over at Marywood in December, 1998, and hes been a busy fellow from the get-go.
Since Ive been here, weve redone the cart paths, put in a new irrigation system, remodeled the pro shop, grill and banquet facility, gotten a new fleet of carts and we have a new professional staff, says Grooms.
The course is in the best shape its been in 10 years.
We plan to redo the sand traps this fall and we want to put in continuous cart paths and add another banquet room. That will give us seating capacity for 600.
Grooms, a member of the PGA, doesnt get to spend a lot of time in the pro shop or on the lesson tee these days.
His other duties keep him pretty much on the go.
I oversee the maintenance and work with the superintendent, he says. And I do all the financials for the operation.
Hes obviously done his job well. The banquet business increased 100 percent from 1998 to 1999 and is currently up 50 percent from the 1999 figures.
While the business schedule keeps him out of the pro shop, he still manages to play in some PGA events.
I try to play in some events when my schedule permits, he says. It just depends. Sometimes it gets pretty hectic around here.
Thats not a concern, however.
I dont mind that at all, he says. I think that this is the future of the golf professional. He has to be versed in a lot more than just golf.
Originally from Grand Rapids, Grooms went to Ferris State, then transferred to Grand Valley and got into the PGA apprentice program. He worked at The Meadows for five years, then spent a season at Bay Valley before coming to Marywood.
He looks upon the sale as a positive change.
I got along with the previous owners, Tredwell Golf Associates, real well, he says. They were great to work for, but they were based in Detroit and couldnt get over here too often.
The new owners have some great plans.
Among the changes being considered are putting in town homes on the fifth and sixth holes and building a new driving range. They are looking into the possibility of purchasing some land adjacent to the course for the new range.
Marywood has long enjoyed a reputation as a challenging, fun place to play. Its only getting better now, and Mike Grooms is one of those instrumental in the changes.
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