Michigan County and District Golf Competitions In The 1930s
In recent years, the most important tournaments in Michigan are organized by the Golf Association of Michigan and the Michigan PGA Section. The GAM in particular offers a lot of opportunities. In the early 20th Century, however, golf competitions seem to have primarily organized between private clubs or on a district (as in the Detroit Golf District) or on a county level.
Washtenaw County golfers organized a Washtenaw County Open starting in 1929 and running to at least 1932. Dan Quirk won in 1930. Arbor High School Junior Woody Mallow won in 1931. The 1932 edition was won Malloy at Washtenaw Country Club.
I can find no newspaper records of the Washtenaw County Open after 1932
Washtenaw County golf clubs in 1932 would have included Washtenaw Country Club (now Washtenaw Golf Club, open to the public), Ann Arbor Golf and Outing, Barton Hills, Brae Burn, Inverness Country Club, Huron Hills, Rock Pile (an Ann Arbor muni) and the University of Michigan Golf Course.
There’s no indication of which of those clubs the participants called home. I know that the Quirks were among the original families at Washtenaw Golf Club, though.
The Detroit Free Press in the 1920s and 1930s regularly reported the results of competitions in what was called the District Golf League. On May 16, 1938, the paper reported on the results of competitions involving (in the order in which they were reported) Flint, Brooklands, Birmingham, Franklin Hills, Forest Lake, Black River, Plum Hollow, Grosse Ile, Western, Essex, Knollwood, Beach Grove, Dearborn, Meadowbrook, Washtenaw, Huron Hills, Barton Hills, Twin Beach, Green Lake, Gowanie, Glen Oaks and Port Huron.
From the article and the scores, it seems as though the competitions involved both medal play for singles and four ball matches.
The Districts apparently were quite important. A Free Press article from 1932 laments that Chuck Kocsis, while winning the Michigan Open and the Michigan Amateur, had not won the Detroit District Amateur.
You can read more about Chuck Kocsis’ 1930 Michigan Amateur win at the link.
The Detroit District Golf Association mentioned in the articles became the Golf Association of Michigan in 1961.
Men’s and women’s district golf competitions are still running. The West Michigan Golf Association runs a dozen competitions. The Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association has been in operation for 86 years and plays a 19-week schedule. Various private clubs have traveling competitions.
Results, however, no longer are reported in the Free Press. In fact, the Freep doesn’t cover even statewide championships such as the Michigan Open and Michigan Amateur.
Boyne Golf each year holds a Harbor Cup competition that pits 12 Boyne Golf professionals against 12 other Northern Michigan pros. The event raises money to support area charities, including the First Tee and the Mana Food Project.
In addition to the GAM events, I think there is a degree to which “district golf” has been replaced by the hundreds of “outings” that take place each season. If you wished, it would be easy enough to find a competition every week where you can compete in best ball or four ball competitions for prizes and bragging rights.
As for a Washtenaw County Open, I will note that one exists for Disc Golf.