FARMINGTON HILLS – Chris Whitten, the University of Michigan Men’s Head Golf Coach since 2011, has been hired to succeed David Graham as Executive Director of the Golf Association of Michigan.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead and contribute at the Golf Association of Michigan,” Whitten said. “Working with so many people who share the same passion for the game that I do has me truly excited.”
Prior to becoming the Wolverines men’s head golf coach, Whitten was the assistant men’s coach for five years. He was an assistant PGA golf professional at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, prior to starting his coaching career in 2003 as the assistant men’s golf coach at the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater. Whitten is the son of PGA golf professional Buddy Whitten, a former PGA Tour Champions player and member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
“I’m prepared for the challenges that may come from directing a diverse group with various goals,” Whitten said. “I’m excited to partner with the USGA and others serving golf in Michigan, learning from their strategies and goals.”
Whitten grew up in Rockford, Mich., near where his father was the longtime head golf professional at Blythefield Country Club. In addition to learning the physical skills for the game, he said the sport helped him to develop integrity, a strong work ethic and a glass-half-full attitude.
As the head coach at Michigan, Whitten said he concentrated as much on instilling core values in his players as he did in helping them develop golf skills.
“We were preparing young men for life after college through an organized, intentional approach,” he said. “The leadership and management skills I have developed at Michigan will serve me well in my new role as Executive Director of the Golf Association of Michigan.”
GAM Vice-President Chris Angott headed the search committee for the new executive director.
“We are fortunate to have Chris joining our team as our next Executive Director,” Angott said. “His leadership skills and connections within the golf industry will serve our organization well. His background in working with youth will help us continue to connect and reach out to the next generation of golfers in our state.”
As the association celebrates its centennial in 2019, GAM President Sara Wold said she believes Whitten is the right person to lead Michigan’s state golf association into the next 100 years.
“Chris is very bright and extremely personable,” Wold said. “He has an exciting vision for the future of GAM.”
Whitten is in the Rockford High School Hall of Fame and he won the Knute Rockne Scholar Athlete Award at Notre Dame in 2002. He graduated from Notre Dame that same year with a degree in English and was a Cleveland Golf/GCAA All-America Scholar.
“I want to thank President Sara Wold, Vice-President Chris Angott, David Graham, the search committee and all of the Board of Governors for their confidence in me,” Whitten said. “My goals will be to form relationships with as many GAM members as possible, to keep up the great momentum golf already enjoys in our state, and to consistently consider new ways to keep more and more golfers involved with our association.”
Whitten, 39, is succeeding David Graham, who is retiring in June after 18 years as the longest-serving Executive Director in GAM history.
Whitten and his wife Dr. Amy (White) reside in Novi with their two children.