Gene Hinkley: A gem of Jackson golf
Written 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."