Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Michigan Golf History: 1961-1970
By Art McCafferty

The 1960s proved to be a transitional decade for golf in America, the biggest reason being the emergence of The King, Arnold Palmer. Long live The King. The popularity of Arnold, who according to his biographer, James Dodson, “played the game like a bar room brawl,” brought the game from the country club to the common person. Arnie’s Army on the golf course, and the other divisions watching him in front of first a black-and-white and then a color TV, were responsible for the serious boom in golf. Courses in this country increased one per day during the decade, going from 6,300 to 10,000. The growth of golf has continued; today we have 25,000 courses in 80 countries, with 50 million people playing.

Palmer, some scribes say, saved the British Open with his dramatic Royal Birkdale win in 1961. The 1960’s also saw, Bob Charles, Champagne Tony Lema, Peter Thomson, Jack Nicklaus (twice) and Gary Player become part of the British Open lore. However, Great Britain continued to be completely overwhelmed in the game it invented, as the United States beat its best five times in the Ryder Cup during the 1960’s, the closest match being a tie at Royal Birkdale in 1969.

At home, the U.S. Open was won by Gene Littler at our own Oakland Hills in 1961. During the decade, a who’s who of golf stepped up and claimed the Open, with Jack Nicklaus winning twice, and Ken Venturi, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Orville Moody, Tony Jacklin and Julius Boros each winning once. Palmer, who had won in dramatic fashion at Cherry Hill in 1960, finished second on three different occasions.

Those grabbing PGA victories in the 1960’s were Jerry Barber, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Nichols, Dave Marr, Al Geiberger, Don January, Julius Boros, Ray Floyd and Dave Stockton.

In the Masters, the names of those who won are still revered today, with Nicklaus winning it thrice, Palmer twice and Brewer, Goalby, Geiberger, Archer and Casper each grabbing one green jacket.

The U.S. Women’s Open was won twice by Mickey Wright, twice by Donna Caponi followed by single victories for Carol Mann, Murie Lindstrom, Mary Mills, Sandra Suzich, and Susie Berning winning her first of three and Catherine Lacoste of France.

The “Caucasian Clause” was removed from the PGA constitution in 1961, thus opening up the organization to minorities. This change led to two 1960’s victories for Charlie Sifford, at the Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angelus Open in 1969. Pete Brown won the Negro National Open in 1961 and 1962 and then later won on the PGA tour in the 1970’s with victories at the Waco Turner and the Andy Williams San Diego Open. In the 1960’s, Lee Elder battled Jack Nicklaus in a playoff at the American Golf Classic only to lose on the fifth extra hole. He had won 18 of 22 United Golfers Association tournaments the year before he went on the tour. He was to win six years later at Monsanto and ultimately achieved additional fame as the first African American to play at the Masters. In the 1960s Detroit’s own Calvin Peete picked up his first club at the ripe old age of 23. He will, of course, be heard from later.

In 1970, a group of contractors got together to form Golf Course Builders Association of America.

In Michigan, the Michigan PGA Championship was won twice by Dick Bury, now a fixture at Carl’s Golfland. Mike Souchak, Gene Bone and Brien Charter also were victors during the 1960’s. The Michigan Open Championship featured wins by John Barnum, Gene Bone (twice), Mike Souchak, Walter Burkemo and John Molenda. The Michigan Amateur was won twice by Melvin (Bud) Stevens and once each by Glenn Johnson, Mike Andonian, Douglas Hankey, Robert Meyer, William Newcomb, Lynn Janson, Peter Green and Dennis Vass.

During the decade, the team of W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews continued to pump out the courses by designing and building approximately 30 courses.

Harley Hodges was also hard at work designing five Michigan courses. And William Newcomb, would continue his amateur play all the way to the Masters and finally, collaborate with Pete Dye as they began their careers as golf course architect .

Probably the biggest story of the decade in golf course design was the building of the Heather course at Boyne Highlands. Signing Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to design a course in northern Michigan was one of many great ideas that came from Everett Kircher, certainly one of Michigan’s most famous entrepreneurs.


Alpena CC, Alpena; designed by Bruce Matthews
Birchwood GC, Howard City
Fellows Creek GC/East and South, Canton; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Hampshire CC, Dowagiac; designed by Larry Packard
Pine River, Alma; W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Royal Scot GC, Lansing; designed by Thingstad and Ray Hearn
Salem GC, Northville; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Scott Lake CC, Comstock Park; designed by Jerry Matthews


Burr Oak GC, Parma
Burning Oak GC, Roscommon
Byron Hills, Byron Center; designed by Bernie Ellis
Clio GC, Clio
Deme Acres GC, Petersburg
El Dorado GC, Walled Lake; designed by Walt Lorang
Hickory Hills GC, Jackson; designed by William Newcomb
Olde Mill GC, Schoolcraft; designed by Reggie Saugers
Pine Lake GC, Haslett; designed by Bob Wilkens
Pleasant Hills GC, Mount Pleasant
Somerset GC, Troy
Spruce Ridge GC, Dowagiac; designed by Robert Hemmingway
Sunnybrook GC/Orange, Sterling Heights; designed by Al Lopez
West Ottawa GC,/Blue and Red, Holland; designed by W.Bruce Matthews.
Willow Ridge GC, Fort Gratiot; designed by L.G. Panpinaw.


Ann Arbor CC, Ann Arbor; designed by William Newcomb
Arrowhead GC, Lowell; designed by Eugene Kay
Caseville GC, Caseville; designed by Al Kipfer
Chippewa Hills CC, Durand
Crestview GC, Zeeland; designed by Bill Austhof.
Davison CC, Davison
Drummond Island GC, Drummond Island; designed by Jerold R. Gabel
Gladwin Heights GC, Gladwin; designed by Ernie Kirkowski
Grand Ledge CC, Grand Ledge
Highland Hills GC, Dewitt; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
L.E. Kaufman GC, Wyoming; designed by W.Bruce Matthews
Maple Leaf GC/East-North, Linwood; designed by Robert W. Bills and
Donald L. Childs,
North designed by Randy Jezowski
Oxford Hills Golf and CC, Oxford
Raisin River GC, Monroe
Rustic Glen GC, Saline; second nine designed by Harley and Greg Hodges 1999
Salem Hills GC, Northville; designed by W.Bruce and Jerry Matthews
San Marino Municipal, Farmington Hills; designed by Jerry Matthews
Signal Point Club, Niles; designed by Robert B. Harris
Vassar Golf and CC, Vassar; designed by William Newcomb


Binder Park Municipal GC, Battle Creek; designed by Charles Scott
Bedford Valley GC, Battle Creek; designed by William F. Mitchell
Deer Run GC, Horton; designed by Bruce Gilpin
Jenkins GC, Litchfield; designed by Harley Hodges
Marquette Trails CC, Baldwin
Mason Hills GC, Mason
Pleasant Hills GC, Mt. Pleasant
Rolling Hills GC, Cass City
Saskatoon GC, Alto; Blue designed by Bill Howard, Red and White designed by Mark DeVries
Sparrow Hawk GC, Jackson; back nine1996
Tomac Woods GC, Albion; designed by Robert Beard
Western Greens CC, Marne
West Ottawa, Holland; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Wilderness GC, Carp Lake; designed by Elmer Dankert
Willowbrook GC, Byron; Jerry Clark


Alpine GC, Comstock Park; designed by Mark DeVries
Bay City CC, Bay City; designed by Art Johnson
Belle River CC, Memphis; George Parris
Bramblewood CC, Holly; designed by William Mynatt
Brookwood GC, Buchanan; designed by William Spears
Byron Hills Golf, Byron Center; designed by Clyde Brown.
Grand Haven GC, Grand Haven; designed by W.Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Grand Island Golf Ranch, Belmont; designed by Boyd
Independence Oaks, Farmington Hills; W. Bruce Matthews
Interlochen GC, Interlochen;
L.E. Kaufman, Wyoming; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Lincoln Hills, Birmingham
Oakridge, New Haven; designed by Harley Hodges
Radrick Farms GC, Ann Arbor; Pete Dye
Shanty Creek GC, Bellaire; designed by William Diddel
Southmoor GC, Burton; designed by Jerry Matthews
Terra Verde GC, Nunica; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Turtle Creek GC, Burlington; designed by Rex Spoor
Wolverine GC, Mt. Clements; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews


Bay County GC, Bay City; designed by Harley Hodges
Brookside GC, Saline; designed by Ron Hopkins
El Dorado GC, Mason; designed by Jerry Matthews, second nine1978, third nine1996
Gull Lake View GC,/West, Augusta; designed by Darl Scott
Hickory Knoll GC, Blue/White, Whitehall; designed by Malcolm Jackson
Reed City GC, Reed City; designed by Harley Hodges
Sandy Ridge GC, Midland; designed by W.Bruce Matthews
Sugar Loaf Resort, Cedar; designed by Jan Stevenson
University Park, Muskegon; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
White Deer CC, Prudenville; new nine 1998


Brooklane GC, Northville; designed by Ernie Shade
Bruce Hills GC, Romeo
Canadian Lakes/Pines, Stanwood
Clarkston Creek GC, Clarkston; William Newcomb
Devils Knob GC, Harrison; designed by Duane Baumer
Dundee GC, Dundee
Dunham GC, Hartland; designed by Jack Eastman/August Kranites
Fairview Hills GC, Mio; designed by Fred Kuffman.
Genesee Valley Meadows, Swartz Creek
Grand Blanc GC, Grand Blanc; W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Scott Lake CC, Comstock Park; designed by Bruce Matthews
Wawonowin CC, Champion
Whiffletree Hill GC, Concord
Whiteford Valley GC, Ottawa Lake; 36 holes designed Harley Hodges
Willow Brook GC, Byron; designed by Jerry Clark
Winding Creek, Holland; designed W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews


Pine GC, Whitehall
Cedar Glen GC, New Baltimore; Jerry Matthews designed the back nine in 1990
Forest Akers GC,East, East Lansing; designed by Bruce Matthews
Heather-At Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs; Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Lake of the Hills, Haslett; designed by W.Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Lake Doster GC, Plainwell
Lakeland Hills GC, Jackson
Mulberry Hills GC, Oxford; Franklin Clayton
Pine View GC, Three Rivers; designed by Ed Reuss
Whispering Willows GC, Livonia; Mark DeVries


Beech Hollow GC, Freeland
Branson Bay GC, Mason
Crestview GC, Kalamazoo; designed by Dewayne Amsen
Dama GC, Howell
Eech Hollow GC, Freeland; designed by Elmer Kloha
Edgewood CC, Commerce Twp.; Bob May
El Dorado, Walled Lake; Walter Lorange
Fairview Hills GC, Mio
Giant Oak, Temperance; designed by Arthur Hills
Glen Eagle, Hudsonville; designed Mike Shields
Grand Rapids GC, Grand Rapids; designed by Emory Krump
Ironwood GC, Byron Center
Hills GC, Benton Harbor; designed by Charles Maddox
Lake Michigan Hills GC, Benton Harbor
Leslie Park GC, Ann Arbor; designed by William Packard; renovated by Arthur Hills, 1998
Lakewood Shores Resort, Oscoda; designed by W. Bruce and Jerry Matthews
Missaukee GC, Lake City; Bruce Matthews III remodeled
Pines GC, Wyoming; designed by Bill Austhof
Pines GC, Weidman; Bruce Matthews
Rolling Hills GC, Lapeer


Beechwood Greens, Mount Morris
Boyne Mountain Alpine, Boyne City; designed by E. Kircher/William Newcomb
Butternut Brook GC, Charlotte
Candlestone Inn Golf & Resort, Belding; designed by Bruce Matthews
Centerview Golf Course, Adrian
Chardell GC, Bath; designed by Rick Schmidtmann
Crystal Lake GC, Beulah; Bruce Matthews and Bruce Keillor, Jerry Matthews designed nine new holes in 1988.
Great Oaks CC, Rochester; designed by William Newcomb, Mark McCumber redesigned this course in 1989
Green Hills GC, Pinconning; designed by William Newcomb
Hidden Oaks, St. Louis; W. Bruce Matthews, second nine Jerry Matthews 1999
Michigan Meadows, Casco
Oaks GC, Saint Charles
Ravenna GC, Ravenna
Rolling Hills GC, Hudsonville
Sycamore Hills, Mt. Clements; Jerry Matthews
Salt River GC, New Baltimore
Wilderness Valley, Gaylord.

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