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Since 2005, the Midnight Golf Program (MGP), a 30-week mentoring experience for urban youth that teaches life skills in addition to the game of golf, has been holding their after-school program on the campus of Marygrove College. Marygrove has offered classrooms as well as a limited practice space for participants to learn how to swing a club.

Marygrove became interested in the MGP as part of its overall Urban Leadership Vision of outreach and service to its surrounding community (see page 2 for more information). MGP’s focus on offering empowering, positive experiences for underserved urban youth made the program a good fit and a partnership developed to help support the program.

Genesis of the Golf Practice Facility

The idea of a golf practice facility unfolded as a result of a relationship Midnight Golf had with Golf Magazine (owned by Time magazine). Time was interested in supporting Detroit programs, and wanted to do a story on the MGP. One thing led to another and the story idea developed into creating a golf practice facility to meet the needs of MGP’s growing youth program. Midnight Golf then approached Marygrove with the idea that locating the golf facility at Marygrove might be a great fit for both organizations.


Marygrove’s Golf Practice Facility, designed by world renowned golf course architect Tom Doak, offers a leading urban land use plan, incorporating golf practice and other athletic facilities on a small urban land track. The practice facility will include four different activity areas, including:

A large practice putting green
  • A large sand bunker
  • Two practice tee areas to accommodate up to 26 hitting bays
  • A  4-hole short course

In total, the practice area will support up to 140 individuals and provide a rotational structure for working through each component of golf skill proficiency. The facility will be constructed with a sensitivity to the current environment—the goal being to minimize uprooting current trees on site. It will be located in the open land space immediately adjacent and to the east of the Marygrove entrance drive and extend eastward toward Greenlawn Street (see Attachment A for a rendering of the facility).

Project cost and funding opportunities

The estimated cost of developing this facility is not yet finalized. Funding for the project is being largely driven by Midnight Golf and is intended to be fully funded for both the development and ongoing maintenance costs (estimated between $30,000 - $40,000/year). Additional partnerships have been developed with several significant funders for ongoing support of the facility and its maintenance.


Founded in 1927 by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Marygrove College has inspired generations of leaders with its gothic chapels, marble entranceways and cathedral spires. Located on the northwest side of Detroit, the 53-acre wooded campus provides the right mix of academic stimulus in a peaceful and inspiring environment while being close enough to the metropolis to benefit from all it has to offer.

Marygrove is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society. The College offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as several certificate and continuing education programs. Marygrove boasts a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio and considers itself to be a small campus with the amenities of a large university. The fundamental purpose of Marygrove College is to educate each student toward intellectual and professional competence; toward career flexibility through grounding in the liberal arts; and toward active compassion and commitment. To this end, Marygrove provides a personalized learning environment which, through excellent teaching in its undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs, sets for its students these goals:  Competence, the ability to understand and participate effectively in the promise of our evolving world; Compassion, the capacity to care about and respect the worth and dignity of people; Commitment, the will to act responsibly based upon one’s beliefs and to contribute to the building of a more just and humane world. Marygrove is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Commitment to Urban Leadership

As a mainstay in Detroit for over 80 years, Marygrove is often host to community events, lectures and performances that draw diverse audiences from the campus and the entire Metropolitan Detroit area. As such, the College is widely recognized for its commitment to the metropolitan Detroit community and has a national reputation for expertise on contemporary social, cultural, political, educational, and economic issues in urban areas. Marygrove attracts and serves students of all faiths who are passionate about engaging these contemporary urban issues. It offers degrees and programs that develop students’ understanding of these issues as well as students’ leadership skills, particularly those skills necessary to lead in urban communities. The College also serves as an institutional leader by undertaking projects related to current issues of significance to the City of Detroit. Both of these roles–developing urban leaders and serving as an institutional leader–capitalize on Marygrove College’s location in the City of Detroit.


The Midnight Golf Program is a 30 week empowering and mentoring experience that teaches life skills including financial literacy, college preparation, community activism, as well as learning to play golf. It is a program that makes a significant difference in the lives of the participants. The mission is to improve underserved young adults’ personal development, educational preparedness, and appreciation of the game of golf.


  • Meets twice weekly – Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Life Skills are taught by business, human service and education professionals.
  • Golf is taught by PGA of America professionals.
  • Adults from all walks of life, generations and experience, volunteer their time to serve as mentors.
  • 351 past participants now attend 60 different colleges and universities across the United States.

There are currently 172 participants: 140 in Detroit and 32 in Miami. Through MGP’s training and the experiences they receive, participants become empowered, socially responsible young adults prepared to maximize their potential and appreciate the game of golf.

Core Values

  1. Empowerment – Providing information and skills that equip young people for success.
  2. Quality – Every activity is performed with excellence.
  3. Respect – Everyone exhibits respect for themselves and others.
  4. Caring – We are concerned and committed to the needs of others.
  5. Accountability – We take responsibility for all that we commit to accomplish.
  6. Integrity – We are honest in our relationships and activities.

Program Benefits

Search Institute has identified 40 specific positive experiences and qualities (developmental assets) that have a tremendous influence on young people’s lives. These 40 building blocks are thought to help youth grow to be healthy, caring and responsible adults. Midnight Golf helps build developmental assets by combining development training so that participants experience:

  • Expanded life choices
  • Improved decision–making skills
  • Less negative environmental impact from family life, crime, teen pregnancy and unemployment
  • Increased self sufficiency
  • Improved job readiness skills
  • Stronger critical thinking skills
  • Improved social skills
  • Positive peer relationships
  • Education enrichment opportunities (GED, community colleges and universities)
  • Knowledge and competency of golf fundamentals
  • Improved physical fitness

Midnight Golf Programs

Financial Literacy Education – This is the largest and most focused programming section offered by Midnight Golf. Money matters are one of the critical factors that impact the success of young people. Understanding the financial complexities that are connected with many of the decisions young people and families face is the reason for the emphasis. The Programming covers financial matters from the financial impact of college, credit, banking, savings and investment. Investment education is demonstrated through a 12-week stock market game.

Personal Development – This programming includes interpersonal communication skills including non-verbal techniques connected with attire, greeting, posture and attitude. Other personal development skills include dining etiquette and writing “thank you” notes. One of the paramount issues is understanding the importance of giving to those less fortunate. Midnight Golf as an organization participates in the HAND network homeless walk in Detroit to help the participants understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of those who have no option. In addition, during the holidays, each participant brings a gift for a teen in a homeless shelter to support fellow teens in need.

Professional Skill Set – Every participant is required to participate in the public speaking contest—producing a three minute speech on the topic of their choice. There is also special emphasis on effective writing required with many college applications. The unique dining and business etiquette that opens and closes many doors are also skills highlighted in this section of the programming. This includes greeting techniques, shaking hands and dressing professionally.

College Preparation – The college preparation section helps participants select their best post-secondary education options by looking at factors such as professional interest, academic thresholds and financial capacity. Parents and students also meet one-on-one with college admissions professionals to help with the FAFSA and review scholarship opportunities. Participants are also directed to post- secondary options that may include vocational training or the military.

Golf – Every participant learns to play golf and is taught by a Class A, PGA professional. They are taught playing and non-playing aspects of the game including history, rules, etiquette, score keeping and equipment maintenance.

Mentors play an important role in maintaining youth participation and ensuring their success. In addition to participating in life skills presentations, mentors offer friendship and counsel and give professional advice on a variety of subjects. Most importantly, they lead focused mentoring sessions called “Tee-Time” to expand the learning provided in the life skills session.

Dinner is a sit-down, three course meal, and participants are encouraged to use the etiquette skills that encompass good conversation and formal manners.

A “Road Trip for Success” College Tour occurs during Easter Week when program participants visit a variety of college campuses. The tour allows youth to become acquainted with college admissions personnel, academic programs and campus life along with world class golf. They also learn about opportunities for colleges and scholarships that are only made evident in person. In addition, the high level of accommodation, cultural and historical exposure that is part of the Tour infuses a level of interpersonal actualization that is rare. This experience is the incentive that motivates the high levels of participation and cooperation and is one of the keys to the success of the Program. It is also the experience that synthesizes the program training.


In addition to Midnight Golf, and through connections with Golf Magazine, the world renowned golf course architect, Tom Doak has committed to providing the Golf Practice Facility design and construction oversight. Tom Doaks has designed over 30 courses worldwide, four of which are rated in the top 100 courses in the world. Mr. Doaks’ firm, Renaissance Golf Design, has provided an initial design concept (based upon a sight visit and input from Marygrove’s architects, Gunnlevine) regarding the integration of this facility into the College’s overall site plan (see Attachment B for the concept rendering and project specifications).


Ken Malecke, Vice President, Institutional Advancement
Office:             (313) 927-1446
Mobile:             (313) 550-7220
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Bill Johnson, Vice President, Finance and Administration
Office:            (313) 927-1226
Mobile:            (248) 202-5723
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Marygrove College8425 West McNichols
Detroit, Michigan 48221


David Gamlin

(313) 664-2046
Midnight Golf Program
P.O. Box 31-1830
Detroit, Michigan 48231

Initial Course Specifications

Practice Tees

  • Constructed of artificial turf to withstand wear and tear
  • Deep enough for 2 or 3 participants to share each hitting bay when necessary
Short Course
  • Artificial turf mat teeing areas
  • Four raised and contoured target green sites connected by a field of close-cropped fairway turf
Sand Bunker
  • Most likely constructed of fill material for drainage reasons 
  • Large enough for approximately four participants 
  • Built with a low-to-moderate high lip for variety in challenge 

Putting Green (TBD)

  • Option 1: USGA specification green: cavity and graded sub-grade, subsurface drainage and a specific soil profile
  • Option 2: Classic “push-up” green, built from native or locally imported soil