In Apr. 26 issue, Russell County News
by Greg Wells
Managing EditorABOVE: Mike LaFrance has been chipping in at The Links with years of knowledge in all aspects of the golf business. His wife, Beth LaFrance is an experienced artist in several fields.
As captain of the University of Notre Dame golf team, Mike LaFrance might have had a promising career on the professional golf tour but he decided to join the golf business.
“I didn’t go on tour but I loved the people and golf,” said Mike LaFrance.
The Links at Lily Creek now boasts the only Professional Golfer’s Association of America golf professional at a Russell County golf course.
A 30 year PGA member, LaFrance has experience in the varied requirements of running a golf course. His plan is to bring more business to The Links at Lily Creek by focusing on promotion.
“Golfing locals know where they can play,” said LaFrance. “My goal is to get the word out so that visitors know the golf course is here.”
He gave an example of two women golf sales representatives who told him they recently vacationed at Jamestown Marina but drove to Somerset to go golfing.
“We know vacationers are coming and we want to get them to play golf here at The Links at Lily Creek,” he said.
LaFrance says the course will partner with local businesses to offer stay and play promotional packages for vacationers and fishermen.
His plan also includes connecting with golfers by signing on with an internet marketing company, Cypress Golf, to host a new website for the course and book tee times and golf packages online.
LaFrance expects delivery and set up of a new computer system and software provided by Cypress Golf by early May.
Once the new computer system is in place, he says they will begin to establish a player list to keep golfers informed on happenings at the course.
“We want to make things better for locals when they come in,” said LaFrance. “We plan to host Couples Night on Fridays and start golf leagues with local companies.”
Women are a main market for golf and that draws in the husbands and families to play.
“We want to attract and welcome couples here at our course,” said LaFrance. “Women’s participation is welcome here.”
The Ladies Golf Instruction class at The Links at Lily Creek, currently has 13 members.
LaFrance says he enjoys playing golf with his wife Beth LaFrance.
High school sweethearts, Mike and Beth LaFrance will celebrate 35 years of marriage in May.
“I still think he’s better than sliced bread,” said Beth LaFrance.
The couple has two daughters and two grandchildren, Aimee and husband Gene Shin and their two children of Indianapolis, In. and J’nai and husband Woody Cochran of Dayton, Oh. who are expecting their first child in May.
Beth LaFrance says friends of their daughters would ask, “We know your dad is a golf pro but what does your mother do?” Their answer was always simply, “She lives creatively.”
“My company is On Gossamer Wings,” Beth LaFrance said. “I do fantasy children’s rooms, murals, oil paintings and mini watercolors among other things.”
She says she’s painted murals of everything from jungles, an underwater coral reef and themes from popular children’s books to a vineyard surrounding a Jacuzzi and palm trees in an assisted living home of a lady who once lived in Florida.
“She can do whatever the person wants,” said Mike LaFrance.
The artist often completes her room make-overs, that may have begun with paintings or a mural, with three dimensional designs, upholstery and window treatments.
Currently, she has just completed five commissioned oil paintings.
Four of the paintings are based on British author Brian Jacques’ Redwall series of adventure books and are destined to don the walls of a young Indianapolis boy’s room.
She says she would like to gravitate more toward individual oil paintings on canvas.
“I love the oils – the feel of the brush against the canvas, the movement of the canvas and the smell of the paint – the entire experience of oil painting,” said Beth LaFrance.
Before landing in Jamestown, Beth LaFrance worked in design and taught art in public and private schools. She also has theatre and opera experience.
The many faceted Beth LaFrance continues her varied and creative lifestyle today enjoying not only painting but also sewing, gardening, golf and swimming.
“I always wanted to take a lot of nothing and make it into something,” said Beth LaFrance.
Natives of Michigan, the LaFrances have lived in five states during the course of their married life. They moved to Jamestown from Indianapolis, In.
“I grew up a five minute walk from Lake Michigan,” said Beth LaFrance. “That’s part of why this area is so nice. It’s like northern Michigan without the cold.”
They both say they are enjoying the slower paced, relaxed atmosphere of the area. Jamestown is small, they said, but it has some nice things to offer and everyone has been very friendly.
For additional information, contact Mike LaFrance at The Links at Lily Creek 343-4653. Contact Beth LaFrance at 765-480-8127 for more information regarding On Gossamer Wings.