Shouts of excitement were heard around the Country Club of Lansing from the second hole. Butch Ellis had just carded his sixth hole-in-one, but this one was different. This one was in front of 14 family members spanning three generations of Ellises.
“It was a real special moment for everybody,” said Ellis. “Even for the younger ones, my wife, my daughter and her husband who weren’t playing golf. It was a big celebration that the whole golf course evidently heard, because after we got back to the clubhouse there were some comments about how vocal the Ellis family was out there!”
Butch is the Ellis family patriarch, better known as ‘Dado,’ a toddler’s take on the Arabic ‘Jido’ for grandfather. PGA Family Cup marked the first time the Ellises played together as a family, including the non-golfing adults and youngest grandkids in tow as spectators.
“I told my grandsons that this was the greatest day in golf I’ve ever had,” Ellis said. “The most important thing is I had my whole family with me. Those that weren’t playing were following us around all nine holes in carts.”
Ellis partnered up with his 13-year-old grandson Elijah, who visits from California every summer. Elijah and his parents even extended their stay so he could finish up PGA Jr. League and play alongside his grandfather in the PGA Family Cup.
“I really feel this kind of event encourages other family members to get involved, versus just going out to hit balls on the range,” said Ellis. “When you get in an organized group event like this, it’s the right ticket… we’re getting our 12- and 9-year-old granddaughters involved in junior golf now because they’ve shown interest.”
Assistant Golf Professional David Chase, PGA, and his fellow Country Club of Lansing pros used the PGA Family Cup event as the cherry on top of their successful summer PGA Jr. League season with over 40 players practicing and competing in-house. It proved more successful than Chase and his staff could imagine.
“The biggest key of our PGA Family Cup was the memories that were created,” said Chase. “Those are memories created at OUR course, not somewhere else.”
Chase and staff set up a very accessible and all-abilities-friendly par 3, nine-hole track. Everyone was off the course in roughly 1½ hours. This meant no complaints about time, families sticking around to eat dinner rather than rushing to leave… and nine chances for a hole-in-one.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the golf shots that Butch Ellis will remember the most.
“I had everybody with me,” he answered when asked about his favorite part of the day. “It wasn’t the hole-in-one. It wasn’t Elijah’s birdie. It was everybody being together.”