25,000 golf balls and still searching

Jeff Kik and a few of the 25,000 golf balls in his collection.

By Jef Rietsma

Collector’s Corner makes its debut in this month’s South County News.

This month, we are featuring two enthusiasts: Jeff Kik and his massive collection of golf balls, and Scott Phillips, whose man cave in his Schoolcraft-area residence is all about Indy racing.

Collector? Jeff Kik.

Collection? 25,000 golf balls.

How did your collection begin? In 1983, I was playing Lake Doster and there’s an old railroad bed you have to cross to go from one hole to the other. Down on a path about 10 feet away I found a 1963 liquid center Sam Snead 100 ball in perfect condition, and that got me going.

What is your best source for acquiring/trading/selling? eBay is a website that has made collecting and trading a lot easier. It opened a lot of doors, obviously.

What collectible eludes you? A Barq’s root beer ball, a Drewry’s Beer ball, Godfather’s (pizza), IHOP, Yuengling (beer), Burger Chef and there’s a Larry Bird ball I’ve been looking for for a long time. There are some others and I have a running list that I keep.

Your most-prized item? If my house was on fire, I would grab my collection of Ping golf balls. They’re highly collectible and Ping stopped making them in 1997. Also, I have a Nike 1 ball that’s limited to 2,000, which was produced back when Tiger was tearing it up. I also have a subset of logoed golf balls exclusively from Michigan-based golf courses that are existing, defunct and renamed, and I have about 800 out of 1,200.

What joy do you get from collecting golf balls? My granddaughter and grandson are starting to collect golf balls. They like Disney characters but they always enjoy looking at the many logoed golf balls I have on display. In addition, I’ve met people from across the world and I have really enjoyed conversations with them. It has also confirmed that I’m not the only crazy golf-ball collector out there.

Describe your most memorable acquisition. I drove to Cleveland and paid $350 for a collection of 3,000 golf balls. The guy had died in 1985 and he’d been dead 10 years. His grandson and granddaughter were selling the collection. It had a lot of vintage golf balls, which I really dig. The furthest I’ve ever driven for a collection was into Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati.

What’s the most you ever paid for a golf ball? A lady in Wisconsin had a rare ball and I paid her $1,600. I used my first stimulus check to buy it.

Are you on the Web? The Dutchman Collectible Golf Balls on eBay.

Footnotes: Kik, 66, displays in his den about 1,000 of his 25,000-ball collection. The rest are organized and in tubs, and he has meticulously documented just about every ball he owns. The logoed golf balls on display are categorized. His collection includes golf balls from Australia and Europe, a number are autographed and some rare golf balls are still in their original packaging.

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