Two men devoted to golfers’ improvement and enjoyment of the game make up this year’s class of the Jackson Golf Hall of Fame.
Equipment guru Ed Mitchell and former coach and teacher the late Bob Urschalitz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Sharp Park Golf Course. The public is invited to the induction, which will bring the Hall of Fame membership to 66.
“Ed Mitchell and Bob Urschalitz have helped a countless number of people become better golfers,” Jackson Golf Hall of Fame committee chairman Gary Kalahar said. “They did it in different ways, but what they had in common was that much of their work was done behind the scenes. So it is fitting, and well-deserved, that their contributions be recognized with their induction into the Hall of Fame.”
Mitchell became a PGA professional in 1967 and was a club pro until 1988, when he founded Mitchell Golf Equipment Co. and revolutionized the world of golf club making, repair and custom fitting. For nearly three decades until selling Mitchell Golf in 2016, Mitchell ran a company that is considered the industry leader.
When Mitchell introduced an angle machine to measure and bend clubs, he changed golf club technology and paved the way for the major club manufacturers to initiate custom fitting programs. While this has helped average golfers improve their game with clubs fitted to their swing, Mitchell Golf has also become well-known for its work with the world’s best players. Mitchell’s angle machines are the most used every year in equipment vans on the PGA and LPGA tours, and his expertise made him the only equipment maker allowed to set up shop at the Masters for 20 years.
He founded the Mitchell Golf Equipment Institute to provide training in club repair and fitting, and he has served the PGA as an instructor, officer and committee member. He was on the rules committee for the 1972 PGA Championship. Mitchell was inducted into the International Clubmakers Guild Hall of Fame in 2014.
Mitchell is a Grass Lake native who was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Country Club of Jackson. He started his professional career as an assistant pro there and was the head professional at four clubs, two in Michigan and two in Florida, before moving to Dayton, where he launched Mitchell Golf. He sold the company to Caster Concepts of Albion in 2016 and remains with the company as a consultant. He and his wife, Gwen, have had a residence in Jackson since 2006.
Urschalitz was a longtime high school golf coach at Jackson St. Mary and Concord and served the game in many other capacities before he passed away in 2006 at age 70. Concord won the Class D state championship in 1983 under Urschalitz, and he coached three teams to second-place state finishes while capturing six regional championships and 13 league titles. He earned state coach of the year honors in 1983 and 1991.
Urschalitz was very active in the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association, serving as the events chairman, regional representative and rules committee member. He was inducted into the MIGCA Hall of Fame in 1994.
Urschalitz was a golf instructor at Jackson Community College for 10 years in addition to teaching golf classes at Concord and conducting or helping teach at various junior golf programs in the area. He was also a supporter of the University of Detroit Mercy golf program, conducting the Titans’ tournament at Arbor Hills for several years.
As a player, Urschalitz competed on two teams that won state championships at St. Mary and two teams that won MIAA titles at Kalamazoo College, where he also was a football standout, earning the league’s MVP award in 1956. He was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Hall of Fame in 2004.