BIG RAPIDS – 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 Over time we hope it will be the place to find the historical lists of champions, historical documents and much more, including video and recorded interviews.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.