The MDGO is proud to announce the 2018 inductees to the
Michigan Disc Golf
Hall of Fame
Mark Ellis PDGA #7423
- Career Wins: 105*
- Career Earnings: $29,160.83*
- Member Since: 1993
A friend, a mentor, and legal counsel if ever needed.
This man truly embodies the disc golf spirit from where the game’s roots began. He has been playing for almost 30 years, played +500 events, and has +100 victories in tournament competitions. Mark was a skilled racquetball player which easily helped him transition into the amazing forehand dominant player we all know and love. There is video evidence of him throwing backhands on actual drives, but it happens as often as a lunar eclipse. But his true strength lies in his 100ft and in style. If you have ever been lucky enough to warm up with Mark, you will immediately be introduced to the amazing utility disc, the Discraft Rattler. How or why he does not have a signature series of this disc is confounding? I and those who play with him regularly had no other choice but to bag this beautiful disc simply to the fact Mark makes us throw and learn it. Some of my fondest memories of playing with Mark are the wild and crazy style warm up games. And there is a method to his madness, they usually involve a style or shot you’re uncomfortable with and forces you to try something you normally wouldn’t. He secretly teaches you a shot, disguised as a goofy way of warming up for a round.
Many people were introduced to Mark on the internet, through countless instructional videos. I’d say at one point, he was the most famous disc golfer in the world, maybe just behind Climo. I still to this day, use the putting method taught in one of these videos. (http://discgolf.discraft.com/team_ellis.html) His willingness and drive to help people get better at the game isn’t something you find every day.
Many people were also introduced to him as the starter at the United States Amateur National Disc Golf Championship. The brilliance in his tone and the unmistakable voice that called out your name, made it different, made it feel special, made it a major! But after the round, you were introduced to what we miss, Lizard Games. Every year Mark would raid the Discraft factory for all kinds of disc golf goodies, and would have side games that are often copied but never duplicated. Even if the Toboggan course ate you up, it was forgotten for even a brief moment, when you were asked to throw a mini and attempt to land it on a port-a-john.
Mark is a kind and giving person. Nothing could exemplify this more than the shelter that was built at the Black Locust Course at Kensington Metro Park. Mark hit a +$2000 ace pool during Sunday league. Most of us would have wild aspirations on how to spend it, or hide it from our significant others. Mark instead went to the park and had them match his winnings and build a much needed pavilion for the course. I’m positive in stating, no other disc golfer I know would have done that. And the countless discs/beverages he’s handed out for free over the years, I’d guess would be in the tens of thousands.
Mark is a highly skilled disc golfer there is no doubt. But I think what kind of person he is truly magnetic and makes him the most likeable person in Michigan Disc Golf history. He’s friendly, hilarious, has a great story relatable to any disc golf situation, or maybe it’s just that beautiful head of hair.
I am honored and lucky to call Mark Ellis a good friend, and have been honored to have written his MDGO Hall of Fame caption. No one in my opinion is more deserving of this honor. Cheers Mr. Ellis!
Kevin Tomasaitis #24218
Al Haaksma PDGA #5870
- Career Wins: 1*
- Member Since: 1988
Started disc golfing in the early 80s, before Brewer had baskets, and he had golf discs. Soon, he joined the league that Joe Gill and Chuck DeVries had going. A few years later, with the help of Karl Hellwig, Amy Vreiland, Tom Strickland, Joe Kowalski, and a few more, they formed the Grand Rapids Disc Golf Club. A few years passed, then the MDGO was formed. A state series and championship was created. The year 2000 brought the first ever combined world championship, PAW 2000. That event was the most groundbreaking event he ever had the pleasure to work. Looking back, they thought were crazy to do it, but pulled it off. Al says, “it’s been awesome to see disc golf explode in Michigan, and the growth is still happening.” Continuing to say, “I feel so blessed to be part of this, and twice as honored to be inducted to the Michigan Disc Golf Hall of Fame.”
- Career Wins: 77*
- Career Earnings: $83,825.06*
- Member Since: 1993
Al “Sugar” Schack PDGA #3407
- Career Wins: 108*
- Career Earnings: $120,164.82*
Keith Aten PDGA # 6147
- Career Wins: 16*
- Career Earnings: $2,399.50*
Founding member CCR Club (Lansing), Mt Pleasant Disc Golf, & Gratiot Co Disc Clan. Founding member of the Michigan Disc Golf Org. Creator and promoter of the JBird Players Series. MDGO Officer.
Jeff Schwass PDGA # 6148
- Career Wins: 6*
Founder of the Mason Co Disc Golf Org. TD for the Worlds largest B tier The Discraft Michigan State Championships. Designer and installer of Ludington areas 6 courses.
Jim Kenner PDGA # 292
- Career Wins: 13*
- Career Earnings: $4,693.50*
- PDGA Hall of Fame Class of 1997
A modest pioneer in a sometimes flamboyant industry, Jim Kenner has proven himself to be a brilliant innovator in the pursuit of flying disc excellence. Experimenting with both new shapes and materials, Kenner’s development of a unique line of flying discs has been punctuated with the introduction of disc designs so radical and inventive that they mark a turning point in the nature of the game. Though he could easily rest on his laurels as a pivotal developer of disc technology, Jim Kenner continues to contribute to the growth of disc golf as a consistent supporter and sponsor of events and players.
Jay Matthes PDGA # 6431
- Career Wins: 8*
- Career Earnings: $1,943.00*
Sue Stephens PDGA # 10977
- Career Wins: 93*
- Career Earnings: $20,733.50*
- Advanced Women World Champion
- 2012 Womens Master World Champion
- 2016 Womens Master World Champion