Saginaw Country Club Hosting 101st Michigan Women’s Amateur Starting Monday
Historic Trophy Now Named For Patti Shook Boice; Geer Defending
SAGINAW – The winner of the 101st Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland at Saginaw Country Club next Monday through Friday will receive a historic trophy with a new name.
The Patti Shook Boice trophy will be presented, honoring the record seven-time champion whose father and golf teacher, Lorin, was a long-time golf professional and before that a caddie at Saginaw Country Club.
Boice plans to be in attendance to present the trophy on Friday, July 14, following the afternoon championship match.
“I’m overwhelmed and humbled by this and so full of pride,” Boice said. “Saginaw has been home to many generations of the Shook family. My father started his career in golf as a caddie at Saginaw Country Club, then an assistant pro, then came back years later as the head pro and finished his career there. This has incredible meaning to me.”
Boice remembers returning to Michigan from college golf at Valparaiso University in Indiana where she won the forerunner to the NCAA Women’s Championships and honing her game for national competition with Saginaw members.
“The club members were so generous to me, allowing me to practice and play there, and many of the members would invite me to play,” she said. “The club members were all just so supportive of my golf, and my father was a wonderful teacher of the game. Saginaw Country Club was one of the special places he worked. He really started and ended his career there.”
Boice’s Michigan accomplishments are unmatched. She won seven state championships between 1967 and 1979 including four consecutive from 1976 to ’79, and was runner-up in the championship six times between 1963 and 1985.
Boice wanted what has maintained the name of the Women’s Michigan Golf Association Trophy to be in what she calls her golf name, Patti Shook Boice, to acknowledge her parents.
“I really don’t know what to say,” she said. “I never expected something like this. I just loved to play golf and compete, my parents made it possible and the Michigan Amateur was a great tournament, and one of the few I could play without having to travel far away.”
The Michigan Women’s Amateur has been at Saginaw CC, a 118-year-old club, once before. It was 98 years ago in 1919. Lucille Desenbeg of Kalamazoo, who won four titles in all, won a third consecutive that year at Saginaw CC.
Aligning with the historical numbers, Allyson Geer of Brighton will be attempting to win a third consecutive championship in this year’s tournament. Geer, a Michigan State University golfer who will be 19 very soon after the tournament, has already made history as the youngest to ever win the title in 2015. She was 16, and she loves learning the history of the championship.
“Learning the history of the Women’s Amateur last year at Spring Meadows and getting to meet so many of the past champions was so special for me,” she said. “I definitely plan to defend the championship. I’m so proud to represent the next generation of golfers in Michigan.”
Chad Boyce, the current head professional and no relation to Boice, said the club is honored to be part of history in Michigan golf and in the Michigan Women’s Amateur in 2017.
“The membership feels it is important to give back to the game, and I think it will be exciting for the players to get to play a classic course that maybe it one of those places people forgot about or thought had gone away,” he said.
The course can be played at yardages between 6,143 and 4,905 with five tee positions, and Ken Hartmann, the senior director of rules and competition for the GAM, said it will favor the consistent golfer who keeps the golf ball out of the tree lines and demonstrates a strong short game around greens that are small by modern standards.
“It’s a great old-style country club because the course is a what you see is what you get course,” Hartmann said. “It’s not tricked up. There are some holes with great character. The scoring side is probably the back nine, and on the front you hang in there, keep your ball out of the trees and make pars.”
The classic lines of the course date to the first nine holes being developed in 1898 by Charles H. Davis, a devotee of the game who purchased a farm and went to work. By 1902 the club had 100 members. The second nine, which was called the “new course,” formally opened in 1912 and was designed by Tom Bendelow, club member and historian William Scharffe reported.
Bendelow is famous for his design of the Medinah Country Club courses in suburban Chicago, as well as Birmingham Country Club and The Jewel on Mackinac Island.
Saginaw CC’s course was remodeled in the 1960s, and Michigan golf course architect Jerry Matthews remodeled parts of the course again in 1983. The current clubhouse dates back to 1969.
The club has a long relationship with Golf Association of Michigan tournaments having hosted the Michigan Amateur Championship for men eight times dating to 1907.
A field of 82 of the state’s top golfers will play two rounds of stroke play Monday and Tuesday to determine the low 32 scorers who advance to the match play bracket. Match play starts Wednesday with the round of 32 matches, and two rounds of matches are scheduled for Thursday and Friday to determine a champion.
In addition to Geer, last summer’s GAM Champion Anna Kramer of Spring Lake is in the field. Also in the field are two of last year’s Michigan Women’s Amateur semifinalists, Nichole Cox of Empire and Julia Dean of Brighton, and two-time Michigan Junior Girls State Amateur champion Kerrigan Parks of Flushing.
Geer isn’t the only past champion either. Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, Geer’s coach at Michigan State, where she was Big Ten Freshman of the Year on a Big Ten title-winning team, is in the field. She won in 1996 and ’98 and last year reached the round of 16.
Nine of the golfers who reached the final 16 a year ago are in the field, including Geer, Slobodnik-Stoll, Kramer, Cox, Dean, Caroline Harding of South Lyon, Aya Johnson of Muskegon, Elayna Bowser of Dearborn and Anika Dy of Traverse City.
The public is welcome to attend free of charge. Find tee times and bracket information at gam.org.
About the GAM: Founded in 1919, the Golf Association of Michigan is the governing body for amateur golf in the state. As a not-for-profit organization, the GAM’s purpose is to promote, preserve and serve the game of golf. The GAM, served by over 250 dedicated volunteers as well as staff, provides membership to 60,000 golfers and more than 470 Michigan golf courses, conducts over 30 amateur championships, oversees 18 USGA qualifying events, administers the GAM/USGA Handicap System and measures and rates almost 70 courses a year for the USGA. Learn more at gam.org.
via Greg Johnson