GAM Head of Merit Award: Ron Dahlin, GVSU The Meadows
FARMINGTON HILLS – Ron Dahlin, who retired in late December after serving for the past 20 years as chancellor at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, is still working out how to retire.
“I’m slowly recovering from sleep,” he said. “Sure, bedtime is 6:30, but I’m making progress. It’s not 4:30 mornings anymore.”
His early years in the morning and the work he has done has led to him being named the recipient of the 2022 Michigan Golf Association Merit Award.
Darling, 63, follows Albatham, winner of Cascade Hills Golf and Country Club 2021, which is joined by Ted Woehrle, Clem Wolfrom, Fritz McMullen, John Fulling, Jay Eccleton, Steve Cook, Jeff Holmes, The list of winners by including Phil Owen and Paul. Galligan.
“It’s an honor, it’s fantastic,” he said. “In my mind I had people like Clem Wolfrom and John Fulling who got the award, so I didn’t quite notice it at first. It was humbling, a great feather in my hat and a great way to end my career . ”
Dahlin was named Adam Ikamas, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MiGCSA), the organization that helped found Dahlin 15 years ago.
Ikamas said Darling was one of the most involved in all aspects of society. He helped develop the charter and set elements of member outreach, communications, and has served in various roles and on various committees.
“Ron has been an integral part of our work from the beginning,” said Ikamas. “In short, this episode wouldn’t be where it is today without Ron.”
Darling said his retirement began in the building with his wife, KaLee, in a new home in northern Michigan just outside Honor on the Platte River.
“I’m a little worried about not being busy, but with nine acres to look after and a house to build, I should be fine for a while,” he said. “I’ve been married to a wonderful woman for over 30 years, and it’s time for me to spend some time with her.”
KaLee recently retired from Amway after 30 years in research and development, food and nutrition. They have two children, Bryson, 24, who works in construction, and Caitlin, 21, a junior in the Grand Valley Nursing Program.
“It’s high time for us to give up our careers,” said Darling. “We’re young enough and healthy enough to do what we want to do.”
Prior to coming to The Meadows, Dahlin was Valley Course Supervisor at the 36-hole Egyptian Valley Country Club in Ada, where he worked with longtime golf course manager, Jeff Holmes, for 10 years.
Originally from LaSalle, Colorado, he grew up on a farm 50 miles north of Denver. He has spent his career working outdoors, first in weed and pest control, then at age 27 with an undergraduate degree in biology and agriculture, and a masters degree in horticulture and lawn management. He found a career path in lawn and golf management.
“I really think it’s a noble sport and a noble profession,” he said. “The people who work in golf are a great group of people to connect with. They work hard, do their best, have great friendships, and I’m stuck with that. ”
He said working on a golf course on a college campus has been a great experience, and the highlight over the years has been multiple state championships and six NCAA national championships for high school golfers.
“I really enjoyed working with (college) kids,” he said. “I love teaching them what a job is, and some people really enjoy playing golf. The job is to get the best value out of a product every day. I’m so lucky to be in a business like this. I’m so lucky. excited to be moving into another phase of my life, But when I look back, I have no regrets, it’s good for me and my family, and I love going out every morning to watch the sunrise. “