Fore! Golfing in Michigan Tees Up for Summer

Summertime in Michigan means it’s time to explore the great outdoors – and for many that means tee time. Royal Oak-based Golfing in Michigan is your resource for all things Michigan golf.

Golfing in Michigan launched 21 years ago by Art Bils as a travel guide to Michigan’s various golf resorts and golf-friendly destinations. In 2010, Abby and Aaron Elowsky bought the business from Art and have continued promoting Golfing in Michigan as the number one resource for all things, well, golfing in Michigan.
After a career in the corporate IT world then a stint as a stay-at-home mom with her newborn and her 18-month-old, Abby was ready for a change. More specifically, she was ready to pursue a career that would still insure a certain balance to her quality of life. “I suffered the parent things of trying to balance a corporate and home life,” she explains. “My husband and I started looking at franchise options where quality of life would be a more important focus for us.”
After deciding that they didn’t want the physical commitment of a brick and mortar store, an unexpected connection put them in touch with Art at Golfing in Michigan. “My husband is a huge avid golfer and I love golf from the sidelines.” She adds, “I’m a horrible player but a much better spectator!” They spent several months talking with Art and getting to know him and his brand, as well as doing their own due diligence and scraping together the money. Then, in September 2011, Abby says, “We signed our lives away – in a good way!”
Before taking that final step, Abby prepared herself to be an independent business owner by taking advantage of the many resources available through Oakland County. She connected with the Oakland County Business Center, a member of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) network. “They’re awesome!” she exclaims. “I holler about them from the hilltops!” She explains that while she and her husband were still in the early processes of trying to decide what sort of business to open, her neighbor told her about the Business Center (which she had never heard of before) so she decided to check it out.
“’Pre-Business Research’ was the first class [I took] and it was like $20 for four hours,” she says. (Compare that to a similar seminar offered through a college or university for hundreds of dollars.) “I gleaned so much information! That set the course for figuring out what I wanted to do.” She also took a three-part course on applying social media to the business world (for only $40 per class) and another two-part course on Quick Book (only $45, compared to the classes Quick Books offers themselves for $900). “Every time [I have the time] and there’s a course that’s even remotely interesting to me I drive [over] there! It will not be money wasted no matter what you end up doing.” She praises Oakland County Business Consultant Greg Doyle and Business Center Director Lola Are for the work they’re doing. “They’re just phenomenal … I’m amazed at how much information I’ve used in the past three years and it still continues to provide a benefit to me.”
Golfing in Michigan still sends out their free glossy travel guide annually to over 100,000 avid golfers. They also act as a concierge service to people looking to book a golfing trip. “A lot of people would contact Art and ask for tips and suggestions [about hotels and resorts],” Abby explains. Then advertisers started to experience a budget crunch so Art began booking trips a decade ago on trade, allowing advertisers to pay a portion of their advertising fees up front then allowing them to work off their balance in trips Art booked on their behalf. This is now the primary function of Golfing in Michigan (aside from the annual guide), and their highly interactive website hosts a wealth of information on courses and resorts throughout Michigan.
This month they will be rolling out their online quote engine, which will allow users total autonomy to build their own travel package and get a reliable quote instantly with just the click of their button. The site will have pricing information on hotels and courses, and will even allow users to pick their own tee times. This allows people to really price out their trips (and helps them to know if their desired trips are realistic for their budget) while also helping Abby and her team narrow down their field of options when customizing customers’ packages. If you decide you want to book the trip, Abby or one of her staff will get in contact with you to finalize all the details and add certain personal touches to the package (such as suggesting different tee times depending on driving distance between courses and so on). “It’s not a reservation but a service,” she specifies.
“There’s nothing like that out there in the Michigan area and really nothing like that out there period,” she notes. “With a lot of places you can fill out a form and then they’ll get back to you, but there’s nothing that’s automatic right now.” The quote engine will have information on over 800 courses throughout the state. “My goal is that the golfer will benefit from it,” Abby says.
And even if you aren’t looking to book a leisure trip to different golf courses throughout the state, Golfing in Michigan still has plenty of resources available to you on local courses. Oakland County is home to over 60 different courses large and small that are convenient for both the casual golfer and the enthusiast. “I am a big fan of city courses,” Abby states. “I like to support them. They’re usually just tremendous when it comes to letting people start out and you’re not embarrassed [as a beginner].”
She recommends Rackham Golf Course in Huntington Woods as a great local course that is very affordable. She also recommends Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills: “It’s not Oakland Hills but it’s not going to cost you $100 to get in.” (And of course there is always Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Twp, a private club that hosted the PGA in 2008.) She says that Paint Creek Country Club in Lake Orion is a “wonderful” private course and Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion (which is hosting the U.S. Senior Open) is a beautiful course. “[Our local courses] have the luxury of having great scenery!”
Whether you’re choosing to stay local or if you’d like to explore the splendor of Michigan in the summertime from the 9th green, Golfing in Michigan has everything you need!