Golf Community Mourns Michigan Leader Bob McMasters

Robert “Bob” McMasters allowed others to identify him as a caddie, golfer, family man and a guy from Royal Oak, but he would humbly deflect the many other things he was in life.


He was a gentleman philanthropist, fundraiser, trailblazer, salesman, successful business partner at McMasters Koss Co., Michigan Golf Hall of Fame player, rare and historic Red Run Golf Club character, proud Wolverine, renown golf leader on multiple fronts for leading organizations, visionary, mentor, friend, and an endless source of stories and self-effacing one-liners.

“If you have to tell them who you is – then you ain’t,” he would offer with his trademark toothy smile accompanied by an ever-present twinkle in his eye.


Bob was an ultimate golf partner, too. At what he called his now-I-have-some-time senior golf point in his storied life he partnered with the much older Michigan golf legend Chuck Kocsis in competition and a few money matches. As Jack Berry, former Detroit News golf writer and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member put it, they won a lot.


Figure this: They probably have a best-ball going a few ways against a couple of unsuspecting golfers today in the heavens. Robert Leroy McMasters, Jr., passed away in his sleep over the weekend from a recent health issue that was not pandemic related. He was 86.


Bob had caddied for Kocsis at Red Run long before he was his golf partner. Later he would be an Evans Scholar, the first from Red Run, become a great amateur golfer in his own right and eventually a member and president at the club where he had caddied, chairman of the Western Golf Association, president of the Golf Association of Michigan, Chairman of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and in 2002 a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, too.


He’s in the Western Golf Association’s Caddie Hall of Fame as well, and he was so proud and humble about those honors. He would offer a thank you, and of course, a story.


“Did I tell you about the time…?”


When he was elected to the MGHOF new members were asked to make a speech. David Robinson, a Red Run member who became the club’s second chairman of the WGA after Bob, remembered the opening one-liner and that Bob did not like to give speeches.


“As Henry the Eighth said to his sixth wife, this will not take long,” Robinson recalled Bob saying.


Bob regularly joked that his mom wanted him out of the house so he became a caddie at age 8 and in 1952 became the first Red Run caddie to earn the Evans Scholarship. He led a high school state championship team at Royal Oak High in 1951, won a state individual title and qualified for the U.S. Junior Championship in ‘52, became a University of Michigan man, captain of the golf team, and Evans Scholar chapter president.


He played in the Michigan Amateur championship and described it as fighting through qualifying 12 times and being a stroke play co-medalist twice before losing in match play and watching Glenn Johnson or Pete Green or somebody who could hit it like them go on to win.


He played better than he described. He qualified for six United States Golf Association championships, including the U.S. Junior, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Senior Amateur and won many titles at Red Run and elsewhere.

He didn’t just take his swings, however. He served as a Director of the Western Golf Association for 20 years and was the first Michigan native to be elected President. Bob also served the Golf Association of Michigan as a governor for 25 years and was elected president in 1999. He was one of the founders of the Michigan Mid-Amateur Championship, and he received the GAM’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003.


He led efforts to raise significant funds for the Evans Scholar house at the University of Michigan and did the same when he was asked to help the house at Michigan State.


“I’m a Wolverine, but we’re all caddies, blue or green,” he told newspaper reporters.


McMasters also served as President and co-chairman of the Michigan Golf Foundation which oversees the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. In fact, Sara Wold, a past-president of the GAM like Bob and his co-chair with the MGHOF for several years, said the Hall of Fame would probably not exist if not for Bob McMasters.


“From the very beginning he pushed for a foundation, and he had a drive and passion for the Hall of Fame, the history of the game in our state,” Wold said. “If he had a passion for something you could be sure he would follow through with activities and generosity. He was always willing to do the best thing for golf, and he was a great family man, just a wonderful guy.”


Michigan Golf Hall of Famer Pete Green called Bob a good friend for a long time through golf. Bob persuaded Pete to get involved with the Evans chapter in Michigan and called on him to be chairman.


“I was busy with my company, our kids were young, so I told him I would do it on one condition – that I get to have a co-chairman,” Green recalled. “He said that was fine and asked me who I had in mind. I said you.”

Green said he is perhaps proudest that in working with Bob they persuaded the Evans houses to revamp and become coed so that the female caddies could feel a part of the program in the full manner.


“He got things done, got the money raised, whatever it took,” Green said. “He used his own checkbook, too.”


In 1995 Green won his fourth Michigan Amateur Championship in a remarkable fourth decade as a competitor, and McMasters came calling in 1996.


“He was chairman of the WGA and he made it possible for me as Michigan Amateur champion to get an exemption into the Western (Amateur),” Green said. “I hadn’t played in it for several years, but with the exemption I told him sure. Then, he was involved in setting up the pairings for the first two rounds (of stroke play) and he asked me who I would like to play with. I told him Tiger Woods not thinking it would happen, and Raymond Floyd’s son (Robert) because I had played with Raymond back in the day. So I go play and I got to play two rounds with those guys. That’s the kind of thing Bob would make happen – special things you will never forget.”


David Graham, the executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan who retired in 2019, called McMasters a tremendous advocate of the Evans Scholars and Michigan golf.


“He was also a leader and mentor for many, including myself,” he said. “We had many one-on-one lunches over the years and we would talk about the history of the GAM, the foundation, Youth on Course and the hopes for the future. He truly made a difference in all those things and he was such a bigger-than-life man. I think of him as one of the guys, that gosh, you hope to grow up and one day be like him.”


Terry Moore, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, golf writer and former editor of Michigan Golfer magazine called Bob inspirational.

“He was an almost larger than life figure,” he said. “He seemingly did it all after growing up as caddie and becoming a championship golfer. I treasure my time working with him on the MGHOF committee where his leadership and sense of humor always shined. He was the consummate golf volunteer, ever dedicated to the good of the game.”


Moore said the MGHOF is indebted to his preservation of the legacy makers of the game in Michigan.


“I always liked his apt quote on why he was so supportive of Ferris State University becoming the new home of the MGHOF (Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center): “Individuals may come and go but an institution like a university lasts forever.”


Berry, who like Bob was one of the original members of the MGHOF board and interviewed him for tournament stories, WGA stories and Hall of Fame stories and videos via the Detroit News and Michigan Golfer, called him the absolute greatest volunteer I’ve ever known.


“Go through all the alphabet organizations, the GAM, the WGA, if they needed something done, he was the guy who got it done,” Berry said. “On top of that he was a wonderful man, a great personality. I remember that picture he had of him presenting a trophy to Tiger when Bob was president of the WGA. Bob was so proud of being part of that, and of being part of the Caddie Hall of Fame, too.”


David Robinson, who eventually became the second Michigan golfer to chair the WGA, met Bob as a Red Run member. Bob went on to become what he called his role model and a mentor who made historic contributions and told countless golf stories.


“He was a giant of the Evans Scholar program not only in Michigan, but nationally,” Robinson said. “He was one of the first Evans alumni to really start giving back in a significant way, and since he has inspired a few generations of Evans alums to dedicate themselves to giving back. We’re now over $200 million that has been donated by alums over the history of the program and Bob truly inspired that giving. Ask anybody, it was hard to say no to that man.”


Jeff Harrison, a WGA staff member since 1990 and currently the senior vice-president of advisory and special initiatives, native of Southfield and a former caddie at Birmingham Country Club as well as an Evans Scholar, said people don’t realize how rare it is for someone to start as a caddie, become an Evans Scholar and then one day become a member and eventually the president of the same private golf club.


“He was selfless in support of Red Run and the Evans Scholarship program in Michigan, he was truly a self-made man, dedicated to his work, his family and the golf community. Really, he was second-to-none in those things and a role model for so many of us who grew up as caddies.”


Loretta Larkin has served as the do-everything administrator for the MGHOF for several years. She noted that Bob recently donated funds for a historical records section to be developed on the MGHOF website, and in Red Run’s name donated significant funds for the Ken Janke Jr. Golf and Learning Center at Ferris.


She said, however, the true essence of Bob McMasters is that he was a caring person at his core.


“I worked with him for a long time and he did so much for the Hall of Fame, but he also became a great friend to so many people, including me,” she said. “He never forgot a thank you, would write nice notes and he would call me often when I was going through a difficult time in my personal life. He always reassured me that everything was going to be okay and that I would come out a stronger person. Bob truly cared about people, about his friends.”


Visitation, funeral information is available at www.desmondfunderalhome.com


See Jack Berry’s interview with him for Michigan Golfer from several years ago at https://bit.ly/2NLhRNL


Read about his recent donation to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame at GAM.org


Bob McMasters Donates Funds for Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Historical Project

Bob McMasters Donates Funds for Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Historical Project

Golf Association of Michigan past president and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF) member Robert “Bob” McMasters has donated funds for the creation of a historical collection of data to be digitally housed on the hall of fame’s website.


“One of my long-term goals as a MGHOF board member and chairman over the years was to create a place for all of Michigan’s championship golf records to be chronicled and kept in one place,” McMasters said. “As time went by I realized the MGHOF website was the proper place for it, and I also knew it would take funding to make it happen.”


McMasters, a long-time board member, former chairman of the MGHOF and former president of the Michigan Golf Foundation (MGF) as well as a standout amateur golfer asked that the amount of the donation not be disclosed.

“I’m not doing this for any credit or anything like that,” said the 86-year-old former Detroit area businessman and Royal Oak Golf Club member who now lives in Gaylord.


“I just feel Michigan has this great history of tournament golf that needs to be in one place. The best golfers in the world have played and won tournaments in Michigan. If you love the game like I do, that’s interesting history and worth preserving.”


Greg Johnson, the current chairman of the MGHOF and president of the MGF, said work by board members and MGHOF Administrator Loretta Larkin is underway on the project.


“We are planning to collect data and connect to existing data with Michigan golf associations so that we have, if possible, comprehensive lists of all the significant championships played in Michigan for over the last 100 years,” he said. “Bob’s funds will allow us to fund some research time as well as advance our website technology and server storage to preserve the historical collection. Over time we hope it will be the place to find the historical lists of champions, historical documents and much more, including video and recorded interviews. Bob’s vision and work have kept the Hall of Fame viable for years, and now his funds will help keep Michigan’s golf history alive as well.”

The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques, and memorabilia that commemorate the finest players and contributors to golf in our state, including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Ben Davis and Shirley Spork and more contemporary notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon, and Kelly Robbins. The collection is housed and displayed in the Ken Janke Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club in Big Rapids.


The Hall of Fame is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit MGF (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 members representing state golf associations and media outlets.

McMasters was elected to the MGHOF in 2002 for his distinguished playing record and leadership with the GAM, the Western Golf Association (WGA) and the Evans Scholar Program.


He caddied as a youngster at Red Run, was a member of the Royal Oak High School state championship golf team of 1951 and in 1952 was the Michigan High School individual champion and a qualifier for the U.S. Junior Championship. He went on to be a two-time captain of the University of Michigan golf team, president of the Evans Scholar Chapter, qualified for the Michigan Amateur 12 times, played in six USGA Championships including the U.S. Senior Open and was a director of the WGA for 20 years as well as being the first Michigan person to serve as president.


He served the GAM for 25 years and was president in 1999. He received the GAM’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003.

“Bob is the perfect example of a great gentleman and golfer,” Johnson said. “He has given more to the game than he ever received, though he does not look at it that way. He has been a prominent witness and a playing part of the history he wants us to preserve, and his tireless efforts over the years have directly impacted the existence of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.”


Johnson said the MGHOF is asking Michigan’s golf audience and historians to provide historical records they feel should be included in the data collection. Contact the MGHOF through the website mghof.org.

Michigan Golf Community Mourns Vartan Kupelian

In his final writing piece before retiring from The Detroit News in 2008 Vartan Kupelian wrote that there was no looking back.

“It was a great run but it’s time to move on,” he said in the “Behind the Scenes” column he wrote with Mike O’Hara, who retired on the same day.

“It’s true that when you have a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

As a golf writer then for the Grand Rapids Press and competitor of Kupelian on the golf beat, I joked with him about that column when we played together a month or so later in a Golf Association of Michigan outing.

I told him nobody had ever accused him of working. He laughed, sort of. Then he bet me $2 three ways and beat me by about 10 shots. With a smile as we left the 18th green and I paid up he suggested I might need to work on my game.

Vartan, who died Thursday after battling heart issues and diabetes, is in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, and also served for several years on the MGHOF committee. He is also an honorary Golf Association of Michigan governor who also served as a communication committee chairman for six years.

He followed my mentor Jack Berry on the golf beat at The Detroit News, but I had known him several years at that point dating to my student days at Michigan State when he covered the Spartans.

On the golf beat I played a lot of early morning golf with him in a lot of nice places before working at tournaments. He didn’t talk a lot on the course, but I figured one day we had become friends when he invited me to play a round of golf with him and the daughter he often talked about, Lisa.

None of us played all that well that day, but Vartan was smiling especially when I praised one of Lisa’s shots. He was in his happy place.

In 2019 Vartan helped me and fellow Michigan Golf Hall of Fame committee members Jack Berry and Terry Moore edit biographies of the members of the hall. I had Vartan, Jack and Terry, inductees all, work on their own.

He sent it back the next day. It was cleaned up in Vartan style: comprehensively and quickly. He was never one to sweat a deadline. I worked in the same press rooms for golf, the NHL, NBA, MLB, MSU and more over the years, and I remember he was always packing up and leaving as I labored on.

He was elected to the MGHOF in 2014 and his bio follows:

Vartan Kupelian covered his first major golf championship in 1973 – Johnny Miller’s historic U.S. Open triumph at Oakmont Country Club. In the next 40 years, he covered more than 100 major championship across all tours.

A graduate of Wayne State University, Vartan began covering sports for The Detroit News, eventually becoming the hockey beat writer covering Red Wings hockey. His career included covering five Olympic Games, both Summer and Winter in five countries, and covering every major sporting event in the United States, including Super Bowls, Stanley Cup playoffs, the World Series and NBA finals before transitioning to writing golf full-time in 1994.

In 2009, he was elected to serve a two-year term as president of the Golf Writers Association of America, a group of 1,000 journalists from around the world.

As journalism changed, Vartan kept pace, becoming a lead writer for Masters.com, a weekly columnist at PGATOUR.com, Champions Tour Insider, Senior Correspondent for the Global Golf Post and Equipment Editor of PGA Magazine. As a radio/TV personality Vartan has appeared on the Golf Channel, CNN, BBC, and many local TV and radio shows across the country.

He is a recipient of the Golf Association of Michigan’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award.

Vartan and I shared many friends and connections. They reached out as they heard Thursday of his passing.

David Graham, retired executive director of the GAM for 18 years, called Vartan a great friend of golf in Michigan.

“During my time in running the GAM he was an extraordinary journalist who always asked good questions and wrote well thought out stories about the business,” he said. “I was so proud to be at the ceremony at the Masters when he became the president of the (Golf Writers Association of America). He was truly a credit to us from Michigan. He was a total professional who understood how to tell a good story and not make himself the story. He was a credit to the profession of journalism.”

Kevin Helm, executive director for the Michigan Section PGA, said he was sorry to hear of his passing.

“The world of sports journalism has lost a great one. Vartan was a tremendous friend to the Michigan PGA and the entire golf world and he will be sorely missed.”

O’Hara, his column writing partner at the The Detroit News, and a longtime Lions beat coverage guy, took to Twitter with a perfect Tweet.

“A sense of personal loss with the passing of Vartan Kupelian,” he wrote. “We worked together dating to our days at Wayne State’s Daily Collegian, and as partners on a column with The Detroit News. We left The News on the same day in 2008 and remained friends. None better than Vartan. RIP.”

Michael Patrick Shiels, radio host of The Big Show heard on a state-wide network, author and travel and golf writer, took to Facebook with photo of him with Vartan at The Masters.

Shiels wrote: “God rest my beloved friend and mentor Vartan Kupelian and comfort Betty and his loyal daughter Lisa. He literally led me to a writing career and around the golf world.”

Shiels also shared his thoughts via phone: “To this day I think of Vartan every time I am on the tee standing over a drive because he would always encourage me by saying, ‘Just get the hole started.’ It’s a great philosophy for life as well – from a calm, wise gentleman.”

The golfers reacted on social media and with personal messages, too. Michigan Golf Hall of Famers Jack Seltzer and Jeff Roth were among them. He knew many golfers from around the world and penned four books, including a notable one on Michigan golf legend Chuck Kocsis.

The GAM is in touch with the Kupelian family and we will pass along celebration of life information as we receive it

MICHIGAN GOLF HALL OF FAME INDUCTION MOVED TO 2021

  BIG RAPIDS – The induction of the 2020 class to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame will be rescheduled for 2021.

  Originally scheduled for Saturday, June 6, 2020 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, the induction was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns with the hope that a fall ceremony could be presented. The MGHOF Committee voted Thursday to work on presenting the 2020 class as the 2021 class and not elect another class in 2021.

  “We will induct what is now the 2021 class next June provided we don’t have some of the same public health issues we face at this time,” Greg Johnson, chairman of the MGHOF said. “Facilities at the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center, the home of our Hall of Fame, remain closed as part of Ferris State University, and we feel it is in the best interests of all involved to follow current health guidelines and stay safe.”

  In February the class was announced. It includes David Graham, former executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan, Holt’s Julie Massa, a dominant senior golfer, Bay City’s Roy Schultheiss, a winner of both the Michigan Amateur and the GAM Championship, and Dick Stewart, a celebrated former head PGA golf professional at Kalamazoo Country Club.

  “The inductees will have their day, their induction, but at this point we are mindful of their health and the health of their friends, loved ones and the greater golf community who would be part of the celebration,” Johnson said.

  The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates 127 members, including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Walter Burkemo, Shirley Spork and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins. The collection is housed and displayed in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke facility. The late Ken Janke Sr. is both a co-founder and a member of the MGHOF.

  The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 people representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also accomplishments of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game.

  For more information and to learn about the current members of the Hall of Fame, visit mghof.org, or contact MGHOF Administrator Loretta Larkin at llarkin@michigan-golf-foundation.com, 248-719-0650. 

MGHOF RAFFLE: Seven Winners Named

CONGRATULATE THE WINNERS:

  1. Scott Bohlen, Hartland
  2. Matthew Magnotte, Clinton Township
  3. Mike Gwasdacus, Hudsonville
  4. Wendy Burlingham, Kalamazoo
  5. Brian LeFevre, Ypsilanti
  6. John Jessup, Traverse City
  7. Guy Golomb, Schoolcraft

The drawing was held today, June 6, per our state raffle license. All proceeds fund the Michigan Golf Foundation, which administers the selection of the inductees and produces the MGHOF displays in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course. Prizes not available for 2020 will be delivered in 2021 with help from the MGHOF Committee and gracious donors.

The seven winners drawn in one through seven order will choose in that order, for example winner No. 1 makes a choice, and then six prizes remain to No. 2 to choose from and so on.

THEY WILL CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING PRIZES:

•             Golf for 3 at Crystal Downs CC with a member of Crystal Downs.

•             Golf for 3 at Detroit GC with a member of DGC.

•             Golf for 4 at Country Club of Jackson.

•             Golf for 4 at Birmingham CC.

•             4 tickets to the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield CC and golf for four at Blythefield.

•             4 tickets to the Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills CC and golf for four at Warwick Hills.

•             Harbor Shores Golf Package.

Thank you to all participants for supporting the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

MGHOF Mourning Larry Adderley, A Voice For Sports In Michigan

The Hall of Fame learned recently of Larry Adderley’s passing.
He was one of the founding members of the MGHOF Committee in 1982 and served through 2018 when he withdrew because of his health.
Dementia was his final health battle, and due to his wishes, his family did not have a memorial, create an obituary or make a public announcement. He was cremated after passing Dec. 20, 2019. He was 82.
“He never wanted a big deal made about him,” his wife Linda said this week. “He was private and proud, and he missed his golf trips, especially the ones up north, and we would laugh and tell stories about the golfers, the people we met and things they said.”
Adderley is remembered as a broadcaster in the Detroit market for WXYZ-TV, his radio and television work for the Detroit Tigers and being involved with his longtime friend Jim Brandstatter with the original Michigan Replay TV Shows at the University of Michigan.
A must-see is his creative 1976 jogging interview with legendary coach Bo Schembechler following the coach’s heart surgery:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1MVLGjClsw
“I spent a lot of time with Larry, and he was just a great guy, a great professional and very talented,” Brandstatter said. “The last time I visited him, about a year ago now, we had a great talk, shared some memories. I’m so glad we went to see him that day.”
After his broadcasting career in Detroit, Adderley developed and was the talent for the Michigan Golf Network. He covered major Michigan golf tournaments, including Michigan PGA events in addition to the Buick Open and other tour events, and provided live and taped reports to radio stations across the state. He wasn’t timid with his questions. He was always prepared.
Tim Hygh, CEO of Mackinac Island Tourism, coordinated press and media coverage of Michigan Section PGA major championships for 20 years across the state as a summer sideline while working in the radio industry. Larry’s Michigan Golf Network was part of the package.
“Larry brought a tinge of glamour to our traveling media centers,” Hygh said. “He was the silver fox with the beautiful wife who made the most of being on the road. Tales of their wonderful dinners with exotic wines were always welcomed to start another sunup to sunrise tournament day.
“Larry kept adapting to an ever-changing world of radio so that names like Roth, Brady, Erskine and Gillis were known all over Michigan. For us, we’ll have a lasting memory of Larry working in the corner of a quiet media center, hunched over his laptop and recorder with cheaters and earphones on, then clearing his throat and saying: ‘In 3-2-1…’”
Larry could also be seen golfing on television sets at Michigan golf resorts for years, usually in resort marketing productions interviewing and or playing with the head golf professionals of courses and talking about the merits of the resorts. He did voice work for radio and some television commercials, too.
As a founding committee member at the Hall of Fame, he would volunteer to bring in friends and fellow broadcasters to serve as master of ceremonies for annual induction events. He would grudgingly though seamlessly fill in when needed.
He loved to play golf, though he would lament his skill level even as he often played better than others in the group.
Larry, a resident of Edmore when he passed away, was from Beverly Hills in the Detroit area and a Michigan State graduate in communications. A gifted athlete, he was a walk-on to the football team while a student at MSU.
“Let’s put it this way, I was confused with Herb Adderley only in last name references,” he said when pressed to talk about the experience.
He was a proud and critical fan of the Spartans, a season-ticket holder, alumni club member and we often partnered in charity and media golf outings.
He would call sometimes just to talk sports, especially golf or the Spartans, and he had the perfect broadcasting voice that immediately identified him.
He was the voice of Michigan golf for several years, and he was always the best-dressed guy in the room.
Rest in peace Adds.
-Greg Johnson, chairman MGHOF

Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Induction Postponed

  The induction of the 2020 class to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, originally scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, has been postponed.

  The Hall of Fame Committee is exploring options including possibly rescheduling for later in the year.

  Katke Golf Club and its facilities, including the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center that houses the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, is currently closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus.

   In February the class was announced. It includes David Graham, former executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan, Holt’s Julie Massa, a dominant senior golfer, Bay City’s Roy Schultheiss, a winner of both the Michigan Amateur and the GAM Championship, and Dick Stewart, a celebrated former head PGA golf professional at Kalamazoo Country Club.

  “The inductees will have their day, their induction, but at this point we are mindful of their health and the health of their friends, loved ones and the greater golf community who would be part of the celebration,” Greg Johnson, chairman of the MGHOF, said.

  For information, contact MGHOF Administrator Loretta Larkin at llarkin@michigan-golf-foundation.com, 248-719-0650. Learn about the Hall of Fame at mghof.org

Fabulous Foursome Elected to Michigan Golf Hall of Fame

BIG RAPIDS –  David Graham, former executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan, Holt’s Julie Massa, a dominant senior golfer, Bay City’s Roy Schultheiss, a winner of both the Michigan Amateur and the GAM Championship, and Dick Stewart, a celebrated former head PGA golf professional at Kalamazoo Country Club, have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF).

  The induction celebration is planned for Saturday, June 6, at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, home of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center that houses the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. The 2019 class will bring the number of inductees to 131.

  “This fabulous foursome reflects the best of Michigan golf in playing ability, leadership, service and character,” Greg Johnson, MGHOF committee chairman, said in announcing the 2020 class. “Mark your calendars now to come help us celebrate in June at the Hall of Fame.”

  Graham, who is 63 and recently moved to Pinehurst, N.C., from Lake Orion, retired in 2019 after serving as the GAM’s executive director for 18 years, which was the longest tenure of an executive in the 100-year history of the association. He is credited by the GAM for having designed and implemented a successful turnaround of the association from near bankruptcy in 2001. Increased membership of clubs, golfers, tournament offerings and participation, creation of programs and events and the launching of the GAM Foundation and its work with Youth on Course are among his many contributions and accomplishments.

  Massa, 56, is a native of Oregon and former Oregon Women’s Amateur Champion who played collegiate golf at Arizona State University. She has been a Holt resident since 1989 and has won 14 times in GAM championships, including two GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur titles and two Michigan Women’s Senior Amateur titles, and has been named the GAM Senior Women’s Player of the Year for five consecutive seasons including 2019. Over the years she has played in 20 United States Golf Association (USGA) national championships, including the U.S. Women’s Amateur twice, the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur nine times, and the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur five times.

  Schultheiss, 64, was dominant in the Bay City area and on the state amateur golf scene in the 1980s and 90s when he collected titles in the Michigan Amateur in 1984, the GAM Championship in 1990 and ’95 and was the 1991 GAM Mid-Amateur winner. He has qualified for match play 17 times in the Michigan Amateur over the years and was GAM Player of the Year in 1984. He has played well on the national level, too, having competed in five USGA national championships, including the U.S. Amateur three times in 1980, ’90 and ’91. He played in two U.S. Mid-Amateur Champions and made it through to match play each time. He won two rounds of matches in 1991. 

  Stewart, 67, retired in 2018 after 40 years as the head golf professional at Kalamazoo Country Club. A native of Petoskey, Stewart was elected to the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame in 2018. He is a seven-time winner of the Michigan PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award, which recognizes  the PGA professional who best demonstrates exceptional character, integrity and leadership in mentoring others, and he is also a two-time winner of the Horton Smith Award, which honors PGA professionals for helping to educate other professionals. A former Michigan PGA president, he has helped place 22 former assistants in head professional positions across the country and helped train 4,000 caddies via the KCC program.

  The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates 127 members, including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins. The collection is housed and displayed in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke facility. The late Ken Janke Sr. is co-founder and a member of the MGHOF.

  The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 people representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also accomplishments of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game. For more information and to learn about the current members of the Hall of Fame, visit mghof.org.

INFORMATION CONTACT: Loretta Larkin, MGHOF administrator, llarkin@michigan-golf-foundation.com248-719-0650.

INDUCTEE PHOTOS AVAILABLE: Contact Greg Johnson, gregeeee24@gmail.com616-560-8995

New Website Launch Part of Big Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Weekend

BIG RAPIDS – A new class, a new website, a new home and raffle winners make for a big Michigan Golf Hall of Fame weekend ahead.

Go now to www.mghof.org to see the new official website of the Hall of Fame.

Go to http://events.eventease.com/mghof/ and order tickets before the Friday night deadline for a chance to win six great golf prizes in The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Raffle. The drawing is Saturday.

As previously announced, the class of the late George Bayer, Ron Beurmann, Bernie Friedrich and Al Mengert will be inducted Sunday evening to the Hall of Fame, now housed in the new Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club. In addition, the Golf Association of Michigan will receive a special award marking its centennial year of providing services to Michigan golf.

“We have a lot to celebrate this weekend, a new home that will allow us to grow and thrive in a great golf and learning environment, a new website that serves as a source for Michigan golf history, and especially our 2019 class of the Hall of Fame and the Golf Association of Michigan,” Greg Johnson, chairman of the MGHOF, said.

“We are proud the center is named for Ken Janke Sr., our Hall of Fame co-founder. He was a man of vision who loved the game of golf, and his son, Ken and Ken’s wife Kim, honored this project with a great financial gift to help bring life to his vision. It’s a great weekend for the Hall of Fame, a great weekend for Ferris State University, a great weekend for the Janke family and so many other wonderful donors, and a great weekend for golf in Michigan.”

The new website, mghof.org, includes updated biographies of the 123 current members of the Hall of Fame as well as other information.

The weekend is centered around the induction of Bayer, a former Detroit Golf Club head professional and PGA Tour player, Beurmann, head professional at Country Club of Jackson, Friedrich, senior vice-president of golf operations and resort sales for Boyne Resorts, and Mengert, a former Oakland Hills Country Club head professional. They will bring the Hall of Fame’s membership to 127.

The special award going to the Golf Association of Michigan is just the fourth special award presented in the Hall of Fame’s history.

The Hall of Fame Raffle proceeds go to the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation, which funds the Hall of Fame. The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 people representing the state’s primary golf associations as well as media.

CONTACTS: MGHOF Administrator Loretta Larkin at llarkin@michigan-golf-foundation.com or 248-719-0650. Greg Johnson, chairman, at greggie24@hotmail.com or 616-560-8995.

INFORMATION: www.mghof.org

Foursome Elected to Michigan Golf Hall of Fame; Golf Association of Michigan Honored

 BIG RAPIDS –  The late George Bayer, a former Detroit Golf Club head professional and PGA Tour player, Ron Beurmann, head professional at Country Club of Jackson, Bernie Friedrich, senior vice-president of golf operations and resort sales for Boyne Resorts, and Al Mengert, a former Oakland Hills Country Club head professional, have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF).

 In addition, the MGHOF has elected to present just its fourth Special Award in history to the Golf Association of Michigan, which in 2019 is celebrating its centennial year of service to the game.

 The induction celebration is planned for Sunday, June 2, at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, home of the new Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center which will soon house the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. The 2019 class will bring the number of inductees to 127.

 Bayer, who died in 2003 in California at the age of 77, was once one of golf’s longest drivers and won four times on the PGA Tour between 1957 and 1960. He was the head golf professional at Detroit Golf Club for 12 years (1972-1983). Prior to becoming a golf professional at age 29, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Bayer was an All-American college football tackle and end for the University of Washington and was drafted and played briefly in the NFL. The native of Bremerton, Wash., was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. While working at Detroit Golf Club he was the winner of the 1973 Michigan Open Championship.

 Beurmann, 58, has been the head professional at CC of Jackson for 26 years, and one of the Michigan PGA Section’s top golfers. He won the Michigan PGA Professional Championship in 2010, and the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship in 1998, and has also won a Michigan PGA Senior Championship (2013) and two Michigan Senior Open Championship titles in (2012, ’13). He was the Michigan PGA Player of the Year in 2004, the Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2014 and twice has been the Michigan PGA Merchandiser of the Year (1998, 2008). He has also mentored caddies, including 25 who became Evans Scholars.

 Friedrich, 66, has worked for Boyne Resorts for 44 years and currently oversees a staff of over 200 employees in agronomy, course and golf shop operations for 12 golf courses, including 10 at three resorts in Michigan and one course each at resorts in Maine and Montana. He is a two-time Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year (1998, 2001), a four-time Michigan PGA Resort Merchandizer of the Year and has served in various capacities with The First Tee of Northern Michigan, the Michigan Golf Course Association and the Michigan PGA Section. He is also co-founder and a leader of the annual Harbor Cup golf event, which has raised over $400,000 for charitable food projects in Northern Michigan.

 Mengert, 89 and a resident of Carefree, Ariz., was a club professional who also played on the PGA Tour. He worked at many notable clubs, including Oakland Hills Country Club as head professional from 1976 to ’86. He won the 1976 and 1980 Michigan PGA Professional Championships, three Michigan Senior PGA Professional titles (1980, ’83, ‘86)  and two Michigan Senior Open titles (’83 and ’85) as well as several other PGA section titles from around the country. He was a top-ranked amateur when he lost in the final match of the 1952 U.S. Amateur to Jack Westland. He worked as a club professional for steady income, yet played in 27 Grand Slam major championships, including nine U.S Opens and eight Masters Tournaments. The U.S. Air Force veteran was also the host professional at Oakland Hills for the 1979 PGA Championship, the 1981 U.S. Senior Open and the 1985 U.S. Open.

  The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates 123 members, including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins. The collection will soon be housed and displayed in the new Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke facility. The late Ken Janke Sr. is co-founder and a member of the MGHOF.

  The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 people representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also accomplishments of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game.

MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Johnson, chairman MGHOF, 616-560-8995, greggie24@hotmail.com