March 16th, 2018 01:11PM
It is amazing how one word can tilt perception and cause confusion leading to missed opportunities.
Gaylord Country Club is changing its name to Gaylord Golf Club to dismiss any and all notions that it is a private facility. It’s public.
Admit it, some of you went driving past the traditional brick entrance sign on M-32 or saw the name listed among the Gaylord Golf Mecca marketed properties and wondered if it was private. In perception, the name change is from Gaylord Private Golf Club to Gaylord Public Golf Club.
The club dates back to 1924 and since 1974 at its current site, and for perhaps just as long staff and members have heard the question: “Are you guys private?” The Don Childs’ design, known for its traditional and well-manicured greens, has always been open to the public.
Posters announcing the change were part of the booth Gaylord Golf Club set up at the recent Michigan Golf Show in Novi.
“Everybody is welcome and they always have been,” Dan Hlywa, the current club president said. “We hear it like 9,000 times a year that people drive right by us because they think we are private because of the words country club. We have it on the sign and we put a banner up in recent years that helped. We just felt it’s just time to take charge of the situation and change the name.”
J.T. Aude, the head golf professional, said simply dropping the word country in place of golf has been discussed for many years. The club does have an estimated 125 equity-ownership members, but serving all golfers has long been part of the club’s mission.
“The country club aspect says ‘hey, we’re private’ to a lot of people,” Aude said. “We want people to know we are open to the public. So many people from downstate and other areas visit Gaylord and see or hear the words country club and think that means private. We want to get that stigma away from us. We are a golf club. You are welcome. We think you will enjoy our course. The members are very proud of the course and they want you to enjoy it.”
Aude said the club is not making the decision based on any reason other than eliminating some confusion.
“This is not for any financial reasons, or any change in mission,” he said. “The club is doing absolutely fine. This has been talked about for years, and now it is time.
“When you come to play it will be the same as always. We will treat you great because we treat everybody the same. Our members will talk with you and play golf with you. They like showing the course off. We have outside events. We have tournaments. We have leagues. We have the best greens in northern Michigan. We are part of the Mecca so if we can’t get you on that day because of an event or something, we will make sure you play at one of the other Mecca courses.”