EAST LANSING, Mich. -- A player and instructor, PGA Professional Steve Brady of Rochester, a creator, course architect Tom Doak of Traverse City, and a golf executive and rules official, Fritz Balmer of Fenton, talked with emotion about the people who helped them as they earned their spots in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
"It's not really about me, but about the people who helped me along the way," said Brady in setting the tone for the induction speeches Sunday night in ceremonies at the Henry Center at Michigan State University.
The trio joined legends like Walter Hagen, Horton Smith and Chuck Kocsis in raising the number of Hall of Fame members to 101.
Fred Muller, the head golf professional at Crystal Downs in Frankfort, called Doak the greatest living golf course architect during his introduction remarks.
"I've been blessed to do something I really wanted to do in some of the most beautiful places in the world," Doak said.
Doak, 52, has designed courses in 15 states as well as Tasmania, Australia and Scotland. He is currently working on a project in China, but also recently designed a practice area at Marygrove University in the Detroit area and waived the fee.
He credited golf course architect Pete Dye and his wife Alice for teaching him the architecture business, but he has made a name for himself with a traditionalist style that has spawned "bucket list" creations like Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Ore., Mullen in the Nebraska sand hills, Cape Kidnapers in New Zealand and The Renaissance Club in Gullane, Scotland.
Brady, 54, was an All-American golfer at Saginaw Valley State University in 1980 before embarking on a professional playing career. He won three Michigan Opens and two Michigan PGA Championships among several other titles while also earning his way into 10 Buick Opens, playing what is now called the Web.com Tour, and being part of two U.S. Opens and three national PGA Championships.
For the last 16 years he has worked at Oakland Hills Country Club where he is director of instruction. He was introduced by his son Matthew, a golfer at Elon University in North Carolina who is planning a career in law.
Balmer, 73, started his service to Michigan golf in 1975 when he was asked as a member of Spring Meadows Club to be the club representative to the Golf Association of Michigan. The GAM never let him go as he worked as a committee leader, rules official and eventually a key figure in the organization's history.
The Wisconsin native, who is also an accomplished player after taking the game up at age 20, is best known for taking the lead for the GAM during a critical management void in 2000 as an appointed executive director and then serving two more years as the president of the organization. He directed the hiring of current executive director David Graham, who introduced him for induction.
"This is truly humbling," Balmer said. "There are so many great golfers that have given so much. I'll remember this evening forever."
Michigan radio personality and golf writer Michael Patrick Shiels served as master of ceremonies, and Terry Moore, a Michigan Golf Foundation board member, announced progress continues toward finding the Hall of Fame a permanent home. The Hall recently moved out of facilities in Troy. For more information about the Hall of Fame visit its website: www.michigan-golf-foundation.com.
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