We've Got Mail
Dear Mr. McCafferty:
First of all, let me congratulate you on your fine article in Michigan Golfer on Michigan golf history. You've done a marvelous job of documenting what is to most people "old news". I'm particularly happy to see that Michigan Golfer has seen the light and has decided to pursue informing the Michigan golfing public that golf does in fact have a histroy.
As an avid golfer, amateur historian and collector of antique golf clubs and memorbilia, I applaud your efforts in informing us of our history. I have gained great enjoyment from researching our local clubs and discovering older golf courses throughout the state as venues for hickory-shafted golf. As a member of the Golf Collectors Society, I have had the opportunity to learn about golf's golden age and have become dedicated to playing with antique clubs as an important part of my golf season. Your golf histroy points out some new venues for our play.
I received my copy of the June 1999 Michigan Golfer only recently and had not seen the previous issue in which you may have written an earlier chapter of this history. Is there a previous chapter? If so, I would appreciate having a copy. I am looking forward with great anticipation to your next installment as the 1920's is the era in which most of the golf which I so admire was played and golf courses developed.
As you requested in your note at the end of the article, I am also writing to help set the record straight. I have been a member of the Donald Ross Society for several years and have recently come across some information which I think will be helpful in setting the Ross record in Michigan right. In Grand Rapids there were two golf courses that have become confused: The Highland Golf Club and Highland Park GC. Highland Park was apparently opened in 1928 on College Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, 10/24/28. Highland Park was a 9 hole "miniature" course measuring 1087 yards and was designed by a Mr. Gork, who was apparently a Parks and Rec. employee. This course no longer exists and as far as the written record goes, was not a Ross course. It must have been confused with The Highlands.
The Highland Country Club was founded in 1908 at a downtown location in Grand Rapids and moved to it's present location in 1914 with an opening day of Aug. 14, 1915 with Jack Daray as professional. Originally a Tom Bendelow layout, Donald Ross was called in in the 1920's to add 9 holes and to redo the entire golf course. It was apparently redone again by Mr. Deray a few years later and probably only retains the routing and a few of Ross' features. This course did close for a time in 1943 in bankruptcy, but reopened in 1945. The course was purchased later by the Grand Rapids Elks lodge and remains today as The Highlands GC a private club run my the Elks and for 8 years was home to the Senior PGA Greater Grand Rapids Open later the Fisrt of America Classic and now the Foremost Insurance Classic.
I hope that this helps clear up the mystery of the Highlands/Highland Park.
Thanks again for the fine article. If you do have a previous chapter, please send me one if you would. My address is: Roger Hill 2875 Cascade Springs Dr., SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
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