The Saginaw District Golf Association’s annual Invitational Tournament has been held each year in June at different golf courses throughout Saginaw County for 62-years now; and this year the 2017 Saginaw District Golf Tournament is scheduled for the weekend of June 23-24-25 at The Saginaw Country Club.
Conceived back in 1955 thanks in large part to the vision of former Saginaw News Sports Editor Joe Hart, and the tireless effort and commitment of my late father and long-time SDGA Board of Directors Chairman Fred Martin Jr., the Saginaw District has evolved into the premier amateur golf event in Saginaw County and is intended to identify annually the best amateur golfer in the county.
Since the initial tournament, 34 different players have earned the distinction of District Champion. The District Championship is awarded to the winner of the Open Division, and receives the Joe Hart trophy. Bill Strong Sr. was the first in a long line of talented players to be crowned District Champion.
Ron Stelter is the dean of participants, having played in every District Tournament from its inception in 1955 through 2012. In the years from 1956 to 1979, Ron Stelter and Stan Murphy owned the District, accounting for wins in 15 of the 24 Tournaments. Ron’s 10 victories likely will stand as a record for many years to come.
Stan Murphy and Matt Pumford both have 5 Hart Trophies - tied for second on the list of multiple champions. Danny Hughes is third all-time with 4 victories. Craig Barber has 3 followed by Mike Anderson, Tom Doozan, Terry Franz, Mike Humphrey, Nick Pumford and Walt Van Sickle as two time winners.
Played from 1994 through 2013, the Senior Division of The Saginaw District has seen 11 different champions. The Senior Championship trophy honors founding District chairman Fred Martin, Jr. Dave Bewley, Mike Humphrey and Alan Pumford have each won three Senior titles. Danny Hughes, Mike Skrocki and Mike Stelter have each won twice.
Changes came again in 2014 when the Legends Division was introduced as a separate division for players 50 years of age and older. The Legends Champion trophy fittingly honors district legend Ron Stelter. The first Legends Division champion was Roger Alverson, followed by Steve Yockey, and last year’s champion Gary Trumble is profiled in this special District Supplement.
As the Legends Division was introduced, the Senior Division was eliminated, but not the Senior Champion. The Senior Champion is now awarded to the low scoring player 50 years of age or older who plays in the Open Division.
The biggest change for this year’s Saginaw District is the fact there is no longer a qualifying tournament. This year registration for the District will close at 4 pm on June 12th, or when the field for each division is full.
The SDGA is also excited to announce a new change to the riding cart rules for the 2017 tournament. For the first time, participants in the Open Division will be allowed to use riding carts during the tournament. “This is something that participants have been asking us to change for some time now,” said SDGA Chair Trace Hendrick. “We’ve shown over the past few years that we’re trying to be responsive to what participants are looking for and we hope that this, along with our successful pace-of-play policy makes for a more enjoyable tournament this year.”
The Tournament will consist of two Divisions, the Open Division and the Legends Division. Players 50 years of age or older must elect to play in the Open Division or the Legends Division, but not both. Both the Open and Legends Division Tournaments will be 3-day, 3 round events, played concurrently, with each field being cut for the final day of competition
General Registration for the 2017 Saginaw District Golf Tournament is now open for both the Open Division and Legends (over 50) Division. Registration details, including online registration, are available at www. saginawdistrictgolf.com.