2022 AWARD WINNERS: Michigan Golf Course Association Announces Honorees
LANSING – Gilda Johnson, the owner at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor, Jim and Chris MacInnes, owners of Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, and The Dul Family of Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth were announced today as 2022 Award Winners by the Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA).
They will be introduced and celebrated at the MGCA Awards Banquet on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 29, during the 2022 Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair at Soaring Eagle Resort in Mount Pleasant.
“We are excited to honor award winners that have built legacies as true servant leaders in the Michigan golf industry,” Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA said. “It will be a special night for the award recipients and families who have been trendsetters, built successful businesses and gone above and beyond in helping other golf course owners and the industry. They are truly deserving.”
Gilda Johnson will be the recipient of the Lyle Leeke Distinguished Service Award. It is presented to individuals who have displayed distinguished service to the MGCA and the golf industry in the state of Michigan. The owner of Lake Forest Golf Club and a past-president of the MGCA, Johnson continues to serve on the executive committee of the MGCA Board of Directors, is an MGCA Educational Support Foundation trustee as well as a Michigan Clubs Fund Board trustee.
Lake Forest, a public venue, was started by Johnson in 1999. Under her oversight, Lake Forest has expanded and improved and is regarded as one of the top public facilities in the state. The facility features an 18-hole course, a five-acre practice area, expansive banquet room and a large deck overlooking the course. Lessons and membership packages are also available.
“Gilda is always willing to serve when asked, and in any capacity,” Paisley said. “She always says yes. It helps make her a better owner and operator but she also brings that experience and leadership back to the MGCA to help others with their businesses. I’m so glad she is receiving this recognition.”
Jim and Chris MacInnes will be the recipients of the Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award. It is awarded to an individual or organization that over the span of a lifetime has provided steadfast leadership, outstanding service, and continuous commitment to the Michigan golf industry. They took over leadership of the Crystal Mountain family business in 1985 and have each served the Michigan Travel Commission, and Chris is currently on the executive committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and chairs Traverse City Tourism (CVB).
They have guided over $100 million in master plan development at the resort with 36 holes of championship golf, 59 downhill ski trails, fitness center, Crystal Spa, Michigan Legacy Art Park, and more. Crystal Mountain has become home to the Michigan PGA Women’s Open, hosting the championship on the Mountain Ridge course for 20 consecutive years, and Golf Digest magazine lists Crystal Mountain among the Best Golf Destinations for Women and Best Golf Schools. Crystal Mountain has also been named one of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For and Best Family Reunion Spot in Michigan.
“Beyond what Jim and Chris do for Crystal, they have become active in the hospitality, tourism as well as business and economic development communities,” Paisley said. “What they have done in helping Michigan become a destination for golf, America’s Summer Golf Capital, is another big reason why they are receiving this award.”
The Dul Family and Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center is the 2022 MGCA Award of Merit recipient. This award is reserved for significant, measurable, and meaningful work in and for the golf industry and has only been presented nine times in 26 years by the MGCA.
The Dul family is receiving the Award of Merit in recognition of their long-standing family ownership and management of Fox Hills and the history of their 48 years of leadership in the golf industry from 1974 to 2022.
The Dul family, under the leadership of Dul sisters Kathy Aznavorian and Sandy Mily, and together with the Fox Hills family team, over the years has created the premier golf destination in southeast Michigan. From the original 18-hole facility purchased by Alexander and Estelle Dul, Fox Hills has expanded to 63 holes of upscale public golf, including a trendsetting 18-hole par 3 course. They also expanded a clubhouse and banquet center that can host multiple events, added three wedding venues and built a state of the art practice facility to grow the game.
Over the decades, the Dul family and Fox Hills have developed many player development programs for beginner and expert golfers alike and produced several notable and accomplished golfers including the 2021 U.S. Amateur champion, James Piot.
“Under Kathy and Sandy’s leadership, Fox Hills has become a community hub for golf,” Paisley said. “They were true trendsetters over 48 years in developing Fox Hills to an incredible facility with multiple services and elevating public golf courses and what they mean to the communities that surround them.”