Beginning in 1955, the Saginaw District Golf Association's annual District Invitational Tournament has been held each year for over half a century. Thanks in large part to the vision of former Saginaw News Sports Editor Joe Hart, and the tireless effort and commitment of long-time SDGA Board of Directors Chairman Fred Martin Jr., the Tournament became the premier amateur golf event in Saginaw County. It is intended to identify annually the best amateur golfer in the county.
Since the initial tournament, thirty-three (34) different players have earned the distinction of District Champion. The District Championship is awarded to the winner of the Open Division, and receives the Joe Hart trophy. Bill Strong Sr. was the first in a long line of talented players to be crowned District Champion.
Ron Stelter is the dean of participants, having played in every District Tournament from its inception in 1955 through 2012. In the years from 1956 to 1979, Ron Stelter and Stan Murphy owned the District, accounting for wins in 15 of the 24 Tournaments. Ron's 10 victories likely will stand as a record for many years to come. Stan Murphy and Matt Pumford both have 5 Hart Trophies - tied for second on the list of multiple champions. Danny Hughes is third all-time with 4 victories. Craig Barber has 3 followed by Mike Anderson, Tom Doozan, Terry Franz, Mike Humphrey, Nick Pumford and Walt Van Sickle as two time winners.
Played from 1994 through 2013, the Senior Division has seen 10 different champions. The Senior Championship trophy honors founding District chairman Fred Martin, Jr. Dave Bewley, Mike Humphrey and Alan Pumford have each won three Senior titles. Danny Hughes, Mike Skrocki and Mike Stelter have each won twice.
Changes came again in 2014. The Legends Division was introduced as a separate division for players 50 years of age and older. The Legends Champion trophy fittingly honors district legend Ron Stelter. The first Legends Division champion was Roger Alverson.
As the Legends Division was introduced, the Senior Division was eliminated, but not the Senior Champion. The Senior Champion is now awarded to the low scoring player 50 years of age or older who plays in the Open Division.
In 2020 the SDGA became a 501(c)(3) organization and began some new initiatives to grow the game of golf. We partnered with the First Tee of Eastern Michigan to do a monetary donation and pursue volunteer opportunities. We also began discounting entry fees for High School players and added a trophy to recognize the low finisher. There were also many temporary changes to the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We invite you to browse the lists of past winners and player scoring histories in the links on this page. Although not complete at this time, more of the history of the SDGA and the District Invitational Tournament - in pictures, words and player and Tournament statistics - will be added in the future.