Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Michigan Golf History 1971-1980
By Art McCafferty

On the international scene of the ‘70s the American team continued to dominate Great Britain, winning all five Ryder Cup matches. They also pocketed a number of British Opens as Tom Watson won three times, Lee Trevino twice and Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf each claiming one victory. The only non-Americans to break through were Seve Ballesteros and Gary Player.

On the national scene, it was all Jack Nicklaus as he took two U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships and two Masters. Australian David Graham won the 1979 PGA Championship held at Oakland Hills. JoAnne Carter, Hollis Stacey and Susie Berning each won the U.S. Women’s Open twice.

In Michigan, Dan Pohl and Randy Erskine were clearly the Michigan players of the decade as they were featured on countless leader boards. Pohl won the Michigan Amateur twice and Erskine, along with John Grace, Robert Chapman, Rodney Sumpter, Michael Hurley, John Morse, Peter Green and Steve Maddalena, each won it once. At the Michigan Open, Erskine was to win three times while his buddy, Lynn Janson, won it twice. Long-hitting George Bayer, Tom Deaton, Ted Kondratko, Ron Fox and Bob Ackerman III each won the Michigan Open. Al Mengart won the Michigan PGA twice in the ‘70s with John Molenda, Larry Mancour, Glenn Stuart, Ron Aleks, Gene Bone, Buddy Whitten, Erskine and Janson each posting single wins.

Michigan built 40 new courses in the ‘70s with the Matthews clan continuing their monopoly of the business. However, the ‘70s also saw the rise of William Newcomb as a designer. Newcomb, who played the Masters as an amateur and later served as the coach of the University of Michigan golf team, has become one of Michigan’s best known architects. Pete Dye was Newcomb’s early mentor in the field, as both worked on the University of Michigan’s Radrick Farms course. Newcomb became heavily involved with Everett Kircher and they began to build what is now one of the foremost golf resorts in the Midwest. The Newcomb/Kircher team built the Alpine, Donald Ross and Monument courses at Boyne Mountain and the Highlands. Newcomb also went on to build the Crystal Mountain courses, the Glacier Club, Spruce Run at Grand Traverse Resort, Great Oaks, Tanglewood, Travis Pointe and the Polo Fields, to name a few. His latest creation, Calderone Farms, will open late this summer. Bay Valley Resort brought in some out-of-towners as Desmond Muirhead and Jack Nicklaus collaborated on its course. The East Course of Gull Lake was built by Charles Scott, a first step in the creation of the Gull Lake View collection of courses and the Scott family dynasty.


Antrim Dells GC, Ellsworth. Designed by Bruce & Jerry Matthews (Second nine in
Coldwater CC, Coldwater. Designed by Robert Beard
Edgewood Hills GC, Renamed Hidden Oaks, Saint Louis. Designed by Jerry Matthews
(New nine1999)
Lakes of the North, Mancelona. W. Bruce Matthews
Ledge Meadows GC, Grand Ledge. Designed by Jim Troy
Wicker Hills GC, Hale. Designed by Bill Baker and Andy Anderson
Wilderness Valley GC, Gaylord. Designed by Al Watrous.


Alpine at Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Falls. Designed by William Newcomb.
Birch Point GC, Saint Helen. Designed by Jerry Von See
Creek/Meadows Course at Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville. Designed by Bob Meyer
Fernhill Golf & CC, Clinton Township
Fruitport CC, Muskegon. Designed by Dennis & Davis Snider
Hartland Glen GC North Course, Hartland;.Designed by Kevin Sustick
Godwin Glen, South Lyon. W.Bruce and Jerry Matthews


Arrowhead GC, Caro
Bay Valley Hotel & Resort, Bay City. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and Desmond
Brookwood GC, Rochester Hills. Designed by William Newcomb
Century Oaks GC, Elkton. Designed by James Madison
Cherrywood GC, Ottawa Lake. Designed by Bob Wall
Country Meadows GC, Escanaba. Designed by Leo Degrand
Deer Run GC, Lowell
English Hills GC, Walker. Designed by Mark DeVries (Jerry Matthews designed the
back nine which was added in 1985)
Resort Lawton GC, Lawton. Designed by Joe Marks


Birchwood Farms Golf & CC, Harbor Springs. Designed by Jerry Matthews
Brae Side GC, Rockford
Gull Lake View GC East Course, Augusta;.Designed by Charles Scott
St. Clair Shores GC, St. Clair Shores; Designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Shores GC, Shelby. Designed by Warner Bowen
Willow Tree GC, Melvin. Designed by Frank Winarski


Blue Bird/Red Fox Course at Cheshire Hills, Allegan. Designed by Herb Johnson
E M S Links, Sandusky
Leaning Tree GC, Goodells
Moor at Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs. Designed by William Newcomb


Cedar Creek GC, Battle Creek. Designed by Warner Bowen
Concord Hills GC, Concord. Designed by William Newcomb.


Sugar Springs, Baldwin. Designed by W. Bruce & Jerry Matthews
Willow Metropark GC, New Boston


Beech Woods GC, Southfield
Centennial Acres, Sunfield. Designed by Warner Bowen (Redesigned by Warner Bowen in 1986, new nine in 1998)
Spruce Run Course at Grand Traverse Resort, Acme. Designed by William Newcomb


Cedar Hills GC, Traverse City
Falcon Head, Big Rapids. W.Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Westland Municipal GC, Westland; Designed by William Newcomb.

A tip of the tam to Jerry Ecker for catching my latest bogie on the history series. He correctly indicated that I had left out the fact that Benton Harbor’s Point O’Woods CC was launched in 1957. Course architect, the great Robert Trent Jones Sr.


“I caddied at Lochmoor Country Club in the 60’s when Charles “Chick” Rutan was the head pro. I enjoy looking at these history lessons on Michigan golf courses. Keep up the good work.”

—Dave Loersch

Please contact me with any corrections or additions at artmccaf@glsp.com
—Art McCafferty

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