Friday, August 28, 2015
Mike Raymond to enter Hall of Fame
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Mike Raymond has been selected as the 2015 inductee into the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame. The Jackson Golf Hall of Fame committee selected Raymond for the combination of his playing record – in terms of longevity and success – and his service to the game, according to committee chairman Gary Kalahar.

“Mike’s on-course success, his support of Jackson golf through his decades of entering tournaments, and his willingness to be a leader both locally and on the state level, make him a worthy member of the Hall of Fame,” Kalahar said.

Raymond will be inducted in ceremonies at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Sharp Park Golf Course clubhouse. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Among the highlights of Raymond’s playing career:

  • City Championship

    Tied for the tournament’s oldest winner when he won the title in 2008. With a match play record of 42-25, tied for 10th all-time in matches won, 9th in matches played and 13th in number of times to qualify for match play. Reached the finals one other time and semifinals twice, Made at least the quarterfinals the last five years.

  • Jackson Masters

    Has finished in the top 10 14 times and in the top 20 22 times, both in the top 10 all-time. Has finished second twice and third once. Has played in the tournament 27 times.

  • Lyle Ambs Memorial

    Reached the semifinals four times in the last six years.

  • Spring Thaw

    Second all-time in appearances (25 of 26 years in the championship flight), 6th with five top-5 finishes, finished second three times.

  • Tournament of Champions

    Won in 1999.

  • County Open

    Six top-5 finishes, including losing in a playoff in 2006 and second in 1993. Has played in the tournament’s championship flight for 29 consecutive years.

  • Other playing highlights:

    Fifth in total Honor Roll points since it was instituted in 1997.

    Qualified for the Michigan Amateur nine times and advanced to match play three times.

    Won the GAM Michigan Senior Match Play Championship (2013), GAM Four-Ball (2013), GAM Father-Son (2013) and Michigan Publinx Medal Play Senior Championship (2015).

    Qualified for the USGA Senior Amateur twice and advanced to match play in 2013.

    Teamed with Ron Beurmann to win the Michigan PGA State Pro-Am in 1995 and 2001.

    Won the Senior County Open five times and City Senior Championship twice.

    Three-time champion at the Country Club of Jackson.


Service to the game:

  • Chairman of the Michigan Amateur when it was played at the Country Club of Jackson in 2002.

  • Served on the Golf Association of Michigan Board of Governors 1998-2005.

  • Named the GAM Club Representative of the Year in 1996.

  • Member of the Jackson Golf Committee for the last five years.


Sunday, September 07, 2014
Denny Vass to be inducted in Hall of Fame
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Denny Vass will be inducted into the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame in ceremonies Sunday, Sept. 14 at Sharp Park Golf Course.
Vass won the 1970 Michigan Amateur Championship while he was a student at Michigan State University, where he was a team captain and played on the Spartans' first Big Ten championship team. Vass won the Country Club of Jackson championship four times, the Tournament of Champions three times and the County Open once.
Hall of Fame induction ceremonies begin at 2 p.m., and the public is invited at no charge.


Thursday, April 18, 2013
Jackson golf owes huge debt to Vic Cuiss
Posted by Gary Kalahar
When I first heard "Cuiss" hollered on the golf course, I had no idea what it meant. One of my high school golfing buddies blurted it out as his ball sailed into the trees, explaining that it was supposed to make your ball carom off a branch and back into the fairway. He didn't know where the word came from.
I sure am glad that I found out, grateful that I met Vic Cuiss and honored that I was able to work with him for many years on golf-related matters. Cuiss' death leaves a giant hole in the Jackson golf community, but at the same time his influence will be felt long into the future.
Cuiss played a large part in developing Jackson's reputation as a good golf town, particularly at the competitive level. He was one of the city's finest players for decades and still ranks as one of the all-time greats here. But his many accomplishments on the course pale in comparison to the legacy he leaves for what he did for golf and golfers in Jackson.
Al Cotton, the former Citizen Patriot sports editor, knew what he was doing when he asked Cuiss to take over running the City Championship. For nearly 40 years, Cuiss served as a more-or-less one-man Jackson Golf Committee, administering the City Championship and the Jackson Masters. The players might have been amateurs, but those tournaments were conducted in a professional manner.
It wasn't just the competitive players who benefitted from Cuiss' devotion, as he was influential in the direction of the Sharp Park and Cascades courses as a member of the city and county recreation boards.
It was Cuiss' vision that led to the creation of the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame, which he nurtured for nearly 30 years.
Cuiss' influence extended statewide. He served the Golf Association of Michigan in many capacities, including as its president. He was instrumental in the GAM ending a long engagement with Charlevoix as host of the Michigan Amateur and initiating a statewide rotation that began in Jackson.
The thing that struck me was not only how much he did for golf, but how he did it and why he did it.
How he did it? With class and grace. He was a gentleman in every way, on and off the course. He was so kind in ways great and small. When the final match of the City Championship was over or the final group of the Jackson Masters was finished, he was the first one onto the green to shake the hand of the winner -- and the loser. And he cared just as much about the guys at the bottom of the scoreboard as the ones at the top. Many are the stories of golfers, especially youngsters, encouraged by Vic to keep at it, to keep working on their games.
He was such a positive person, who always seemed to see the good side of things. It was a running joke at the Citizen Patriot that each year when the field for the Jackson Masters or City Championship was announced, it was in Vic's words "the best field we've ever had." Every year.
Why he did it? Often we see people in leadership positions with big egos, in it so others will notice them, eager to impose their power. The Vic Cuiss that I knew did not have a shred of such thoughts. He did it for one reason: He loved golf, and he wanted others to do the same. We had our disagreements. I was critical of some of the things he did. But not for a minute did I doubt his motives.
I don't know how often the "Cuiss" cry is heard on Jackson golf courses these days. I just hope that Jackson golfers -- now and for generations to come -- know who Vic Cuiss was, understand what he meant to the game and try to emulate the man he was.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Gene Hinkley: A gem of Jackson golf
Posted by Gary Kalahar
Gene Hinkley loved to play golf and tell stories about golf. He was one of Jackson's top competitors and one of the game's true gentlemen.
Hinkley, who was elected to the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame in 2009, has died at age 83.
During a competitive career that began in 1950 and lasted a half-century, Hinkley played with many of the top players in Jackson and throughout the state. Whenever the Citizen Patriot was looking for information on players or events from years gone by, Hinkley was a treasure trove of stories and was always extremely gracious in providing help. 
"So many great players. So many great stories," Hinkley said when he was inducted into the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame. "I love the game. The best friends I've met. The competition. I've been blessed with good health and great friends."
Hinkley's parents were charter members of Arbor Hills Country Club, and Hinkley belonged to Arbor Hills for 57 years before it became a public course in 2007. He won the club championship three times.
Among the highlights of Hinkley's golf career:
* Played in the Jackson Masters a record 44 times between 1950 and 1999 and finished in the top five eight times.
* Qualified for City Championship match play 33 times (third-most) and reached the championship match four times.
* Played in the Michigan Amateur 19 years, qualifying for match play five times and reaching the quarterfinals twice (1962 and 1971)
His reputation had as much to do with his election to the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame as his playing record.
"He is a gentleman all around, on the course and off," Dennis Kelosky, a longtime golf companion of Hinkley's, told the Citizen Patriot when Hinkley joined the Hall of Fame. "He is 100 percent for the game and about the game, and that lends itself to him being liked by everybody."

Saturday, September 01, 2012
Tom Benner elected to Jackson Golf Hall of Fame
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Longtime Country Club of Jackson caddy master Tom Benner has been named this year's inductee into the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame.
Benner will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies at 3 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Ella Sharp Museum. The public is invited at no charge.
The Jackson Golf Hall of Fame Committee selected Benner primarily for his work with the caddies at the Country Club of Jackson. He is in his 27th season in that position.
During that time, Benner has helped introduce hundreds of youngsters to golf and helped teach them the rules, etiquette and respect that mark the game. He has aided many caddies in their pursuit of Evans Scholarships, allowing them to attend college when they might not otherwise have been able. He has also been instrumental in the caddy scholarship program at JCC.
Benner has also been the boys and girls golf coach at Western High School, where he is a teacher, since 1991. Before that, he taught golf classes at JCC for 15 years.