First Tee West Michigan hires Muskegon-area director

Erik Sanford Courtesy FIrst Tee West Michigan

First Tee West Michigan hired Erik Sanford as its first Muskegon-area director.

A Muskegon native, Sanford was a four-time all-state golfer at Whitehall High School. He led his school to four state final appearances. After graduating, he played golf at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

His hiring was made possible by a gift in honor of Gordy Scripps, a Norton Shores resident and Muskegon Country Club member who passed away in 2019.

“We’re thrilled to have Erik as our first director in Muskegon,” Executive Director Tyler Smies said. “His background working with youth from all walks of life, along with his passion and skill for golf, make him the ideal fit for this role. We can’t wait to see the impact he’ll make on young people in Muskegon.”

The golf participation rate in Muskegon County has increased 40% between 2018 and 2019. In addition to teaching golf lessons, lead coaches Terri Clock and Greg Heath have used the game of golf to teach 200 students life skills and First Tee West Michigan’s nine core values. More than half of students in Muskegon County receive scholarships to participate due to family income.

In addition to the Muskegon locations, First Tee West Michigan has locations in Grand Rapids, Grandville and Holland. The organization works with more than 1,200 youth annually at 15 area golf courses.

Weekday sessions are available from April through October with PLAYer, Advanced PLAYer and Par Level programs offered.

To register a participant between the ages of 7-17, visit

First Tee West Michigan works with more than 1,200 youth annually at 15 area golf courses, including Bent Pine Golf Course, Muskegon Country Club, Oak Ridge Golf Course, Stonegate Golf Club and University Park Golf Course.

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