2010 Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Ceremony

2010 Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Ceremony

Last Sunday at Eagle Eye Golf Club Sue Ertl, John Traub and Bill Zylstra became the newest members of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. Although taking different routes toward golfing excellence, they all thanked family members, friends and mentors gathered for the occasion in similar heartfelt and humble fashion


Permit me to begin—in reverse alphabetical order—with Bill Zylstra. The veteran Detroit publinxer has attained remarkable state and national stature for his outstanding senior amateur achievements including being ranked by Golfweek as the top senior male amateur in the country.


Crediting his late parents for instilling a love and respect for the game, Zylstra also acknowledged and thanked former M.S.U. golf coaches Bruce and Mary Fossum for establishing a “family atmosphere and warm feeling” while he was a Spartan varsity golfer in East Lansing. Zylstra also praised his longtime teacher—PGA pro Paul Haase—for transforming his game nine years ago. “Paul is 90% responsible for all of my good play,” said Zylstra, the GAM’s 2009 Senior Player of the Year and a recent Florida Senior Amateur champion. “The other 10% goes to me, I guess, since someone has to hold onto the club.”


Adding words of praise for the Michigan PGA, the GAM, Michigan Publinx Association, and Glenhurst GC, Zylstra also said state senior players such as Bill McDonald, Greg Reynolds, John Lindholm, Bill Curtis and Jack Van Ess all “inspired and motivated me to become a better player when I turned 50.”


Growing up on a nine hole course in Lexington, MI, John Traub echoed gratitude to family and friends as well as to his Michigan PGA colleagues for his induction into the Hall of Fame. He also reflected on winning the Club Professional Championship in 1980 over a windswept and OB-stakes strewn PGA National GC in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. In 30 mph winds, Traub put away the driver and relied on his one-iron off the tee, keeping the ball in play. “I played it safe and shot 69 and won the tournament,” said Traub. “That title opened up lots of doors.”


In 1981, Traub competed in the World Series of Golf at Firestone CC and played with Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. He recalled two guys in the gallery heckling Trevino with one yelling out, ‘Hey Lee, what do you feed your caddie?’ Without missing a beat and looking over at the rotund Herman Mitchell, Trevino snapped back, “Oh, about two rednecks a day!”


In 1982 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he played a practice round with the eventual winner Tom Watson. He also played with Seve Ballesteros and later became good friends with him. But Traub said his biggest thrill was meeting and having lunch with Ben Hogan at Shady Oaks. “He had an intimidating presence with the most piercing eyes,” said Traub who’s now an accomplished instructor. After lunch, Hogan personally signed and presented Traub with a copy of his famed “The Five Fundamentals of Golf.”


A native of Ionia, Sue Ertl earned Hall of Fame honors for her notable LPGA record as well as her distinguished collegiate golf career at M.S.U. where in spite of being a “walk-on” she ended up later becoming the school’s first ever Sportswoman of the Year in 1978. 


A multi-talented athlete in high school, Ertl took time to pay tribute to her former high school golf coach who was in the audience while calling to mind that varsity sports for young women in the `70s represented a new frontier. “Many high school girls before me never had the chance to play sports so I was fortunate to do so,” said Ertl now a club teaching professional in University Park, Florida. Ertl’s comments about her coach also prompted an ovation. “Thank you for your class, Mary Fossum.” Along with teammates, friends and family members in the room, Ertl recognized her mother, Carol, as “my number one fan.”


On the LPGA circuit for 11 years, Ertl was a steady and popular player, known for her fan club called “Ertl’s Turtles.” Her best LPGA finish was fourth, which she attained on four occasions including in the 1990 LPGA Championship, the first ever $1 million dollar purse in a major championship for women.


At times choking up with emotion, Ertl told of her continued passion for the game and how much enjoyment she receives from teaching. And she thanked fellow golfers and friends for “encouraging me, for opening doors for me, and for challenging me.”


Humorously and ably emceed by Michael Patrick Shiels, the morning and golf savvy host for WJIM-AM and the Michigan Talk Radio Network, the dinner program concluded a sunny day of golf at Eagle Eye GC in Bath. Established in 1982, the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame is overseen and managed by the Michigan Golf Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. For more information, visit


                                                                                                            –Terry Moore