Archives for October 2018

Michigan PGA Fall Meeting Well Attended!

EAST LANSING, MI – The Michigan PGA held its Annual Fall Meeting on Monday, October 29. With approximately 225 Members in attendance, President Kevin McKinley welcomed everyone to Eagle Eye Golf Club. He also welcomed special guests Legal Counsel John Allen, and Todd Smith, PGA Career Consultant, Alex Wassom, and all Past Presidents in attendance.

Randy White administered the invocation and remembered deceased PGA member Ken Foster.

After Mr. Wassom sang a great rendition of our national anthem town hall discussions then began with Stephanie Jennings moderating Shaun Bezilla, Tim Strickland and Scott Wilson who spoke about their successes in Golf in Schools programs they run.

Doug Kreis then recognized and celebrated Golf Professional of the Year Greg Babinec, PGA of America Deacon Palmer Award winner Monty Elam, and Dick Stewart, 2018 Michigan PGA Hall of Fame inductee, who gave brief overviews of their successes in the golf business.

The town hall portion wrapped up with President McKinley overseeing an At-Large Director candidates forum in which he asked about each candidates’ background and how their past experiences would help as a Board Member, and how does your job uniquely qualify you to serve on the board?

President McKinley presented outgoing Board plaques to Shaun Bezilla, Stephanie Jennings, Dean Kolstad, Doug Kreis and Aaron Waltz (absent).

Vice President Bob Bales then reviewed he Section’s investments and Executive Director Kevin Helm reviewed budget numbers through September 2018.

Hall of Fame Inductee Dick Stewart with Secretary John Pershern

Secretary John Pershern acknowledged and welcomed new members, quarter century members and announced the 2018 Michigan PGA Hall of Fame inductee Dick Stewart.  The Hall of Fame recognizes and acknowledges those PGA Professionals who have excelled in their profession, achieved remarkable accomplishments, and made significant contributions to the game, the industry and the Michigan PGA.

Honorary President Ron Osborne oversaw the voting for At-Large Directors. Those elected were Shaun Bezilla, Stephanie Jennings, Dean Kolstad, Chris Moore and Aaron Waltz.

Special Awards Chair Doug Kreis presented plaques to the 2018 Special Awards winners:

Assistant Professional of the Year – AJ Partenio, PGA
Bill Strausbaugh – Kevin McKinley, PGA
Golf Professional of the Year – Greg Babinec, PGA
Merchandiser of the Year–Private – Mike McGonigal, PGA
Merchandiser of the Year–Public – Ian Ziska, PGA
Merchandiser of the Year–Resort – Elliott Oscar, PGA
Patriot Award – Paul Hawkins, PGA
PGA Horton Smith – Ian Ziska, PGA
Player Development – Scott Wilson, PGA
Teacher of the Year – Adam Schriber, PGA
Youth Player Development – Kelly Sivier, PGA

Special Awards Chair Doug Kreis

The Special Awards winners, National Award winner and Michigan PGA Hall of Fame inductee were honored at a dinner Sunday evening at the Country Club of Lansing.

In Tournament Chair Ian Ziska’s absence, Shaun Bezilla gave a brief recap of the season, and acknowledged Player of the Year Scott Hebert.

All Chapters/Committees reports submitted can be found on

Many thanks to Pepsi for sponsoring the meeting, and PGA National Resort & Spa the seminar.

The afternoon education seminar featured Michigan PGA Member Mark Wilson presenting “Changes to the Rules of Golf for 2019”.

Topics covered included a look at the new format and language in the Rules. The purpose statements at the start of each Rule will be discussed, along with the many significant changes to rules outcomes and penalties. Golfers at all levels will want to become familiar with what is changing when they start their golf season next year.

Team from Heritage Glen wins the Kiawah Island Resort Pro Am presented by Linksoul

Kiawah Island SC, -Congratulations to the team of professional Bill Wilson from Heritage Glen Golf Club and his amateurs partners Rick Depauw, Don Gunden and Phil Pletcher on winning the 2018 Kiawah Island Resort Pro Am presented by Linksoul.

The team from Heritage Glen was 13 shots back heading into the final round at Osprey Point. It was in this final round that it all came together for a score of 121 (-23 under ) in this 2 net best of 4 to win the overall championship by 3 shots.

It was the team from TPC of Michigan with professional Heath Morden and his amateur partners Kevin Lustig, Max Wegner and Greg Phillips that jumped out the early lead with a score of 127 ( -17 under ) on Monday at Cougar Point. The held onto the lead after posting a score of 131 on Tuesday at the Ocean Course but were unable to hold off the late charging team from Heritage Glen in the final round and finished in second place overall, 3 shots back.

Coming in 3rd overall was the team of professional Lynn Janson from The Legacy @ Hastings and his amateur partners Joe Abraham, Eric Hirsch and Fred Galfus. They had a great final round of 127 at Osprey Point that jumped them into 3rd place, only 5 shots back of the winning team.

The teams competed for low daily prizes each day as well as overall prizes in this best ball two net of four format. The teams all stayed in villas and homes at Kiawah Island Resort and played Cougar Point, The Ocean Course and Osprey Point. The resort and golf courses were wonderful and provided a great destination for this pro am.

We would like to thank our supporting sponsor of this event Linksoul ! All of the players received an apparel gift package courtesy of Linksoul at the opening party on Sunday night.

We would also like to thank all of the professionals and amateurs for participating in this event.

For complete results click HERE

Gniewek / Zito / Pearce / Husse win the Fall Pro Scratch

Ann Arbor ,MI -The Michigan PGA Section wrapped up the 2018 tournament season with the All Star Pro Golf / Earth Networks / 18 Birdies Fall Pro Scratch at Barton Hills Country Club on Monday. It was a beautiful sunny day and great way to end the season.

Congratulations to the winning team of Jeff Gniewek and Chris Zito from Knollwood Country Club, Barry Pearce from Beacon Hill Golf Club and Darren Husse from Warwick Hills Country Club. They shot a (-11) under par round of 131 in this scratch 2 best for 4 format to win by one shot.

Coming in second just one shot back was the team of Frank McAuliffe from Meadowbrook Country Club, Andrew Dodson from GolfTEC – Novi, Marlon Gisi from GolfTEC – Troy and Matt Pesta from Lincoln Hills Golf Course.

A big thanks to our host site Barton Hills Country Club. They did a wonderful job hosting and provided a terrific venue for this event.

We would also like to thank our three sponsors of this event : All Star Pro Golf, Earth Networks and 18 Birdies for their support of this event and the Michigan PGA Section. This is the 7th year in a row that All Star Pro Golf has sponsored this event.

Blythefield’s John Seltzer Wins Michigan PGA Match Play for Second Time

  BATH – John Seltzer made it to the final match of the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship for the sixth time in his career but had just one title to show for it.

  Make that two.

  The 39-year-old head golf professional from Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids held off Ferris State University golf coach Kyle Wittenbach to win 2-up in the championship match Wednesday at Eagle Eye Golf Club.

   “I lost in extra holes last year, lost another one on the 18th hole a few years ago, it was nice to close one out for a change,” said the 2017 Michigan PGA Professional Champion who first won the Match Play title in 2009.

  “Kyle is a really good player, and hits it past me like everybody, but I played steady, kept it in front of me, didn’t make a lot of mistakes, made some putts and it feels good to win again.”

  The 30-year-old Wittenbach said he was happy about his performance in the championship, especially beating defending champion and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club in the rain-delayed semifinals on Tuesday.

  “No one expects to beat him,” he said. “They might believe they can because anybody can beat anybody especially in match play, but finishing that match and winning, I was proud of myself.

  “I hung in there today. I hit a lot of good putts – and John and I were just talking about it – they just didn’t fall. My speed on the greens was a little off all day. I played well. Down the stretch I made a nice birdie on 16 to get it closer, and I had a chance to tie it on 18 but didn’t quite execute by the green. John doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I was two putts away from maybe winning it, but John made the shots.”

    Seltzer didn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker on No. 2 and made bogey to fall behind early. Wittenbach hit a drive out-of-bounds left on No. 4 and later conceded the hole to make the match all square. Then Seltzer rolled in a 25-foot putt for birdie on the long par 3 No. 5 hole to go 1-up before Wittenbach made things even again at No. 6 with a birdie.

   At No. 8 Wittenbach’s tee shot right of the fairway resulted in a lost ball and lost hole and Seltzer went 2-up at No. 11 when Wittenbach three-putted from about 35 feet above the hole.

  Wittenbach won No. 13 with a par when Seltzer’s approach shot missed the green short, and it looked like he might tie the match when he reached the par 5 No. 14 green in two shots. Seltzer, however, hit a bunker shot of about 35 yards to within eight feet and made the putt to match the two-putt birdie of Wittenbach and keep the 1-up lead.

  At 15, another three-putt for Wittenbach put him behind by two holes, and yet he rallied again with an eight-foot birdie at No. 16.

  At the perilous island green No. 17 Wittenbach hit first and found the water, and Seltzer followed suit. They ended up halving the hole with double-bogey 5s.

  With a 1-up lead Seltzer played the par 5 No. 18 straight away with three shots to the green, and Wittenbach’s second shot ended up on a lower portion of the fairway where he failed to get a shot over the railroad ties near the green and eventually conceded the hole and match.

  “I rely on my putter to beat people,” Seltzer said. “In match play that means I’m never really out of a hole. To beat me the other guys has to make some putts, and Kyle just couldn’t get any to drop.”

  Seltzer, a veteran section member in his fourth season at Blythefield, said the key hole in the match was his birdie with the long sand shot at the par 5 No. 14 hole.

  “I know he is going to at least make birdie so in match play you are not protecting a score and you stay aggressive,” he said. “I went after that bunker shot and pulled it off. I think there’s a lesson there. It’s usually better to play aggressive rather than try not to make a mistake. That was big for me there.”

  It was the first finals for Wittenbach and his best finish in the PGA Section as a fourth-year member. The Lowell native is in his third year as the Ferris coach after coaching first at Northern Michigan University.

  “I played in a lot of the chapter and section events this year and I had a good year,” he said. “I look forward to playing in more and becoming a contender more often.”

RESULTS: See the match play bracket : Click HERE