By Kay Askew
Clinton Chronicle staff writer
The Gem of Mid-Michigan, also known as the Emerald Golf Course in St. Johns has a busy schedule to look forward to this spring and summer season, weather permitting.
Taller Saller, the food and beverages manager said that a lot of the golfing business depends on the weather. The Director of Golf Course Operations, Jay Eccleton has made significant changes to The Emerald to attract a larger customer base.
“Now we do a lot of events like weddings, class reunions, first communions…we didn’t do that when I first started,” Saller said.
The course has metamorphosed from the Clinton County Country Club, a private golf course, into the Emerald which is open to the public and offers a banquet space in the clubhouse as well as a golf pro shop and newly opened pizzeria. Golf Digest named The Emerald one of the top 100 women friendly courses in 2002. The magazine also rated it three and a half stars.
The golf course attracts a lot of people to come play and groups to hold outings and events there, said Eccleton.
“Our biggest event is our Stroke For Life event, which is an event for the local area hospital, the Sparrow Clinton Memorial Hospital. They will have anywhere from 250 plus participants play in a double shotgun format. And it raises close to $20,000 a year for the hospital,” said Eccleton.
The double shotgun format in golf is when half of the group, about 125 people, will tee off simultaneously at 9 a.m. on different holes, and the other half at 11 a.m. in the same fashion, Saller said.
Besides the hospital fundraiser event, The Emerald also hosts about two outings per week, has several leagues of local people, and traveling leagues. The Emerald offers packages with the Doherty Hotel and allows for anyone to book a tee time, said Saller.
“We’re also hosting the Michigan Amateur golf championships on May 7, and it’s a big day for us,” said Eccleton about the next event to be hosted.
Eccleton said The Emerald also hosts high school regional championships near the end of May.