"Golf House Michigan" Announced
by Jack Berry
A longtime dream of Michigan golf officials is taking shape with the announcement of an $8 million fund-raising campaign by the Michigan Golf Foundation.
The goal is a "Golf House Michigan" comprised of a nine-hole executive course, practice and teaching area aimed especially at juniors, headquarters for the Golf Association of Michigan and Michigan Section of the Professional Golfers Association, a museum, library, Hall of Fame and dormitories for clinics and camps.
Dr. Richard Papp, a past president of the GAM, said discussions on a home site began in 1993 but land costs always were a substantial hurdle.
Thanks to the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority, which operates 13 parks and 10 golf courses in southeast Michigan, that hurdle is on the way to being cleared. The Foundation and HCMA are working on a 99-year lease (at $1 a year) for 80 acres adjoining the HCMA's Huron Meadows Golf Course near Brighton.
"We know the value of golf," said HCMA director Frank Sudek. "The Metro Parks have been involved in many learning areas, in wildlife and marshlands and this is a natural."
"This is the largest and most important golf project in the history of the state," Papp said. "It will help to preserve the history and traditions of the game."
The fund-raising campaign_"Keepers of the Game"_is headed by Bob McMasters, a one-time caddie at Red Run Golf Club who went to the University of Michigan on an Evans Caddie Scholarship.
McMasters, partner in a manufacturers' representative business, has been a "can-do" person. Long active in the Evans program, he raised funds for a new Evans House at Michigan State University and recently completed a term as president of the Western Open, Western Amateur and Western Junior championships. McMasters intended to retire next year and play more golf but then was approached to head the fund-raising.
"What we need to get this rolling is a big hitter to donate $1 million, another to donate a half million and four to donate $100,000 each," McMasters said.
The United States Golf Association committed $75,000 to the startup and USGA President F. Morgan Taylor said the organization would provide a $1.5 million interest-free (for three years) loan if requested.
If the fund-raising is successful, construction on the golf course would begin in late 1999 or early 2000 and be completed in 2000. The Hall of Fame, museum and library would be completed in 2002.
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