Street Talk: Is the fairway always greener on the other side?


On the heels of overseeing one of the most successful LPGA events this year, Blythefield director of golf and club operations Patti Butcher is hanging up her spikes.

Sort of.

Butcher, who guided Blythefield’s successful emergence from the Great Recession by turning the club into more than just a place to golf — and then capped that recovery with last month’s LPGA Meijer Classic — told members of Downtown Rotary last week she will be finishing up her obligations at Blythefield soon and striking out on her own.

The next stage of her career will include golf with an entrepreneurial twist, she said, but she was cagey when questioned by Rotarians for more details.

What will be happening soon is that Butcher will collaborate with Susan Lovell, former owner of the Cadence newspaper in East Grand Rapids, on a book she hopes to complete by the first quarter of 2015. (Working title: “Lessons Learned While Giving Lessons.”)

Hopefully, the book will include some anecdotes from the Meijer Classic, including why LPGA pro Paula Creamer had security following within 20 paces of wherever she went (reportedly, one of the tour’s most popular players holds four restraining orders against “overzealous” fans), and just how much it really cost to get a foursome in this year’s pro-am event (we heard the least expensive foursome was a cool $15,000; some were well over $100,000).

Athletic aesthetics

High fashion meets high flyers this week when 25 male athletes take part in Grand Rapids’ first All-Star Couture Fashion Show as part of an effort to raise awareness of the city’s independently owned men’s clothing stores.

The event tips off at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12, at Downtown Market, where the athletes will display the latest in everything from sportswear to black tie attire.

This isn’t an ordinary fashion show, however; it’s a basketball game themed, action-packed show featuring DJ Kung, special “half time” performances, and a cocktail hour sponsored by the law firm Drew Cooper and Anding.

AmerAsian Productions is planning the show, which aims to bring the community closer while uniting small independent businesses, local bands, artists and stylists.

The outdoor event is open to the public. The show is being built from the ground up and will feature an impressive 60-foot stage, entertainment from host T-Drew, live performances by local artist Nina Vocals, and plenty of chair and bleacher seating as well as standing room.

Both college and professional athletes will strut their stuff, including former stars such as MSU’s Drew Neitzel and Austin Thornton, U-M’s Kelvin Grady and Davenport’s Javontae Ford, among others. The athletes will model a variety of fashions from local stores such as Reynolds & Sons and Jurgens & Holtvluwer.

Tickets range from $25 to $60 and are available through

Forward, march

Maybe this will bring in a whole new bunch of Civil War enthusiasts.

Historic Van Raalte Farm again is hosting Holland Museum’s annual Civil War re-enactment extravaganza, Sept. 20-21 — and this year there’s beer!

But not just any beer because that wouldn’t be historically correct, and participants are sticklers about that.

This year New Holland Brewing Co. will brew a special batch of beer for what is officially known as the 2014 Holland Civil War Muster. The beer will be a porter that is true to the style and time period, and will be served out of real ale casks inside what’s known as the Emerald Peacock traveling Civil War bar, where soldiers will be seen resting their feet and raising a glass of ale to victory.

This year’s event will focus on battles from the summer of 1864, including the Battle of Atlanta.

The free event features two days’ worth of music, impressions of historical figures, performances, medical scenarios, period-style vendors and battle scenes.

No word yet on whether Brett VanderKamp has agreed to play the role of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman during the weekend’s festivities.

Be seated

On Sunday, Sept. 14, 25 artists from the West Michigan area will submit the chairs they have decorated for the live auction benefit event Chair Affair 2014, to be held in November.

This year’s Chair Affair event will be the fourth of its kind to benefit Arts in Motion Studio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing expressive arts classes and exhibition opportunities to individuals with disabilities, according to Chloe Viening-Butler, AMS board president.

Chair Affair will be held at Richard App Gallery, 910 Cherry St. SE, from 6-10 p.m., Nov. 8. Twenty-five creatively hand-decorated adult chairs and 10 children's chairs will be auctioned off to an audience of approximately 200 people. 

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature music, dance performances, catered appetizers, and both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

The Sept. 14 drop-off event, from 1-4 p.m. at Arts in Motion Studio, 147 Diamond Ave. SE in the Blackport Building, will be an opportunity to preview the chairs, meet the artists, and hear some of the touching and important stories each chair comes with. The drop-off event is also free and open to the public, she said.

Song leader

Entertainment and the business world don’t always cross paths, but when they do, the results are sometimes spectacular.

Touching and enhancing girls’ lives through music has been the mission of the Girls Choral Academy since 1997. Led by executive and artistic director Lori Tennenhouse, GCA is a Grand Rapids nonprofit that focuses on using music to help girls all across West Michigan through choirs, inner-city school programs, music testing and camps.

Committed to the ideal of equal opportunity in a positive environment, GCA strives to recruit and train young women from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Its musical repertoire reflects that commitment, including works of the masters from many traditions and the ethnic music of assorted cultures.

Today, the 200 singers who participate in the GCA choirs are students of public, private, charter, parochial and home schools. GCA’s nine choirs include six tuition-based choirs and three after-school program choirs grouped by age level; they perform three major concerts each school year. Since its founding, more than 2,000 area girls have participated.

From 5:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11, GCA will hold its annual benefit concert. This year, GCA will present the 2014 Giving Girls a Voice Award to Jeanne Englehart.

Englehart has been a transformative leader in the lives of many women by mentoring them to overcome their limitations, meet new challenges and change their lives. And because of the little-known fact that Englehart is a tap dancer, the theme of this year’s event is “Tapping Into Leadership.”

Funds raised during the event at Goei Center will be contributed to GCA’s Give Girls a Voice program. Tickets are $75 and available by contacting Julie Morrow at

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