Legend on the links

Faith Egli’s illustrious golf career has earned her numerous accolades and honors over the years.

From an all-Big Ten career at Michigan State, to playing in over a dozen LPGA tour events, to becoming one of the top golf professionals in the country, Egli’s accomplishments are more than enough to make other golfers jealous.

This weekend she’ll add one more honor to the list.

Her distinguished resume has earned Egli a spot among this year’s inductees to the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame. She will be inducted along with James Glennie, Darvin Walmsley and Scott MacKenzie at the annual Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday at the APlex.

“I’m very humbled and honored that my accomplishments were worthy of the Hall of Fame,” Egli said.

As accomplished as Egli has been throughout her career, golf wasn’t her favorite sport when she was younger.

“When I started golfing as a child, it wasn’t my favorite sport. I preferred baseball and softball,” Egli said. “My parents would play and give me a dime a hole to go out and play with them or we’d stop for ice cream cones afterward (as an incentive).”

Egli lettered in golf, basketball and softball at Alpena High before graduating in 1984. She was also named Alpena’s Athlete of the Year in 1984.

Though she played golf as a more of a hobby, Egli proved good enough to catch the attention of MSU golf coaches, Bruce and Mary Fossum. Once they noticed, offers from other schools followed.

“The game always came pretty easy to me. I just went out and played and got the attention of some golf coaches,” Egli said.

Egli accepted a golf scholarship to Michigan State, but when she got to East Lansing, she quickly found out she had a lot to learn to become a better golfer.

“They ripped my swing totally apart every day for four years. I had an over-the-top swing and they changed my swing path, helped me get more consistency and I was under par quite often,” Egli said.

Under the Fossums’ tutelage, Egli shined as a member of the MSU golf team. She was a four-year letter winner for the Spartans and was named to the all-Big Ten first team twice. She won the team’s Spirit Award twice and served as a co-captain for two years. She also won three collegiate tournaments.

For all of her accomplishments, Egli was named a finalist for MSU’s Athlete of the Decade among a group that including famed Spartans’ running back Lorenzo White.

Egli entered college with thoughts of become a doctor, but quickly realized she wanted to pursue her growing passion for golf. She graduated with a degree in commercial recreation and at 22 years old, she became the head golf professional at the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island.

In 1989, Egli was a participant in the US Women’s Open, which was played in Lake Orion. Egli had some success as an amateur golfer, but found the US Open to be a completely new experience.

“When you play in a regular tour event, there’s people here and there (watching). When you play in the US Open, they’re standing four or five deep everywhere you looked,” Egli said. “It was quite the challenge because you feel like everyone is staring at you the whole time.”

In her playing career, Egli has won numerous professional tournaments in PGA and LPGA play and competed in over a dozen LPGA events. She is a three-time LPGA Midwest Section runner-up and also finished third twice. Most recently, she won the 2013 Ohio Senior Women’s Open.

When she’s in town this weekend for the banquet, Egli plans to play some of the courses in Alpena if time and weather permit.

As successful as Egli is on the golf course, she has made perhaps an even greater impact as a golf professional and teacher.

Since taking her first pro job at the Grand Hotel, Egli has worked her way up and is now one of the top golf professionals in Ohio. She is currently the General Manager and Director of Golf at Mohawk Golf and Country Club in Tiffin, Ohio and is an active volunteer for LPGA-related endeavors. She is one of 50 golf professionals with certification in both the PGA and LPGA and has been rated as one of the top professionals in America.

Egli originally didn’t envision herself as a golf pro, but she eventually made history in 2002 when she was named head golf professional at Congress Lake Country Club in Hartville, Ohio, becoming the first female golf professional at a private country club in Ohio.

That same year, Egli was one of six inaugural inductees into the Alpena High School Hall of Fame. “I got to the top of my career. I made it to the pinnacle of the top one percent of jobs in the golf professional business,” Egli said.

Egli worked at Congress Lake for 12 years before taking the Mohawk position. She has also served as the head golf coach at Heidelberg University in Tiffin.

In her career, Egli has been named the LPGA Midwest Section Golf Professional of the Year twice (2011 and 2013) and was the 2011 Goldie Bateson Award for service. She is a three-time PGA National Council for the Growth of the Game Award winner and has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the PGA.

Egli’s accomplishments will be celebrated this weekend, but for Egli, the real reward in her career has been helping others improve and become better golfers.

“I never thought I could make a career out of golfing,” Egli said. “It’s really, really rewarding. Everyone has different goals and it’s a challenge to see how good they can get.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.