GAM Executive Director David Graham Retiring in 2019
David Graham, who is credited with turning around a struggling Golf Association of Michigan, is retiring from that organization at the end of June 2019. Graham’s eighteen years with the GAM makes him the longest tenured Executive Director in the organization’s history.
Graham announced his plans to retire at the GAM Annual Meeting of Delegates at University of Michigan Golf Course on May 8.
“Over 17 years ago when I was hired as the Executive Director I described it as my ‘dream job’ and over all these years, it truly has been,” Graham said.
When Graham was hired in 2001, the Golf Association of Michigan was struggling financially. In spite of the Great Recession and a general decline in golf participation nationwaide, Graham was able to strengthen and expand the GAM.
“David started with the GAM some 17 years ago when the organization was struggling and deeply in debt,” outgoing GAM President John Barbour said. “The search committee then had the good sense to look outside the golf industry for a business executive with a strong marketing background. Today, the strength of the GAM is a testament to that decision, and to the leadership capabilities David has demonstrated.”
As the Executive Director of the GAM, Graham has instituted new member benefits such as Swing & Save, the creation of GAM Golf Days, the development of Net Tournaments for the average competitive golfer, the building of many sponsor partnerships, technology upgrades in support of the website GAM.ORG, the implementation of the USGA GHIN Handicap System and Tournament Management software, and establishment of the 501 c 3 GAM Foundation. The GAM Foundation funds the landmark Youth on Course program that allows young golfers to play for $5 or less at participating courses.
“Our finances are strong, our relationship with our members continues to be strengthened as their numbers continue to grow, and our Foundation is off to a wonderful start particularly with the launch of the Youth on Course program,” Graham said. “The GAM is truly positioned to serve golf in Michigan and take the game to even greater levels of participation.”
Outgoing GAM President John Barbour said that Graham’s management of the GAM’s transition to the GHIN Handicap System is a prime example of his excellence as an Executive Director: “David and the GAM team successfully demonstrated expertise in many areas to the satisfaction of the USGA, and now the new relationship is much more formalized. This new status with the USGA will provide dividends to GAM members for years to come.”
In his retirement statement, Graham thanked the GAM staff and Board of Governors and complemented them on their hard work over the years and said he is proud of the GAM’s ability to reach a broad range of Michigan residents including men, women, juniors and seniors and of course, golfers of all abilities. He stressed the importance of GAM partnerships with groups including the Michigan Section PGA Professionals, the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents, Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, and the Western Golf Association.
“I have met so many fine people involved with the game of golf and I truly appreciate them all,” he said. “It is hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. We have succeeded on many fronts to place the GAM in a very stable situation. I look forward to working with our search committee to identify and hire the next GAM Executive Director and I am committed to be available as requested to provide ongoing counsel and support. It has truly been a great adventure!”
Your friendly neighborhood Golf Blogger had the chance to play a round of golf with David Graham at Indianwood some years ago. He is a sharp operator, a good player and a gracious partner.
via Susan Smiley at gam.org