Mike Keiser '63 was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame on November 1 as a member of that organization's 2017 class. Mike has been named by several golf publications as one of the most powerful and influential people in the game of golf. Born and raised in East Aurora, Mike played soccer and tennis at Nichols School and played golf at Amherst College.
Mike's passion is to build great golf courses, which are accessible to every golfer ("the retail golfer"). Bill Coore, golf architect and partner of Ben Crenshaw, has called Mike "the patron saint of public golf." Ben Crenshaw has written that, "Mike is a very fierce advocate for golf. I can sort of call him an American individualist. He is an explorer, scouts the world for golf land that is inspired from the British Isles, sandy land by the seashore is a great part of his passion. He simply wants people to enjoy golf in varied settings...has identified the explorer type of golfer...he builds golf for everyone."
Mike has built 14 golf courses and is currently working on 10 more. Golfweek Magazine lists six of Mike's courses in the top 61 modern day courses in the United States: The Dunes Club (New Buffalo, Michigan), Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Old MacDonald, Bandon Trails (all four in Bandon, Oregon and all four rated in the top 15 public courses in America) and Sand Valley (Rome, Wisconsin). Golf Magazine and Golf Digest list six of Mike's courses in the top 100 courses in the world: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Barnbougle Dunes, Barnbougle Lost Farm (both in Bridport, Tasmania) and Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs (both in Inverness, Nova Scotia and both rated in the top five public courses in Canada). Of the best 25 courses in the United States, only Pebble Beach and Pacific Dunes are public courses.
The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has hosted numerous USGA and amateur championships including the 2006 Curtis Cup, the 2007 USGA Mid-Amateur, and the 2011 U.S. Public Links (men's and women's) and will be hosting the 2020 Men's U.S. Amateur Championship.
Mike's philanthropy includes establishing the Judgy Lytle '64 Scholarship for scholar athletes at Nichols in memory of his close friend and Nichols teammate who died in a car accident in 1965. Since 1983 when the scholarship was established, 58 Lytle Scholars have graduated from Nichols.
In his acceptance remarks at the November 1 induction ceremony held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Mike was quick to credit longstanding golf outings and bonding with his Nichols classmates as essential to his interest in course building. He specifically thanked classmate Warren Gelman '63 for keeping the pack together and planning annual class golf trips ever since their graduation from Nichols.
Beyond Nichols, Mike has been a significant benefactor of the Evans Scholars Foundation, which supports high school age caddies learning about golf and life during the summer months. Many of these young caddies attain college scholarships as a result of their caddying. Mike has been inducted into the Western Golf Association Caddy Hall of Fame for his contribution in promoting caddies and their role in the game of golf.
Mike was the first inductee into the Legacy of the Links Top 100 Hall of Fame, which was established in 2013 "to honor those visionaries whose courage and imagination have brought great golf courses into existence." In the tribute to Mike it was said "His absolute appreciation of classic architecture and consistent idealism especially for preserving the soul of the game has earned Mike Keiser the lasting legacy of being the first inductee to the Top 100 Hall of Fame."
For more on the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame's 2017 induction class, click here: http://buffalonews.com/2017/11/01/for-many-in-the-...