Chuck Kocsis is regarded as Michigan’s greatest amateur golfer. He was born in Pennsylvania, one of 14 children. His family, their farm washed out in the famous 1889 Johnstown Flood, relocated to Redford shortly after he was born. He grew up playing with his fellow Michigan Golf Hall of Fame brothers Sam and Emerick, at Warren Valley Golf Club and caddied at Redford Golf Club.
Kocsis won what was then considered the state high school championships in 1928 and ’29, and at age 17 won the first of a record six Michigan Amateur Championships in 1930. He remains the youngest to have ever won the state amateur title. He also won six Michigan Medal Play titles among the publinxers and won the GAM Championship twice.
He started building his national resume at age 17 when he beat legend Francis Ouimet in the first round of the 1930 U.S. Amateur, which is most famous for being one of the Grand Slam wins of Bobby Jones. He also won three Michigan Open Championships playing against the professionals, and his first was in 1931 at age 18 when he beat Michigan resident Tommy Armour, the reigning British Open champion, in a playoff.
While at the University of Michigan he was team captain and part of four Big Ten championship teams and two NCAA championship teams. He won the individual Big Ten medalist twice, was the top individual in the NCAA Championship in 1936 and played on three Walker Cup teams.
On the national and international stage while working as an automotive sales representative, he played as an amateur in 11 Masters Tournaments and was low amateur in 1952. He also qualified 13 times for the U.S. Open and was low amateur in 1934 and 1937; qualified 15 times for the U.S. Amateur and was runner-up in 1956, was runner-up in the 1948 Mexican Amateur, won three U.S. National Open Seniors championships and four International Senior Championships, including 1970 at Gleneagles in Scotland by an unprecedented 21 shots. He won highly regarded championships in seven decades.
Fellow Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Vartan Kupelian who penned the book “Forever Scratch” about Kocsis called him Michigan’s answer to Bobby Jones. Along with Walter Hagen and Al Watrous he was part of the first class inducted to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
Year inducted: 1982