James. D. Standish Jr. was a champion golfer and a golf leader at the state, national and international levels, and his two sons, James III and John, have also contributed greatly to Michigan golf. Standish won four Michigan Amateur Championship titles between 1909 and 1924, including three of the first 10 played. He was perhaps the state’s first dominant amateur and was the first to win the Michigan Amateur and the Detroit District/GAM Championship in the same year (1924). He won the amateur championship of Austria twice (1908, ’09) while traveling with is family and won the prestigious North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, N.C. in 1909 at the age of 18. He was also runner-up twice (1914, ’15) in the nationally prominent Western Amateur Championship presented by the Western Golf Association.
His service to golf is unparalleled in state history. He was president of the Detroit District, the forerunner to the Golf Association of Michigan from 1937 to ’47, which is the longest tenure as president in the association’s history. He was an executive committee member of the United States Golf Association and in 1950 and ’51 he served as president of the USGA. As president, he presented the U.S. Open trophy to Ben Hogan after the historic 1951 Open at Oakland Hills Country Club. He also helped create the United States Amateur Public Links Championship to help open competitive channels in golf to more players.
His sons followed in his footsteps in service to the game. James III served as the first executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan for 14 years. In 1993, John, the second son and second of three children, served the Golf Association of Michigan as president for two years, and he has carried on what his father helped start with Western Golf Association’s legend Chick Evans in presenting Evans Scholarships to deserving Michigan caddies. The outstanding Evans Scholars each year at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are awarded James D. Standish Jr. Awards.
In 1929 he was made a life member of the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews. He died in 1967 at the age of 76.