Ferris State, Michigan Golf Hall of Fame celebrate opening of Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center

Ferris State University president David L. Eisler speaks during the grand opening celebration of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Saturday at the Janke Learning Center entrance. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

BIG RAPIDS — Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members and inductees and friends of Ferris were on hand to celebrate the opening of Ferris State University’s Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center on Sunday.

Ken Janke Sr., who passed away in 2011, was a former golf professional, an author of four golf books and co-founded the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1982. His son, Ken Janke Jr., was on hand for the ceremony.

Janke Jr. and his wife, Kim, presented their $500,000 lead gift to honor Janke Sr.

“I’d like to thank everyone for the support in this project,” Janke Jr. said. “We by no means did it on our own; it took a lot of people to contribute and bring this project to fruition.”

“It’s a great facility and its one of those things that can only be accomplished when people with a shared vision come together,” Ferris State vice president for Administration and Finance Jerry Scoby. “It’s families like the Jahnke’s, the Bigford’s, and many others. It’s really a great investment in the future students of the PGA program. I’m really excited that they’ll have these opportunities.”

Fundraising efforts took place over 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.

Guests can experience indoor golf in one of our four bays featuring 3D hyper-realistic courses mirroring the feeling of being on a real course.

“There is a lot to offer here,” Scoby said. “This facility will extend the season for people and allows players and aspiring pros to work on their game 12 months a year.”

“This building gives our facility year-round golfing,” said Ian Ziska, Katke manager and PGA head golf professional. “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.

“This partnership with Ferris presents a great opportunity to not only preserve the legacy of our champions and our contributors but to also educate students and visitors in regard to the history of the game and our state,” Hall of Fame Chairman Greg Johnson said. “We might be up north but we have incredible history here. We feel like we have found a home; it’s a place where players play and prepare for careers in the game.”

The hall will feature a collection of portraits, plaques, and memorabilia for a curated display in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center that commemorates their 127 inductees.

“It was a long journey but any idea worth pursuing takes time,” Scoby said. “If we hadn’t started this journey six years ago, we wouldn’t be here today.”

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