If you want to golf at some of the best courses in Michigan, you should call Kelli Beattie.
She’s the sales coordinator for Southern Swing, which is like being a travel agent. She’ll set you up with tee times, accommodations and restaurant reservations in Southwest Michigan.
But first, you should ask her about her animals.
“Have you ever seen a fat goat run?” Kelli asked. “It’s really funny, because their legs are so stiff.”
That would be Tommy, the goat who thinks he’s a dog. And then there’s Gill, the dog who is trying to liberate all of the socks in the house, and who is always herding the other members of Kelli’s menagerie.
Her passions are her small farm, her family, summer and cooking. She’s a CPR instructor, certified EMT and volunteer firefighter with the Johnstown Township Fire Department.
Jay Gladstone, director of sales for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, says one reason she’s good at her job is because she likes to take care of people.
“She’s really personable, she understands the golf business and she works well with the golf groups,” he said.
The two first met while working at Yarrow, when Kelli was a conference service manager and golf coordinator. But booking golfers and planning events wasn’t all she did.
“I was one of those employees, that if I had to bartend, I bartended. If I had to wait tables, I waited tables. If I had to carry bags, I carried bags; clean golf carts, snack shop, front desk. Pretty much everything,” Kelli said.
Golf runs in Kelli’s family. As a kid, she went to the Marshall Country Club with her grandparents all the time.
“My grandpa always bought me a Snickers and a Cherry Coke. That was fun, too,” she said.
She remembers what a privilege it was to be allowed to drive the golf cart.
Visit the golf course today and there’s a plaque dedicated to her grandfather where she once played in the water, searching for frogs and lost golf balls.
A memorial for David Mestemaker is located in the pond between holes 14 and 15.
When Yarrow closed, Kelli stayed on for the new property owners but was looking for a new job. That’s when Jay called her about Southern Swing, in 2018. She was back in the golf business.
In a little over a year, Kelli has made a difference. Paperwork is down and sales are up.
“Nose to the grindstone every day and she takes pride in her work,” Jay said.
According to him, her only downside is her terrible taste in choosing beer.
The first thing Kelli had to do in her new job was build bridges with people, which is one of her greatest assets. She likes to joke that she wants to make sure she’s not dealing with a serial killer, but she is genuinely interested in people, asking questions and listening carefully.
The golf-organizing part of it is second nature to her now.
“They contact me and all they have to do is show up because I book everything for them,” she said.
It takes a lot of sticky notes to keep all the details straight.
“You should see my trash when I empty it, that’s all it is, is a sticky note pile.”
Kelli likes the CCVB environment, although she has had to adjust her mindset from a business to a nonprofit. Instead of making money for one place, she’s trying to raise the water for everyone.
“We’re bringing people to town to spend money,” she explained.
So give Kelli a call. Ask her about her goat and her dogs and her chickens. Then find out what a great golf trip in Southern Michigan can be.