Caddie, golf professional, author, collector and charity tournament organizer are roles Ken Janke filled successfully during a lifetime in golf. He also provided the inspiration that resulted in the founding of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.
The Hall of Fame is currently located in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, thanks in large part to a fundraising gift from Janke’s son, Ken Janke Jr., and his wife Kim. It opened in 2019.
When Stan Aldridge began renovating historic Indianwood Golf & Country Club in the early 1980s, he asked Janke for suggestions that would honor golf and Indianwood’s past. Janke proposed a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and Aldridge supported it. Janke organized a selection committee and the first inductees were Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis and Al Watrous. Indianwood was the first home of the Hall of Fame.
Starting major projects was a Janke specialty. He initiated the Walter Hagen Invitational for cancer research, which is regarded as the standard and grandfather of charitable tournaments, and it raised millions of dollars across the U.S. He also helped set up and administer tournaments for the NFL Alumni Association and St. Jude.
He penned four books on golf, and part of his nationally-known book collection was donated to the Hall of Fame by the Janke family. He was also a member of the international Golf Collector’s Society.
A native of Canada, he became a golf professional in the U.S. Army after picking up the game while serving as a caddie at age nine at Plum Hollow Country Club. He was a proud graduate of Michigan State University and served for several years as the Chairman and CEO of the National Association of Investors Corp. The father of three children with his wife Sally (Roach) also authored two book on investing and served on the board of directors for Aflac Inc. from 1989-2010. He died in 2011 at the age of 77.