Houghton Lake’s Gordon LaFontaine, Bernie Friedrich of Boyne Honored by MGCA
TROY – Gordon LaFontaine, a Houghton Lake Golf Course owner and former executive director of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, received the W. Bruce Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bernie Friedrich, vice-president of golf and resort sales for Boyne Resorts, received the Lyle Leeke Distinguished Service Award at the Michigan Golf Course Association’s Award Winner’s Banquet Tuesday night.
Those presentations highlighted the evening that is a celebrated part of the three-day Michigan Golf Business Annual Conference & Vendor Fair that concludes today at the Somerset Inn Conference Center.
In addition to its annual awards, the Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA) honored Kate Moore, its longtime executive director who has retired from that post to work in a part-time role with the association. Jada Paisley, the current executive director and formerly the associate director, made emotional remarks and presented a video of MGCA members in praise of Moore’s contributions.
Emotion and passion for the business carried the evening.
LaFontaine, who owns Pine View Highlands Golf Course and retired last year after 37 years with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF), called the MTF the best of its kind in the world.
“I can’t thank you enough for this award,” he said. “I’m a guy who was able to do what I love to do, and I’m proud I was able to be of service to you.”
Friedrich, a PGA professional who has worked for 43 years with Boyne, said he was humbled and honored.
“I’m fortunate to work with an organization that not only lets us go out and work with organizations and associations like this in the community, but encourages us to do that,” he said. “That means a lot to us. Our golf staff and agronomy staff have a passion for our business and our mission. Without them I couldn’t do anything.”
Boyne President Steven Kircher, the son of Boyne founder Everett Kircher, praised Friedrich for bringing service to Boyne and also accepted the previously announced MGCA Golf Course of the Year Award that went to The Heather course at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs.
Folds of Honor creator, Major Dan Rooney, who is also an owner of Grand Haven Golf Club, was honored with the Award of Merit by the MGCA. Rooney was unable to attend, but he did address the crowd via video.
Joe Thomas of Treetops Resort in Gaylord and Kelly Plaisier of Thousand Oaks Golf Club in Grand Rapids were winners of the 2018 Dul Family Player Development Leadership Award.
Mark Runchey, the director of golf at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth, was honored with the 2018 John Dodge Carpe Diem Award.
MGCA President Bill Fountain was the master of ceremonies and the awards evening was sponsored by Entegra Procurement Services.
via Greg Johnson