2017-08-03 / Sports

Son takes dad’s seat as co-chair of Fleis golf outing in Cedar

By Mike Spencer
Special to The Enterprise


ED FLEIS JR. eyes up a putt on the 18th green at Sugar Loaf the Old Course as son Jerry Fleis watches from behind. Jerry Fleis is following in his dad’s footsteps, taking over the reins as co-chair from his father for the ninth annual Ed & Irene Fleis Education golf outing on Saturday, Aug. 19. ED FLEIS JR. eyes up a putt on the 18th green at Sugar Loaf the Old Course as son Jerry Fleis watches from behind. Jerry Fleis is following in his dad’s footsteps, taking over the reins as co-chair from his father for the ninth annual Ed & Irene Fleis Education golf outing on Saturday, Aug. 19. Ed Fleis Jr. enjoys playing golf with, and even against his son, Jerry.

Regardless of who they are teeing off with on Saturday, Aug. 19, they’ll be on the same side.

They’ll be participating in the ninth annual Ed & Irene Fleis Education Fund Golf Outing at Sugar Loaf The Old Course. The four-person scramble honors Ed’s parents and Jerry’s grandparents and is a fundraiser to help students with Leelanau County lineage. Next year, the fund will award $50,000 in scholarships.

Jerry is taking over the reins as cochair for the golf event, replacing his father and continuing a trend to have the second-generation fill leadership positions in the fundraising events. Dale Watkoski, of Suttons Bay Township and Grand Rapids, became co-chair of the Spring Fling in May with his wife, Lynne. He will also serve as co-chair for the golf outing.

“I’ve been working on the golf outing since we started it,” Jerry said. “It’s been a great effort put on by a lot of members of our family to benefit the community. ... This is a great opportunity to go out and have fun and raise some money for a great cause.”

“What I think is neat is that we’ve gotten the community behind us,” Ed added. “We’ve got great people showing up here for the charity golf outing year after year and we’ve had some great sponsors that have been committed every year.”

Both Ed and Jerry have assembled winning teams in the golf outing. Ed’s team won it in 2016 and aims to repeat. Jerry’s team won it in 2013.

One of the common denominators of the winning foursome was Leland’s Paul Bardenhagen, a former Hope College golfer.

“I’m still crafting my team,” said Jerry, who already signed up. Meanwhile, Ed has his team signed up, but is waiting to fill the fourth spot.

Ed and Jerry played together in the Fleis golf outing once, but decided it was better to have their own teams and bring in more golfers.

In recent years, the golf outing alone has raised more than $20,000 for the fund.

This year’s event offers two hole-in-one contests on par 3s. An ace on the 18th hole will net a 2017 Buick Envision, donated by Bill Marsh Auto of Traverse City. An ace on No. 6, will win $5,000, from The Old Course.

No aces have been recorded in the history of the outing, however, last fall, two were recorded on the same day at the course during the Leelanau Cup.

“The course is in great shape,” said Ed, who owns the course. “We’ve had a dedicated staff here for a long time and they all take pride in their work.”

Jerry and Ed are working on getting more sponsors for this year’s golf event and volunteers are also needed.

Entry fee for sign-ups is $320 or $80 per person if paid by Monday. The fee includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, hole-in-one contests, beverages and 1:30 p.m. lunch at the Sugarfoot Saloon. After Aug. 7, golf fees are $350 per team or $87.50 per player. The outing begins with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

Golfers can go online to sign up at edandirenefleiseducationfund.com or write a check payable to: Ed & Irene Fleis Education Fund, 6060 Grand Haven Road, Norton Shores, MI 49441. For more information, call Jerry Fleis at 231-835-0715 or Dale Watkoski at 616- 893-2237.

“When I’m playing in this golf outing, I often think of how our parents would feel about us doing this in their honor and that it has been so successful for the community,” Ed said. “I’m sure mom and dad are proud of us and proud of the friends who have become very, very committed to the fund.”

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