Bay Meadows: The Epitome of Family-friendly Golf By: Chris Lewis

Located just five minutes from one of northern Michigan’s premier tourist destinations (downtown Traverse City), Bay Meadows Family Golf Course has been family-owned and operated ever since its founding in 1995. Throughout the last 24 years, the course has had one primary purpose: to be Traverse City’s—and, for that matter, northern Michigan’s—foremost family-friendly golf experience. To achieve these goals, Bay Meadows, under the leadership and ownership of Mike Husby (renowned for designing courses like Marsh Ridge, The Loon Golf Club, and Wild Bluffs), offers a nine-hole regulation course (the Blue) and a nine-hole par-three course (the Green).

Furthermore, Husby, along with his wife, Judy—who have owned Bay Meadows since 2014 and actually renamed it Bay Meadows Family Golf Course (it was previously known as Bay Meadows)—offer guests a wide array of practice options to choose from, including four practice greens, various practice bunkers, one practice hole and a driving range that features 12 mat stations with turf tees for an additional 30 players. “We’ve made major upgrades to buildings and turf equipment. I also remodeled the courses, added new tees and improved playing conditions,” Husby explains. “These upgrades were well received by the public, as rounds and driving range usage have increased dramatically.”

An unparalleled commitment to junior golf

But the most noticeable commitment to the course’s family-friendly golf experience is, without question, the Bay Meadows Learning Center, the area’s number one practice facility. Offering its guests opportunities to learn indoors and outdoors, the Learning Center provides PGA instructors who specialize in using Trackman 4 launch monitors, high-tech video cameras and teaching aids to instruct adults and children year-round.

Since its opening in April 2017, the Learning Center, which is adjacent to the course’s clubhouse, has tripled in size. In fact, in December 2017, Husby’s team began to develop a new addition to the Learning Center, in order to further assist its students. Completed last year, the Learning Center has earned the attention and praise of community members and local golf associations. “The Traverse City Junior Golf Association (TCJGA) has been operating a lesson and tournament program for nearly 36 years,” Husby says. “They now have their office at our Learning Center.”

He adds, “The association has over 350 family members. Together, we present golf to more than 2,100 children annually through the middle school programs in Traverse City—a remarkable feat!” In recent months, Bay Meadows Family Golf Course has actually formed an alliance with the TCJGA, so that association members (along with their immediate family) receive a variety of family discounts: golf tees, lessons, range balls, and many other special offers.

In addition, aside from the TCJGA, the Bay Meadows Family Golf Course has promoted and partnered with an array of high school golf teams (hosting the Traverse City Central High School boys and girls golf teams, the Traverse City West Senior High School girls golf teams and the St. Francis High School girls golf team), as well as the National Cherry Festival, via its Million Dollar Hole-in-One Golf Contest. “Our commitment to the greater community of Traverse City, especially the area’s junior golfers, will only continue to increase in the coming years,” Husby remarks. “We have 40 sets of junior clubs that allow us to offer free golf clubs to junior golfers so that their families don’t have to invest their money in clubs that will be outgrown.”

He continues, “The bottom line is this: If a junior wants to learn the game or wants to improve, Bay Meadows Family Golf Course is the course for them. We welcome juniors of all experience levels, and will help them improve, regardless of their current abilities, so that they’ll enjoy the game of golf even more—hopefully for the rest of their lives!”

With this commitment to junior golf in mind, PGA instructor Scott Wilson currently oversees a six-week PGA Jr. League every summer, which is open to boys and girls aged 17 and under. All skill levels are welcomed to participate in the league, receive instruction from Wilson and his staff, and compete in co-ed, two-person scrambles. 13-and-under practice and play on Wednesdays, while 14- to 17-year-olds practice and play on Tuesdays. In the meantime, Wilson and his team also supervise various clinics (for young juniors and first-time golfers), camps (“FUN”damental camps dedicated to rules, etiquette, and swing and short game fundamentals) and leagues for juniors throughout the spring and summer, as well as a league during the fall. Additionally, they host year-round junior programs, thanks to Bay Meadows Family Golf Course’s top-notch indoor facilities.

A highly prestigious national honor

Due to Wilson’s dedication to junior golfers, the national chapter of the Professional Golf Association (PGA) announced that he will receive the 2019 Youth Player Development Award this November. The honor is highly prestigious, as Wilson was required to interview and provide a presentation in Lansing, prior to submitting an application to the PGA’s national board (once he acquired the Michigan section award). “The buzz around our community and the support from the Traverse City golf community is what motivates me,” says Wilson. “More kids are coming out for our programs. Growing our game is the number one priority for me and always has been.” He adds, “The support from the Traverse City golf families had been tremendous.”

The Youth Player Development Award is so prestigious, in fact, that PGA of America President Suzy Whaley personally called Wilson to inform him of the honor and requested him to keep it a secret until the news was delivered nationally. Once the public was informed of Wilson’s achievement, he was even interviewed by the Golf Channel, who dedicated a segment to him, Bay Meadows Family Golf Course and its commitment to junior golf. “We remain as driven as ever to provide golfers of all ages and abilities a facility that can deliver an affordable opportunity for them to experience the joys of the world’s greatest game,” Husby says. “It is a big deal. I’m humbled by [the award],” Wilson adds. “Our community put us all on the map. I love the families [that play at Bay Meadows]. I can’t thank them enough.”