New Katke center to offer winter golfing opportunities and more

Workers are nearing the halfway point in completing the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Katke Golf Course. The center will give golfers a chance to play and practice all season long and will be the new home of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — After a slow start due to this year’s delayed spring weather, the newest structure at Katke Golf Course is nearing the halfway point to completion.

“We are in the process of building the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center,” said Ian Ziska, Katke manager and PGA head golf professional. “This is going to be an addition to the facility. The center is going to give our members, guests, students and professors the opportunity to instruct, fit for clubs and practice all year long.”

Ken Janke Sr., who died in 2011, was a former golf professional, an author of four golf books and co-founded the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.

Fundraising efforts took place over approximately the past six years to reach the $3.5 million goal for this construction project, which includes different technologies to offer golfers a chance to play through the long winter months. The two-story structure will feature an educational space for golf instruction and club fitting, enclosed heated hitting bays, a 750-square-foot indoor putting range, golf performance fitting and club repair shop and simulators on which golfers can play and practice.

“This building gives our facility year-round golfing,” Ziska said. “The only thing this area is really missing is a place to golf in the winter and this will be available for anyone to utilize. For us to have a public facility that will allow people to come in and golf during the winter months will help winter speed up.”

The Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center also will be the new home of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

“The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame board selected to come to Ferris State University,” Ziska said. “What we want to do and what they are doing kind of aligned. It’s a great partnership that we hope to develop and grow in the future.”

Ziska estimates local and visiting golfers will be able to test the new center’s many features in February.

“North of Grand Rapids, there is not going to be anything like this in Michigan,” he said. “It is definitely one of a kind.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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