50 Years of The Chamber Open

50 Years of The Chamber Open! 9

Last month, we celebrated half a century of Chamber Golf Outings with our 50th Annual Chamber Open.

A lot has changed in our community in 50 years. Grand Rapids’ population has grown by almost a quarter million people and we’ve become a city filled a diverse group of people and businesses from every sector. Throughout all of that growth, we’ve remained committed to creating great connections in the Grand Rapids business community with events like The Chamber Open.

Golf outings like The Chamber Open give an opportunity for networking in calmer environment while enjoying the outdoors. This has kept The Chamber Open popular for the last five decades.

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“This event has a following. The membership has said loud and clear they love this event,” said Mark Allen, Director of Business Services for the Grand Rapids Chamber.

Allen serves as the Chamber’s point person for The Chamber Open, and has been working the event since he started with the Chamber 13 years ago. “By the end of the day, I’m exhausted, but it feels great,” he said.

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This year’s event was hosted at Watermark Country Club and brought together almost 200 community leaders and businesses excited for a chance to network and play 18 holes of golf. The sun came out and it made for a great event. Here’s what some of the attendees said:

“A great event to bring together the community and make connections.”

“Great atmosphere that just is missing in other outings I’ve done. Everything from breakfast to having the DJ playing the entire time was great.”

“Well run outing, today! The staff was incredible! Plenty of food and drinks too!”

“Great golf outing and thank you for your hard work in putting together this fun event.”

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Making sure that a sponsor is on every hole is part of what sets The Chamber Open apart and makes the event a success, according to Allen.

“Having the sponsors on the hole helps create networking and fun contests that are different. There could be a corn hole competition dartboard, or a cookie monster challenge. It’s fun and engaging.”

Food sponsors were also added to the course five year ago, a very popular change that has been well received by golfers. Between multiple food vendors, activities from sponsors to keep play exciting, and fun extras like door prizes and a live DJ this year keep The Chamber Open one of our most popular events.

“To know there’s a following of people that look for this and plan for this every year. It shows we’re listening to our members,” said Allen.

Planning is already taking place for next year’s Chamber Open. Allen is hoping to share dates soon, but he says golfers can keep their eyes on July of 2023. One of the Chamber’s longest traditions shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.


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