Industry News

Boyne Golf staff honored in landmark maintenance Apprenticeship Program

Michigan Department of LEO recognizes Michael Flatt, Russell Smascz and MGCA with Champion Award

HARBOR SPRINGS, MI - Michael Flatt and Russell Smascz, members of the BOYNE Golf maintenance staff, have been honored with Recognition of Completion certificates by the Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA) for their participation last year in a landmark golf course maintenance Registered Apprenticeship program held at The Highlands at Harbor Springs Resort.

In the last year, the MGCA, in coordination with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Labor, created and implemented the new Golf Course Maintenance Technician Registered Apprenticeship program. Through the Registered Apprenticeship Program, interested candidates can further their agronomy education, work alongside field experts to gain on-the-job learning, and gain a national occupation credential.


Josh Richter, the senior vice-president of golf operations for Boyne Golf, which includes The Highlands, accepted the certificates of completion for Flatt and Smascz during the recent MGCA Awards Banquet that was part of the 2023 Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek.

Richter called the apprenticeship program impactful in helping golf course operations seek and train people interested in a golf course maintenance career.

 “Boyne is proud to be involved with a program that, in such a positive way, helps address the labor shortage in the golf industry,” he said.

Scott Jedele, State Administrative Manager, Apprenticeship Expansion at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, attended the Awards Banquet and honored the MGCA with the “Race to Talent™ with Registered Apprenticeship” CHAMPION Award. This award is given by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to recognize organizations who grow critically needed talent across the state using the Registered Apprenticeship Program training model. 

18th Hole, The Heather at Boyne Highlands Resort
We had them prep this beautiful scene by first mowing the fairway and rough to get the clean look you seen. This was all in anticipation of capturing this photo with an Inspire 1 pro just after sunrise. I wanted to take the drone up high enough so that I could capture the hole and the hills in the distance

The training model is proven to accelerate right-skills development while ensuring the highest level of safety and return on investment. Use of the model benefits employers, jobseekers, communities and the state. MGCA’s development, promotion and implementation of the Golf Course Maintenance Technician Registered Apprenticeship program is helping members grow the specific talent they need, while providing a way for apprentices working in the program to be recognized for the specialized skills they gain during the training. Those efforts boost both the careers of the apprentices and their employer’s success.

“To implement this in the last year and have apprentices complete the program is impressive on a national scale,” Jedele said. “MGCA is being recognized as a ‘Champion of Champions’ for their leadership in using the training model to develop highly skilled workers in Michigan.”

Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA, said this initiative cultivates the specific talents essential for our members while providing a recognized pathway for apprentices to best utilize their specialized skills. 

“As the MGCA continues to be the 'voice of Michigan golf business,' we extend our gratitude to our members like Jim Szilagyi, MGCA 2023 Vice-President and 2024 President and owner of Lynx Golf Club in Otsego, and industry partners including the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America,” she said. “Together, we propel careers, enhance skills, and contribute to the enduring success of the Michigan golfing community.

“Workforce issues are significant in the golf industry and part of a solution is helping people see the variety of opportunities that exist within the Michigan golf industry. We have 800 courses in Michigan and with opportunities like this there are opportunities to present to young people the range of possible careers in the agronomic, restaurant, lodging, hospitality, and tourism parts of our industry.”

To learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship Golf Course Maintenance Technician Program, visit


For group photos click below:

About Michigan Golf Course Association As the “Voice of Michigan Golf Business” the MGCA mission statement is to promote and preserve the best interest of the Michigan golf industry. MGCA members are owners and operators of golf courses in Michigan.

About BOYNE Golf

Boyne Golf has been named one of North America's "Premier Resorts" (Gold) by GOLF Magazine.

Bay Harbor Golf Club and the Inn at Bay Harbor are Boyne Resorts' flagship Michigan properties, set along the stunning Lake Michigan shoreline. They feature 45-holes including three golf course combinations designed by Arthur Hills (Links/Quarry, Quarry/Preserve, and Preserve/Links), along with the scenic Crooked Tree Golf Club.  The Inn at Bay Harbor is a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel combining luxe comfort with gracious hospitality.

The Highlands, rated the No. 1 Golf Resort for Value by, features 72 holes of premier golf design. The Heather, the 2019 NGCOA Course of the Year, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., while the Hills Course was crafted by Arthur Hills. The Donald Ross Memorial is a rendition of the legendary architect’s great holes from around the country, and The Moor course was recently updated. The Highlands is the perfect buddy trip destination for golfers who like to play as many holes as they can during the long summer daylight hours that northern Michigan features.

Boyne Mountain not only features two fun 18-hole courses (The Monument and The Alpine), along with the charming Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa, it is also the leading family-friendly golf destination in the region with the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, junior golf camps, and various kid golf programs. Golf Digest named Boyne Mountain one of its “Top-10 Destinations for Family Golf Trips.”

For more information, visit

Media Contacts:


Ken Griffin

Director of Golf Sales and Marketing

p: (231) 439-4939

c: (231) 838-3222

Kevin Frisch PR

Kevin Frisch

(989) 614-0241

Carl Mickelson

(512) 797-2673