Since acquiring the Greenville, Mich., property, Ryan Lothian has worked to create new family-oriented events for the 18-hole golf course, in an effort to appeal to women and youth who have never played the game before.
Ryan Lothian recently acquired the Glenkerry Golf Course in Greenville, Mich., and is working on getting the 18-hole golf course up to par, the Greenville, Mich.-based Daily News reported.
Now that golf season is in full gear, Lothian is not only maintaining the 19-year-old golf course, but also working to add new events and more amenities to it. Like any business owner, Lothian would like to see his business grow, the Daily News reported.
“We want to attract more golfers—and of course new people to the sport—here,” Lothian said. “That’s our biggest challenge right now, getting new golfers. We’re hoping to get more people involved with our lessons we’ll be offering, as well as some new, fun events we’ll have this summer.”
Some of those new events include Nine and Wine for women, a fun, non-competitive event that begins June 10, in which women play a round of golf and then enjoy a featured wine each week, and a Big Hole event, in which holes on greens will be bigger than normal, opening up the short-hand game for those who participate, the Daily News reported.
A youth clinic and youth league will also be introduced. The clinic is open to youths of all ages and begins June 15. For Lothian, a father of four children—Emily, 13, John, 12, Nicholas, 9, and Olivia, 6—getting new golfers involves getting kids excited about the sport, too, the Daily News reported.
“My boys like golf more than (my) girls,” Lothian said of his children. “The boys would tell you it is their second favorite sport after baseball. They are all more interested in the game (however) since we bought the golf course.”
Lothian hopes with the new events, he can get people who never played the sport out to the golf course and get them comfortable playing golf, which, he said, can be intimidating for those who never played before, the Daily News reported.
“Glenkerry is a very playable course,” Lothian said. “There are five sets of tees on the golf course, from beginners to the more experienced. (The tees) are long enough to give a challenge to good players and also helps beginners (with the tees closer to the hole).”
Lothian is a third-generation entrepreneur. His father, John Lothian, owned a company that “decorated on plastic,” while his grandfather, George Lothian, owned and operated a tool and die business in Detroit, the Daily News reported.
“I’ve always envisioned myself as an entrepreneur,” said Lothian, who also owns Snap Fitness in Greenville. “My wife, Lori, was very supportive when we started looking at the golf course. In July, we took a look at it and we saw lots of potential and opportunities.”
Lothian believes the trees within Glenkerry Golf Course, which, at one time was a farm, are now filling in nicely. The course was first built in 1996, then a nine-hole course, and then expanded to 18 holes a few years later, the Daily News reported.
“What used to be a farm field has matured into a really fun golf course,” Lothian said. “With what has grown over the years, it’s more challenging than I remember it being. I love how it has matured. It’s not so hard that it frustrates you, yet it’s not so easy that it bores you, either.”
Though drawing in more new people, scheduling new events, adding more flat screen televisions and introducing more premium brands of liquor at the clubhouse are top priorities, it’s the regular customers who have been enjoying the course for years that make Glenkerry a special place, according to Clubhouse Manager Bobbijo Train. “The customers, the people, are what make this place great,” she said.
With Lothian on board, one thing Train is hoping to establish is more family events at the golf course. She said ideas like a father-son event for Father’s Day is an example of what Glenkerry is hoping to build on. This can draw in new people as well as entertain course regulars with new ways of playing golf, the Daily News reported.
“I’ve been here for 10 years and have been in Greenville all of my life, and was a nurse at one time, so I pretty much know everybody around here,” she said. “This is a family-oriented golf course and I would like to enhance that.”