Pondering one summer about how to keep his ski resort employees occupied during the summer, Kircher turned to golf. Those who made snow in the winter stayed and mowed grass in the summer.
Just as he had hired Olympic gold medal winners to head his ski schools at Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, Kircher went for the top name in golf course architecture, Robert Trent Jones.
Jones designed the renowned Heather course with its signature water-fronted 18th green, which was Kircher’s idea. The award-winning course triggered the northern Michigan golf boom, not to mention the current Boyne golf empire of 10 golf courses at three Michigan resorts.
He is regarded as the godfather of Michigan resort golf, and Boyne became the largest family-owned golf operation in the country. His four children all work or have worked in leadership roles in the family resort operations.
Kircher owned a Studebaker auto dealership in Detroit in 1947 when he decided to turn to his first love skiing and make it his next career. With the help of friends, he found property in Northern Michigan near Boyne City where he loved to hunt, fish at ski and decided to build ski hills. A businessman who owned it at the time considered it too steep for farming development and sold it to him for $1.
A Missouri native, Kircher is remembered as a ski and golf pioneer as well as an avid sportsman, inventor and pilot.
He died in January of 2002 in Petoskey. He was 85. In the book “Everett Kircher Michigan Resort Pioneer,” he is quoted as saying: “I’d rather be known as a great fly fisherman.”
Year inducted: 1989