Contributed by Doug Johnson, with additional notes from Max Slisher
We were founded in the fall of 2005 by Max Slisher, Bill Klerekoper, Bob Hitesman, and Doug Johnson. Max and Doug came up with the idea after playing for a year with a West Ottawa group. Bill and Bob were consulted and contributed enthusiasm, knowledge, and experiences in other golf groups. We were the first foursome of Good Friends Golfing.
The Objective of the group was to play the best golf courses available to us within a 75-minute drive of Holland. The first courses were identified and selected from a list of the best golf courses in West Michigan published in the Grand Rapids Press.
Members of the West Ottawa golf group were contacted and about 12-16 members of the group joined the new GFG golf group. We were limited to 24 players by the golf courses for the first years; we usually had about that number of players.
Doug Johnson was the organizer until about 2012 and Bill Klerekoper ($2.00 Bill) was the treasurer from the beginning until about 2017.
Jim Walsh became the organizer about 2012.
Brad Bright, Ron LoPresti, Bill Peak and Doug Johnson became the organizing group in 2019. We moved into the technology age with online communication and signups thanks to Brad Bright, with the golf course negotiations done by Ron LoPresti, hospitality/food negotiations by Bill Peak, and Doug Johnson as treasurer. In 2021, Mark Mills took over Bill Peak's role, and Bob Wassick took over Brad Bright's role.
Good Friends Golfing has several organizing principles
I. Play the best courses available at a reasonable price
II. We are a fun golfing group
III. We are a social group, which means that we do the following things:
At first, we collected $2.00 to cover the cost of prize money for the winners of the day and for the two group celebrations each year. I do not remember when we changed to $3.00, but the reason was to increase the weekly prize money and the increased cost of the group celebrations. We deliberately made the weekly winning team's prize money insignificant so that the emphasis was on fun and the social good will.
The fun little things that players do to others in their foursome, the trash talk and banter… I remember Bill Peak talking some trash talk with Mike Ciofu and that resulted in Bill bringing a dress for Mike the next week, and Mike wore the dress for part of the golf round.
Tom Dykema would trash talk Tony Martinez. Jim Walsh would banter with almost everyone; he would run over your ball in the fairway.
One week Steve Magennis's group won and when asked to tell a joke or a story, he launched into a long poem (Irish, I think) that he recited from heart. Very impressive,
GOOD FRIENDS HAVING GOOD FUN PLAYING GOLF WITH FRIENDS -
ONE OF THE BLESSINGS OF LIFE
“TO GOLF OR NOT TO GOLF? -- WHAT A SILLY QUESTION!”