Michigan Golf Hall of Fame History


The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame's first class of Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis and Al Watrous was elected in 1982 but the Hall's roots go back to the 1930 Western Open at Indianwood G&CC, a tournament they all played. Indianwood was up then, but down as the Depression dragged on. Then World War II and disrepair took over. That changed in 1981 and resulted in the founding of the Hall of Fame whose members now approach three figures and envelope all phases of the game.

Businessman Standart Aldridge bought the club, determined to make it a showcase worthy of golf's Scottish roots. Meeting perhaps the most dedicated golf addict in the state, under a clubhouse roof with holes and leaking snowmelt, Aldridge asked Ken Janke how he could promote Indianwood, trigger it back to its glory days.

Janke suggested a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame would catch the attention of golf fans all over the state. Aldridge said he would support it and give it a home.

The election of Hagen, Kocsis and Watrous was a natural and set the standard for Hall of Fame membership. Hagen, Oakland Hills' first professional, won 11 major championships while enlivening the game with his personality and flair. Kocsis, opposite in personality, was quietly deadly on the course even beating reigning British Open champion Tommy Armour in the 1931 Michigan Open playoff. Kocsis was 18 years old. Watrous, runnerup to Bobby Jones in the 1926 British Open and a contender on any scene, spent 37 years as Oakland Hills professional.

As the years progressed, other players from the 1930 Western Open joined the Hall of Fame – Tommy Armour, Horton Smith, Jake Fassezke, Emerick Kocsis, Chuck's older brother, James D. Standish Jr. who had a brilliant amateur career through the first 30 years of the 20th century and became president of the United States Golf Association, and Englishman Wilfrid Reid, Indianwood's designer who gave the course its distinctly British flavor and stayed on as the club professional.

Indianwood returned to the national stage hosting the 1989 U.S. Women's Open won by Betsy King and then the 1994 Women's Open won by Patty Sheehan. In 2012 it hosted the U.S. Senior Open.