Jerry Faubel, CGCS, Elected to Michigan Golf Hall of Fame
BIG RAPIDS – The late Gerald “Jerry” Faubel, superintendent at Saginaw Country Club for over 35 years and a national turfgrass leader, Doug LaBelle of Mount Pleasant, twice a PGA Tour player in 16 years on professional golf tours around the world, and Jean Murray of Mount Pleasant, a standout player, Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Honorary Governor and high school golf coach, have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF).
The trio will be inducted on Oct. 29 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, home of the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center that houses the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. The 2023 class will bring the number of inductees to 137.
In addition, the MGHOF has voted to present its sixth Special Award in history to the Michigan Section PGA, which in 2022 celebrated 100 years as one of the 41 sections of the PGA of America.
“This Mid-Michigan threesome reflects the best of Michigan golf in national leadership, playing ability and dedicated service to the game, and the Michigan Section PGA hits on all three of those fronts with 100 years of impact,” said Greg Johnson, MGHOF committee chairperson, in announcing the 2022 class. “Mark your calendars now to come help us celebrate on October 29 at the Hall of Fame.”
Faubel, who passed away at home in Arcadia in December of 2022 at the age of 81, was a native of Iowa who came to Michigan for the superintendent’s job at Saginaw Country Club in 1969. He was the first president of the Mid-Michigan Turf Association and served as president for two years and as a board member for seven years with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Faubel also promoted turfgrass studies and research internationally, served with United States Golf Association (USGA) committees and started Executive Golf Search Inc. and with golf course architect Robert Trent Jones created a scholarship endowment fund.
LaBelle, 48 and a real-estate broker in Mount Pleasant, played on the PGA Tour for two segments of his career (2007-2008 and 2013-2014) combining for 96 PGA Tour starts. He won over $2.4 million on the PGA Tour and in 150 Korn Ferry tournaments that included two wins. He also won multiple mini-tour events as a professional, was a two-time All-America selection playing collegiately at the University of New Mexico and was a 1998 Palmer Cup selection for Team USA at Saint Andrews in Scotland. He won multiple junior golf titles, was an all-state selection in high school and in the 1996 Michigan Amateur Championship he was runner-up to MGHOF member Pete Green.
Murray, 85 a former GAM Governor and now Honorary Governor who continues to volunteer, won the inaugural GAM Senior Women’s Championship in 1997 and was the Michigan Senior Player of the Year in 2003. She has won multiple Michigan Women’s Golf Association titles and the Mount Pleasant Country Club championship 22 times. In 2009 at age 71 after two hip replacements, she won the prestigious Spring Lake Invitational. She also coached the girls’ team at Mount Pleasant High for 10 years, winning a state title in 1978 and leading four state runner-up teams, and has also served the Mid-Michigan District Women’s Golf Association and the Saginaw Valley Women’s Golf Association.
The Michigan Section PGA receiving the Special Award honors its history and the work of over 800 members beyond its competitive tournament structure. PGA Professionals teach the game, direct golf facilities and are involved in various philanthropic efforts like Project Hope and Folds of Honor supporting military veterans, the Midnight Golf Program in Detroit and grow-the-game junior golf initiatives like PGA Junior League and Drive, Chip & Putt.
The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates 134 members, including Walter Hagen and Chuck Kocsis and Al Watrous, and more current notables Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins. The collection is housed and displayed in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke facility. The late Ken Janke Sr. is co-founder and a member of the MGHOF.
The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 17 people representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also accomplishments of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game. For more information and to learn about the current members of the Hall of Fame, visit mghof.org.