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Egypt Valley CC Heritage

Egypt Valley Country Club Heritage

A Timeline of People, Places, and Memories


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Masonic Country Club Property

1921 - Masters and Wardens of the five blue lodges of Masonry of Grand Rapids met on May 26 and decided to develop a Masonic Country Club. On Aug. 4, the City of Walker approved the purchase of 233.19 acres for $76,380. The largest parcel was known as the Shanahan Farm.

1922 - Tom Bendelow of Chicago, one of the era's busiest architects, is retained at a cost of $100 per day and expenses to layout an 18-hole course and a 9-hole course. The Masonic Country Club of Western Michigan had its formal dedication on Aug. 19, 1922.

1923 - Member play for the first time at the club was on Aug. 1, 1923, using seven temporary holes that had been mowed for definition.

1926 - All 27 permanent greens sodded with bentgrass grown on site were opened for play on July 1. One of the early caddies at the club was Gerald R. Ford, who would one day become President of the United States.

1929 - A day after the historic Black Tuesday when the Stock Market crashed, Adrian Van Liere was hired as the new golf professional, and a month later John Fritts, formerly of the Montclair Country Club in New Jersey was hired as the first general manager. Economic woes led to their severance two years later.

1931 - Bruce W. Matthews, a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, was hired as the superintendent and served the club for 28 years. He was involved in multiple course improvement and renovation projects and his experience gained at the club led to a second career in golf course architecture. His son Jerry, who is also in the Hall of Fame, and nephew Bruce III, carried on the architecture legacy.

1933 - Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Marvin Stahl was hired. Best known for his winter job in California as Bing Crosby’s golf instructor, he worked for the club for three years before taking a similar post at Blythefield Country Club.

1933 - On March 3, The Mason Lodges, facing financial difficulties from the Great Depression, started the process of transferring all ownership to a new organization of club members. On May 9, the new club held its first annual meeting and changed the name to Green Ridge Country Club. Present at the meeting were 97 stockholders, and they also represented 577 proxies.

1935 - Bruce Matthew’s contract as grounds superintendent was renewed and the club reported having 700 members paying a dues rate of $12.50 a year. Dues did not include seasonal green fees, which at the time were $20 for men, $12 for women and $30 for families. In 1936 Matthews would take on the club manager duties as well.

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1938 - Free Beer: To enhance green fees collected, free beer was provided to any man who played golf on a Saturday or holiday. Sundays were not included.

1940 - Superintendent Matthews was asked to provide a new routing of an 18-hole course so that it could begin and end at the clubhouse.

1942 - World War II gas rationing and other things related to the war effort impacted the club financially. Struggles continued through 1944.

1945 - Membership was recovering and the club had an operating profit.

1946 - Member Paul Strauch won his first of seven Men’s Golf Championships at the club, with his seventh coming 20 years later in 1966.

- The club sold housing lots around the course grounds at an average price of $2,000. The club attributed the brisk sales to having the first subdivision in the area that had blacktopped roads.

1953 - A new pool and bath house opened and proved to be self-sustaining via pool subscriptions.

1953 - Head golf pro Danny Nowak was given permission to purchase sufficient golf carts to handle the needs of the entire membership and to charge 25 cents per day or $15 for the season for use.

1954 - A course project to lengthen to a championship yardage of 6,324 was completed in-house with the building of several new tees.

1954 - Member Jack VanEss (pictured right) won his first of 10 Men’s Club Championships over a span of 31 years.

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- Pro Danny Nowak was killed in a boating accident while traveling to hunt deer on Drummond Island.

1956 - A tornado destroyed the bathhouse and the clubhouse was damaged on April 19. In addition over 100 trees were lost.

1958 - Bruce Matthews resigned his position and started his career as a course designer.

- The club hosted the Michigan Open Championship. Jackson’s Dave Hill, who would go on to PGA Tour stardom and return to Egypt Valley in 1994 with the PGA Tour Champions tournaments, won.

1963 - Improvements to the clubhouse and lowering the No. 18 green were introduced to the members and approved.

1967 - The club joined the Golf Association of Michigan.

1968 - Golf course architect Bill Newcomb was contracted to provide a master plan for changes to the golf course.

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- Bill Zylstra won the Men’s Club Championship. He would move to the Detroit area and have a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame amateur career.

1975 - Lynn Janson, formerly of the Country Club of Lansing, was hired as the head golf professional. He would serve the club for 32 years and also make his mark as a Michigan PGA player winning two Michigan Open titles, four Michigan PGA titles and three Michigan PGA Match Play titles between 1974 and 1987.

1976 - Member Kurt Hassberger won his first of 11 Men’s Club Championships over a 28-year span, including three consecutive from 1993 to 1995.

1977 - Member Fred Cahall won his first of eight Men’s Club Championships over a 13-year span. He won four consecutive years from 1977 to 1980.

1978 - Irrigation system improvements were started and phase one completed. Alex Wilson, the grounds superintendent, retired after working for the club for 41 years.

1980 - A Grand Rapids Jaycees group approached the club regarding hosting The Charity Classic. It had previously been played at Cascade Hills Country Club and ended up at Grand Rapids Elks Club/The Highlands. It served as the forerunner to a Senior PGA Tour event (now PGA Tour Champions) coming to Grand Rapids 19 times, including the last 11 tournaments at Egypt Valley Country Club 1994-2004.

1980 - Member John O’Donovan won the Grand Rapids City Match Play. O’Donovan also volunteered for the Grand Rapids Golf Association over multiple decades doing scheduling and tournament administration.

- Member Joan Garety (pictured right) won her first of 22 Women’s 18-hole Club Championships. The total includes 15 consecutive wins from 1998 to 2012. Also that summer, Garety won the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship.

1984 - Member Fred Cahall won the Grand Rapids City Championship. 

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- Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Todd Anderson started a two-year apprentice professional position with Green Ridge. He went on to become one of the nation’s top golf instructors and currently directs instruction at the PGA Tour’s Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

- Member Kurt Hassberger won the Grand Rapids City Championship.

1986 - In August, a development group called Weatherford Walker officially started discussions with the board to acquire part of the club’s property along Alpine Ave. for commercial development. The club was inclined to accept the offer, but only if it meant sale of the entire property and the funds would be enough to build a new club.

1987 - In January, architect Arthur Hills was hired to conduct a feasibility study on a new club site at Knapp and Egypt Valley Road in Ada Township. Contingent upon approval of the membership of the proposal, Green Ridge would purchase the Knapp/Egypt Valley property and contract with Hills to design two 18-hole courses. In May the membership voted in favor of the sale.

1988 - Past-president Don Hassberger was selected as project coordinator, Terry Olson assembled a construction committee for the course, and Bill Blank assembled a clubhouse construction committee.

1988 - A divot taking party attended by 300 dedicated the new course project on a mown field in the area of No. 10 tee on what would become the Ridge course. A Dixieland band, speeches and members hit their first shots at the new club.

- After a 1988 vote, the new name of Egypt Valley Country Club was approved in August and a rock picking party was held in November to make piles of the many large rocks on site.

- Members were encouraged in February to stay away from the construction site because of liability issues. The phrase used: “Don’t sneak in to open your presents until Christmas.” In March, the courses were named Ridge and Valley. On June 9, seeding was completed on all 36 holes. The back nine of the Valley course was the last to be seeded.

1990 - On Sept. 27, golf was played for the last official time at Green Ridge. The next day golf was played for the first official time at Egypt Valley.

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The Valley Course

1990 - On Oct. 5, over 1,200 people attended an open house as the new club, and on Oct. 6, a Grand Opening Ball was held, black-tie and over 600 attended.

1990 - Father-son members Don Hassberger and Kurt Hassberger win the 1990 Golf Illustrated Father & Son World Championship in Turnberry, Scotland.

1991 - Course conditions suffered through grow-in erosion but were improving. A wind storm on July 9 wiped out 100 trees and the club lost power for six days.

1991 - Member Brent Albertson won the West Michigan Amateur Championship.

1991 - Member Chuck Rapolevich won the Grand Rapids City Championship.

- Golf Digest listed Egypt Valley among honorable mentions in the Best New Private Club voting. Architect Art Hills was quoted in an accompanying article: “Egypt Valley was the finest property that I have ever worked with.”

1992 - A scholarship foundation was started and in May, pro Lynn Janson was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, a year after he had been named the Michigan PGA Professional of the Year.

- In June the board approved the club hosting the 1994 Michigan Amateur Championship and in September the board approved of a plan to bring the First of America Classic (Senior PGA Tour now Champions Tour) to Egypt Valley.

1993 - The club hired Jeff Holmes as the new golf course manager from over 130 applicants.

1993 - In October the club signed a contract with the Grand Rapids Jaycees to host their Senior PGA Tour event from 1994 through ’98.

- In June, the club hosted the Michigan Amateur Championship on the Valley, and Egypt Valley member Kurt Hassberger, a top West Michigan golfer, made a run to the finals. He fell 1-up in the championship match to Brian Atkinson of Cassopolis, who was then a University of Illinois golfer.

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1994 - In August, the club hosted the First of America Classic and the Senior Tour for the first time on the two back nine layouts of the club’s courses (selected by the tour). Englishman Tony Jacklin, then a Senior Tour rookie who became a four-time Ryder Cup captain for Europe, shot a pair of 68s in a rain-shortened 36-hole tournament. He won by one shot over Dave Stockton, and two over Lee Trevino and Jim Albus.

1995 - In July, the club hosted the First of America Classic and Jimmy Powell, a former PGA Tour player and longtime club pro in Dallas, shot 67 in the final round for 15-under 201 and won by five shots over Babe Hiskey.

1995 - In September the club announced soft spikes would be mandated for use starting with the 1996 golf season.

1996 - In January a new computer system was purchased by the club. It was the first networked system for Egypt Valley.

- The Michigan Women’s Amateur was played at the club and the daughter of longtime club members Dave and Sharon Slobodnik, Stacy (now Slobodnik-Stoll), won the first of her two Michigan Amateur titles. She turned back Mary Jane Hiestand 4 and 3 in the title match.

1996 - In July, Dave Stockton rallied from four strokes behind with a closing 69 for 206 and won the First of America Classic. He survived a bogey on the final hole and topped Bob Murphy by one shot.

1996 - At a press conference during the First of America Classic, Michigan Governor John Engler presents the club with an environmental stewardship award.

1996 - Club members rule Michigan competitions. Jack VanEss won the Michigan Senior Open, Russ Jimeson won the Michigan Senior Amateur, Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll won the Michigan Women’s Amateur, Joan Garety won the Golf Association of Michigan Women’s Championship and Danny Janson, the son of the head pro, was the Michigan PGA Junior Champion. The club had 20 members that year with handicap indexes of 2.0 or better.

1997 - Dr. Gil Morgan, the golfing optometrist, won his fourth Senior PGA Tour event of the season by shooting a final 71 for 207 in the rain. He beat Bob Duval, the father of David Duval, by one shot.

- Member Joan Garety won her second Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship. She also won in 1982.

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- Tom Harding, an assistant professional at the club, won the Michigan PGA Professional Championship at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs.

- In June, a three-year extension of the contract with the Jaycees was signed for hosting the First of America Classic, and a four-year plan was adopted by the board after a recommendation by the Golf Committee to “soften” the golf courses.

1998 - In August, 1969 Masters champion George Archer won the Senior Tour’s visit to Grand Rapids for the second time. His famous hot putter led to a closing 64 for a 17-under 199 score and a five-shot win over Jim Dent.

1998 - In October, Foremost Insurance was announced as the new title sponsor of the Senior Tour’s annual visit replacing First of America Bank.

1999 - In the hottest part of July, the air conditioning unit of the clubhouse broke down during the Member-Member Tournament. A new unit was shipped in from Arizona.

- In August, the Foremost Insurance Championship was deemed by the board as the best visit by the Senior Tour yet. Christy O’Connor was one of the most popular winners in tournament history. The nephew of an Irish golf legend of the same name said he fell in love with Egypt Valley because the rolling green hills and ridges reminded him of home, and the club members and people of West Michigan were “clearly Irish, if not by blood, by spirit.” O’Connor shot 68 for 205 and won by four strokes.

- In October, Farmers Insurance Co. purchased Foremost Insurance Co. Another name change was coming for the Senior Tour visit.

- On Jan. 1, the new millennium was celebrated with a New Year’s Eve Party at the club. About 140 people attended. No Y2K glitches were reported.

2000 - Club member Russ Jimeson won his third Michigan Senior Amateur Championship. He also won in 1996 and ’97.

2000 - Member Joan Garety is invited to the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and receives a Rolex Achievment Award from The College Golf Foundation. It is presented by golf legend Arnold Palmer (pictured left).

2000 - In September, Larry Nelson, a two-time PGA champion and U.S. Open winner, won the first of consecutive Farmers Charity Classic titles. He fired a tournament record 198 with a closing 63 and topped Dave Stockton by three shots.

2001 - Andy Matthews, son of then members Jerry and Terri Matthews, won the Michigan Amateur Championship at Flint Golf Club. His win was historic as the first Grand Rapids area winner in 73 years.

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2001 - On July 4 weekend Larry Nelson (pictured right) won at Egypt Valley again. He closed with a 68 for 202 this time and a one-shot win over Jim Ahern.

2001 - Business fell dramatically following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on 9-11-01 and the club suffered some financial losses.

2002 - In March the club adopted the Laser Link system for yardage measurement on the course.

2002 - The Farmers Charity Classic is played in May and light snow falls during round one. Jay Sigel, the amateur legend from Pennsylvania who turned pro at age 50, shot 67 for 203 and a two-shot win over Morris Hatalsky.

2003 - In June, Oklahoman Doug Tewell shot 66 for 201 and survived a three-hole sudden-death playoff with Eamonn Darcy to win for the seventh time on the Senior Tour.

2004 - In June, Jim Thorpe shot a 66 to rally for a 206 and his eighth Champions Tour (formerly Senior Tour) win. Some drama unfolded on the practice putting green before the final round when co-leader Andy Bean passed out and was taken to a downtown hospital by ambulance. Bean later reported he was ill from something he had eaten the previous evening.

2004 - In October, the Jaycees announce the end of the Champions Tour coming to Grand Rapids under their ownership due to the lack of a title sponsor. The board had anticipated it might happen.

2004 - In November, the board approved an initiative to seek a United States Golf Association (USGA) tournament in the future and invited the USGA to visit and give consideration.

2004 - Member Judy Moleski, a club champion in 1997, won her second consecutive senior division title at the Michigan Women’s Senior Amateur.

2005 - Member Joan Garety was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. Among her accomplishments at that point are two Michigan Women’s Amateur titles, a GAM Mid-Amateur title, standout collegiate career at Michigan State University, 22 club championship wins and 12 Grand Rapids City Championships.

2005 - In July architect Art Hills submitted a plan to lengthen the golf courses and it was approved. Jeff Holmes was authorized to work on the plan as his time and budget permitted.

2006 - The club agreed to host the 2007 Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship in April and a visit by the USGA Junior Amateur Championship committee played golf and toured the club.

2007 - The club hosted the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship for the second time. In the final match, Laura Bavaird, a Western Michigan University golfer from Trenton, beat Shasta Averyhardt of Flint in 19 holes.

2008 - Member John O’Donovan served as president of the Golf Association of Michigan. It’s the most visible part of decades of volunteer administrative work in golf at the local and state level. He was also Club President in 1982, a two-time Club Champion as a player and served on multiple committees. He also helped lead the efforts of the club in hosting the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

2010 - The club hosted a USGA national championship for the first time – the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y. won, beating future PGA Tour star Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., 4 and 2 in the final. Liu is 14, the youngest winner ever eclipsing a record previously set by a 15-year-old Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, lost in the round of 32. In addition to Thomas and Spieth, notables in the field included Bryson Dechambeau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris. Gavin Hall shot a 62 during stroke play qualifying.

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2010 U.S. Junior Amateur at Egypt Valley Country Club


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2011 - Member Barb Schmid, a three-time Club champion, won her second GAM Women’s Senior Championship. She also won it in 2005 and won the 2009 Michigan Women’s Senior Amateur title.

2011 - Member Derrek Klimek won his first of six consecutive Club Championships from 2011 to 2016. He also won a seventh in 2018.

2011 - Terry Moore, a former member and Junior Club champion, was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame for his media contributions. He was co-founder of Michigan Golfer magazine, founder of the West Michigan Golf Show and was a board member of the Golf Writers Association of America.

2012 - Member Jack VanEss was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in ceremonies at Michigan State University. Among his accomplishments, despite never playing on Sundays, a World Super Seniors title, a Michigan Senior Open title and the club championship 10 times over four decades.

2015 - The club celebrated 25 years at the Egypt Valley site in Ada Township. The anniversary is recognized at several club events.

2015 - Jeff Holmes (pictured left), golf course manager since 1993, served as president of the Michigan Golf Course Superintendent’s Association.

2015 - The club hosted the Michigan PGA Professional Championship and Dan Urban, a former assistant professional at the club, wins in a playoff with John Seltzer, who would later become the director of instruction at Egypt Valley in 2023.

2015 - The club hosted the LPGA celebrity pro-am event in conjunction with the annual LPGA visit to Blythefield Country Club for the Meijer LPGA Classic For Simply Give. It starts a continuing relationship with the tournament.

2016 - Jeff Holmes, golf course manager, sought a master plan for the course to protect and preserve the original design of the courses and develop a plan for future maintenance and improvements. Michigan-based architect Chris Wilczynski developed a plan for the club. Chris Hufnagel chaired the club’s committee on the effort.

2016 - The club hosted the Michigan PGA Professional Championship for the second consecutive year. Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Scott Hebert is the champion.

2017 - Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll (pictured right), daughter of longtime members Dave and Sharon Slobodnik who grew up learning and playing the game at Green Ridge and Egypt Valley, is elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. She is a decorated player and a successful coach of the Michigan State University women’s team.

- Tom Harding, an assistant professional in the late 1990s at Egypt Valley now teaching in the Detroit area, is elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

2019 - The boys’ and girls’ teams from Forest Hills Northern High School and NorthPointe Christian, are among those the club has allowed use of the facility as a home practice facility for many years. All four teams from those two schools won MHSAA state titles in their respective divisions.

2019 - Expansion of the West Patio was completed to rave reviews.

2021 - Grand Rapids Community College’s golf team won conference and regional titles and finished 11th in the country in the NJCAA Division II National Golf Championships. They are coached by Egypt Valley instructor John Forton, who was named MCCAA Coach of the Year for the third time. GRCC teams have been a guest of the club for practice and play purposes since 1958.

2021 - Member and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Jack VanEss passes away. He is 94.

2021 - Following the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic golf participation booms as does membership at the club. Egypt Valley reaches full membership volume with a waiting list for the first time in several years.

2021 - James Piot of Canton shot 139 with rounds of 70 and 69 at Egypt Valley to earn one of two advancing spots in a U.S. Amateur Championship qualifier hosted by the club. Later that summer he became Michigan’s first U.S. Amateur Champion ever, taking the 121st edition of the national championship at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.

2022 - Renovations are made to the pool house, locker rooms, pool house kitchen and pool deck.

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2022 Pool Facility Renovations


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