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Shanty Creek’s The Legend and Cedar River to host Michigan PGA Championship
by Greg Johnson

BELLAIRE—The state’s club professionals have been trekking north for years to decide several of their championships, in part because some of the world’s finest architects have created championship golf courses for just that purpose.

The club pros are at it again, this time moving to Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire for the 79th Michigan PGA Championship. “It’s a great resort than has always supported us, and they have several fine golf courses,” said Ken Devine, executive director/CEO of the Michigan PGA. “I know our members get excited about playing new golf courses, especially up north where they can bring their families and really make a week of it.”

The pros will make their week of it around the Aug. 21-23, 54-hole competition for a purse of $80,000. The first round will be played on the new Tom Weiskopf-designed Cedar River course, an expansive classic-style course that rolls trough a mix of woodlands and meadows. The second round will be on the ever-popular The Legend course, which has been around for several years since the Arnold Palmer Design Co. fashioned it. And the final round will be back on the Cedar River course.

Rodger Jabara, the director of golf at Shanty and a long-time PGA member, knows his fellow pros like The Legend, and is certain Cedar River will wow them. “You know, people of all playing levels keep walking off the course with the same reaction, as in ‘that was fun,’” Jabara said. “It will challenge them, and they will enjoy it, and that’s what golf is all about.”

The Michigan PGA Championship has been played since 1993 at Boyne Highlands Resort, but via contract will spend at least the next three years at Shanty Creek. It continues to be sponsored by Detroit Newspapers, which has been in that role since 1992. Boyne USA will continue to host the Tournament of Champions and the Taylor Made/Adidas State Pro-Am Championship.

Weiskopf admitted his design was primarily designed for the resort golfer of all playing levels, and that’s part of the reason the course offers multiple tee pads and some friendly wide fairways. But, he cautioned that those planning to play from the back tees at over 7,000 yards, will be challenged. “It’s not penal, but even great players will have to pay attention,” he said during his design work. “This course could host a tournament and be all the players want. It will decide a true champion.”

A field of 230 players is expected, and all of them member pros from around the state. Jabara said they are an attractive audience. “They go home and tell their members and friends what a great golf course we have,” he said. “You can’t buy that kind of advertisement.” Jeff Roth of Flint Golf Club will return to defend his championship. He will be coming off a second to mini-tour standout Scott Hebert in the Michigan Open, and attempting to win his third consecutive Michigan PGA title. Roth is one of the state’s most decorated players, having won almost every major golf event multiple times. Four times he has been the Michigan PGA Player of the Year, and in 1993 was the National Club Pro Champion.

Others expected to make a run at the title include Tom Harding of Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville, the 1997 champion, Brian Cairns of Orchard Lake Country Club, the 1996 champion, Bob Makoski of Copper Creek in Farmington Hills, the 1994 champion, and two-time champions Steve Brady of Oakland Hills Country Club, Barry Redmond of The Polo Fields in Ann Arbor and Ken Allard of Auburn Hills Golf Center.

A player to keep an eye on that week should be Jack Seltzer, the 1988 champion who teaches and directs golf schools at Shanty Creek. Others to watch include Jeff Gniewek of Prestwick Village in Highland, John DalCorobbo of Forest Akers at Michigan State University, Tommy Valentine of Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods and Buddy Whitten of Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids.

Greg Johnson is the golf writer for The Grand Rapids Press.

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