States Golf Course Is a Family Affair


Nick Jasiak practices his golf swing.

By Sue Moore

It’s been “all in the family” at States golf course on W Avenue between Vicksburg and Schoolcraft since Walt and Rosalie Jasiak purchased the course in 1982. Now his son, Eric, and daughter, Anne, run the course but they were involved, long before Walt passed away in 2012.

Now a third generation is working at the course. Granddaughter Abby has worked in the kitchen since age 15 and now, at 18, has moved out from behind the counter to be a server. Grandson Nick, 15, who is named for golfer. Jack Nicklaus, works inside and out during the summers.

Both are saving half of their pay for college, just as dad Eric did when he was growing up and working at the golf course and attending business school at Western Michigan University.

The family also has a golfing background. Eric and his wife, Lisa ,both played golf on Schoolcraft’s teams and now their children are valued members of Hackett High School’s golf teams, although Abby was injured her senior year which limited her playing time.

Nick, Abby, Eric and Lisa Jasiak are all involved in the operations at States golf course, along with Eric’s sister Anne.

Their longevity in the business goes hand-in-hand with the history of States. The course was started by Mac Travis in 1927 when he decided to turn his farm on the corner of 18th street and VW Avenue into a golf course, known as Vicks/Craft.

The story goes that Travis was run out of business by some wealthy area people who wanted it for themselves, so he started a competing golf course on 18th street and W Avenue called States which is the first nine holes on the east side of the street. The nine holes on the west side of the street was added much later to the States complex. The Vicks/Craft course failed but States is still standing today.

Lucien Axtell owned the course from the 1940s to the 1960s, with the help of his son, Bobby. They sold the course and built Oakland Hills on Oakland Drive in Portage.

At States, the second nine holes were added in the 70s and the tiny clubhouse on the first nine was demolished and a new one built across the street.

A clubhouse fire in May 2009 apparently started from electrical problems in the attic.

“We worked out of the corner of the cart barn which fortunately had been built a few years earlier,” says Eric. “We had a tent set up, and the next thing we knew, we were back in business. We never missed a beat. The next thing we were in the building stage when October arrived and opened the new clubhouse the spring of 2010. Our customers are like family, so we had lots of support to come back quickly.”

States has hosted a Vicksburg golf league since it was formed just after WWII, and is still going strong, according to its secretary Wes Schmitt. Mason Bishop, was one of the mainstays of the league until he had to quit a few years ago, due to his advanced age of 96.

As States prepares to open for the 2014 season, the course should be in good condition since a good snow base was present all winter long, says Jasiak. He hopes to open next week if things warm up. League play begins April 14.

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