After 36 years as a golf professional on the west side of Lansing, Chris Mann found himself in unfamiliar waters. He took a management position with Macy’s department store in Grand Rapids. His years of experience included plenty of retail sales, so that wasn’t a big difference. Golf, however, was certainly missing from the equation.
He began to think about the next five to 10 years and what that might look like for him, when a much more familiar opportunity appeared.
Mann was approached by the owners of Maple Brook Golf Course about redeveloping their pro shop, and offering a more complete experience for golfers at the public course in Charlotte.
“Everything really fell into place,” Mann said. “First you have the great history of the Club. You have the connection to the turf management department at MSU. You have the pro shop, and you have the addition of some great food (Grand Grillin).”
The incentives were enough to entice Mann back into the world serving golfers’ needs on nearly every level. Mann’s expertise lies within club fitting, and club repair — two aspects of the game not offered in the area.
Mann said properly fitting clubs to a player’s body type and swing can drastically improve a golfer’s scoring ability.
“The advantage for an average golfer can actually be greater than most think,” Mann said. “So many people are set up with clubs that are the wrong length or have the wrong lie angle. Even grip size can make a big difference.”
Club fitting can be as simple as testing a couple clubs while playing a round of golf to as involved as allowing Mann to schedule a fitting session on the range where he will look at everything from the length and weight of a club to the flex of the shaft, head design and lie angle.
Mann hopes to delve deeper into the club fitting process in the fall as Maple Brook Golf Course plans to install golf simulators in the clubhouse, which will allow for greater swing analysis. Simulators would also open the possibility of indoor golf leagues during the off-season months.
“All of these aspects of the course really work together, from the pro shop to the food,” Mann said. “Each piece feeds off the other, giving folks a real nice experience.”
Maple Brook Golf Course, located at 681 Lansing Street in Charlotte, is open for public play seven days a week. There are several leagues that are held Monday through Thursday, which can limit open play to certain hours, however, Friday through Sundays are completely open.
To set up a tee time, lesson or a club fitting, contact Maple Brook Golf Course at maplebrookgolfclub.com or call (517) 543-1570.