PHOTO CAPTIONS: Shown (above and below) are artist renderings of the future Ken Janke
Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University. A special groundbreaking ceremony
will be hosted on Saturday, April 28 beginning at 10 a.m. from Katke Golf Course in
Years of collaboration, dedication and hard work will soon turn the dream of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center, at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course, into a reality.
The future facility, expected to be completed by early 2019, features 7,000 square feet of space that includes state-of-the-art TrackMan golf technology for Ferris’ PGA Golf Management students and visitors, three indoor/outdoor heated hitting bays for year-round use, an indoor putting green and space to house the new permanent home of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. Mike Bigford, chair of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center Campaign Steering Committee, is looking forward to seeing this center begin to take shape following the Saturday, April 28 groundbreaking ceremony that begins at 10 a.m. at Ferris’ Katke Golf Course.
“We’re excited to finally host this groundbreaking and so thankful for the generous support and hard-working efforts of so many people who have made this all possible,” Bigford said. “This facility is going to greatly enhance educational opportunities for our PGA Golf Management students and faculty. And, as the future home of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, this new Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center is going to attract so many people, including many golf enthusiasts, to Ferris and Big Rapids. We couldn’t be more excited to see the dream of this facility become reality.”
Aaron Waltz, director of Ferris’ PGA Golf Management program and an associate professor in the university’s College of Business, is thrilled about what this new learning center will mean for year-round training and instruction for PGA Golf Management students.
“This facility will allow our students to continue to learn and train, at a high level, even during winter,” he said. “From an education standpoint, the benefit our students will have, using state-of-the-art technology, is critical to their growth as students and future teaching professionals.”
Many key figures from Michigan’s golf community, excited about the future home of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, are traveling to Big Rapids for the April 28 event.
“The groundbreaking for the construction of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center is a momentous accomplishment for the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and for Ferris State University,” said Greg Johnson, of Hudsonville, co-chair of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. “This is the culmination of a longtime goal. This facility is going to provide the perfect environment to display these artifacts that showcase Michigan golf history and recognize the many great people who have contributed to golf in Michigan.”
Waltz sees the future learning center turning the region into a year-round destination for golfers.
“We see the new center not only being a local draw, but also a state and regional draw for golfers to visit, get fit on the best product in the world and to take advantage of great practice opportunities, year-round,” said Waltz, director of a program that is 40-plus years old with more than 1,800 alumni, including 455 who are employed as head golf professionals, directors of golf or general managers. “For our students, this facility meets an immediate need to train on the best equipment in the world and to come out of this program well-prepared to work in the golf industry.”
Guest speakers for the groundbreaking, which will take place behind the Katke Golf Course clubhouse, include Ferris President David Eisler, Bigford, Michigan Golf Hall of Fame co-chair Terry Moore, Waltz, and Ken Jr. and Kim Janke.
In April 2017, Ken Janke Jr. and his wife, Kim, made a $500,000 gift to name the center in honor of his father, Ken Janke Sr.
Ken Sr., who died in 2011 at the age of 77, was the retired chairman and CEO of the National Association of Investors Corporation, a former golf professional, and an author of four golf books and two books on investment. In connection to the learning center campaign, Ken Sr. co-founded the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, in 1982, with Stan Aldridge, the owner of Indianwood Golf and Country Club, in Lake Orion where the hall of fame was originally located.