Four Named to Michigan Golf Hall of Fame; Oakland Hills Country Club Honored

BIG RAPIDS – A winner of 20 Michigan PGA tournaments, one of the top-ranked golf instructors in the world, a decorated leader of junior golf, an international expert in the management of turfgrass diseases and one of our nation’s most famous country clubs are the 2016 honorees for the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF).

Three-time Michigan PGA Professional champion and Rochester teaching professional Ken Allard, Grand Rapids native and 2010 national PGA of America Teacher of the Year Todd Anderson, Flint native and Golf Association of Michigan officer Steve Braun and Michigan State University professor Joseph Vargas will give the Hall of Fame 113 members when they are inducted on June 5 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club.

Oakland Hills Country Club will receive a MGHOF Special Award, also on June 5.  The state’s premier championship club, host to six U.S. Opens and this summer a U.S. Amateur host for the second time, celebrates its Centennial in 2016.

Allard, a Swingtek Golf Academy instructor and Michigan resident since 1967, has been one of the Michigan Section of the PGA’s top players for several years and served in various leadership roles. He was Michigan PGA Player of the Year in 1991 and played 12 times in the PGA Professional National Championship.  His three Michigan PGA Professional titles are part of 20 state individual and two-person titles in his career, and he has also played against the touring pros in six national PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens.

Anderson, the PGA director of instruction at Sea Island Golf Performance Center in St. Simons Island, Ga., is ranked No. 9 among the top 50 teachers in America by Golf Digest, and No. 1 in Georgia. His students have included PGA Tour stars Brandt Snedeker and Billy Horschel, and have claimed a combined 33 wins on PGA and Tours since 1994. Also, over 50 of his students have earned NCAA Division I golf scholarships and 23 have earned All-American honors. Anderson is a graduate of Rockford High School and was captain of the golf team at the University of Alabama.

Braun, who in 2016 will serve the Golf Association of Michigan as its president, has been helping junior golfers succeed since the 1960s. He helped grow the Flint Junior Golf Association to a membership of 1,100 golfers while serving as the executive director from 1975-’85, worked for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) as a tournament director and received the AJGA’s national service award (Digger Smith Award) in 1992. The Charlevoix resident was a standout amateur golfer who became a PGA Professional, most notably working at Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix.

Vargas has been a professor of plant pathology (Ph.D.) at Michigan State University for 46 years and produced research with international implications for turfgrass, authored over 200 articles on turfgrass disease and related subjects, presented at turfgrass conferences around the world over 1,000 times and authored the most widely used turfgrass disease book (Management of Turfgrass Diseases). His body of work has earned him awards from around the world, including the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township has served as a host for the best golf tournaments and golfers in the world in its 100-year history. It counts 15 major championships, including the six U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships, and hosted the Ryder Cup in 2004. Champions at Oakland Hills include Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.  Legendary architect Donald Ross designed the famous South course as well as the North course at the 36-hole facility. Former head professionals Walter Hagen, Al Watrous and Mike Souchak and current head professional Steve Brady are members of the MGHOF.

The MGHOF, which periodically recognizes organizations and clubs that have contributed to golf in the state with a Special Award, is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates 109 members, including Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins.

The Hall of Fame collection will soon be housed and displayed in the new Professional Golf Management Program learning center planned by Ferris State University at its Katke Golf Club facility on campus. A $4 million fundraising effort more than halfway complete continues for the state-of-the-art center.

The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 members representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as the golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also those of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game.

Find out more at

Media contact: Loretta Larkin (248)-719-0650

Speak Your Mind