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Doak, Brady & Balmer Elected to Michigan Golf Hall of Fame
One of the hottest golf course architects in the business, one of the most dominant players in the state who is passing on his knowledge, and an executive who rescued the Golf Association of Michigan and patched it back together have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
Tom Doak, Steve Brady and Fritz Balmer will be inducted May 19 at the Henry Center at Michigan State University's Forest Akers West Golf Course.
After college at Cornell, caddying a summer on the Old Course at St. Andrews and then playing and studying Scottish courses for seven months, Doak returned to America, worked for Pete and Alice Dye, and settled in northern Michigan.
While Doak, 52, lives in Traverse City, he has designed courses in Tasmania, Australia, Mexico, Scotland and 15 states. And he has work in China. His top courses are found at Bandon, Ore., (Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten calls Pacific Dunes "perhaps the last great meeting of sand and sea on American soil"), Mullen in the Nebraska sand hills, spectacular Cape Kidnapers in New Zealand, The Renaissance Club in Gullane, Scotland, and the just-opened Streamsong near Lakeland, Fla.
Doak's Michigan courses are High Pointe at Acme (now closed), Black Forest at Wilderness Valley in Gaylord, and Lost Dunes at Bridgman.
Unlike his mentor Dye, Doak moves little dirt, living up to the "traditionalist" and "classicist" labels that accompany nearly every description of him. He's also opinionated, and his 1996 book "The Confidential Guide," published by Sleeping Bear Press, won praise from readers and wry comments by fellow designers.
Doak said he's mellowed some over the years and, while he remains sought after internationally, he designed a practice area with several short greens and bunkering on the campus of Marygrove University. Free.
The 54-year-old Brady has been a dominant player in state play since graduating from Saginaw Valley State University, where he was named All-American in 1980. He was named to the SVSU Hall of Fame in 2010. Brady turned pro and played in 10 Buick Opens, was a member of the Ben Hogan (now Web.com) Tour, and competed in two United States Opens and three PGA Championships. Brady always had family support - his wife, Judi, and parents and friends wore BRADY BUNCH shirts - and always was a gallery favorite.
Brady became one of the state's top players at a time when the competition was fierce. He won three Michigan Opens, two Michigan PGA Championships, two Michigan Bell Showdowns at Grand Traverse Resort, a Assistant Professional Championship and Shanty Creek title, six Pro-Pro, two Senior-Junior one Pro-Am and one Pro-Assistant, all events sponsored by the Michigan PGA Section.
Brady now is Director of Instruction at Oakland Hills Country Club, his home for 16 years. In addition to teaching club members, Brady gives back to the game. He's a volunteer golf coach at Rochester Adams High School, a CYO basketball and soccer coach, gives numerous free golf clinics and exhibitions at high and elementary schools, and is a volunteer at the Pontiac Soup Kitchen.
Balmer, 73, began his service to golf in 1975 when, as a member of Spring Meadows Country Club, he became a club representative for the Golf Association of Michigan, a position he held for nine years. Also in 1975, he began serving as a GAM Volunteer Rules Official and still works at that today.
Balmer was appointed a Governor of the GAM in 1986 and chaired the Junior Committee from 1987-91. He was chairman of the GAM Long Range Planning Committee, member of the Club Relations Committee and somehow managed to find time to play.
But Balmer's primary contribution was in putting the GAM back on solid ground in 2000 when there was a rift among member clubs over handicap service providers and an ill-fated effort to move the headquarters to a golf course site. He was elected GAM president in 2000 and appointed Interim Executive Director, the association's paid position. He served as GAM president until 2002 and, in 2007, was given the GAM's Distinguished Service Award.
The induction of Balmer, Brady and Doak brings the Hall's membership to 101. For more about the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, visit www.michigan-golf-foundation.com.