ADA, Mich. (WLNS) – Mother’s Day has come and gone but for MSU women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll it was one she will cherish forever.
She was able to spend it on her favorite course or as she refers to it ‘her sanctuary’ with some of the people she loves the most.
For anyone who knows Stacy golf is not just a hobby or a sport, it’s a way of life and she grew up learning how to play the game with her father Dave at what used to be Green Ridge Country Club but has since been transformed into Egypt Valley.
“He played in college at Illinois State, so you know this is what we did every day during the summer,” said Slobodnik-Stoll. “We’d come out here. I was never really interested in swimming. That’s what most of the kids did when we came to the club but really, I would just wait for my dad to be done with his friends and we would hit balls and practice.”
All the practice over the years led Stacy to winning the state amateur on this course and while it’s a fond memory of hers there are a few more she considers to be a bit sweeter.
“We’d play barefoot,” Slobodnik-Stoll added.
“We’d go pick berries out at this back driving range. We’d bring orange sherbet containers and pick blackberries. Those are the things, the memories you’ll always remember that are outside of the game of golf but have everything to do with golf.”
Sunday afternoons were especially her favorite.
“At that time there was ‘The Stag Room’ which was really for men only,” said Slobodnik-Stoll.
It’s a part of the club you would never see today, but back then Stacy relished in being able to go there at two o’clock on Sunday afternoons and have a cheeseburger with him and all of his friends.
“Stacy would want to beat me and don’t forget I was younger then so I could play well,” said Dave Slobodnik. “You know if she had an opportunity there were a lot of accolades if she beat grandpa. Well, I wasn’t grandpa I was father then.”
Dave is a grandpa now to Olivia who is Stacy and her husband Jim’s only child. Golf was never really her thing growing up but over the last five years she’s become very good at it and played a major role in helping the Grand Valley State women’s golf team book its ticket to the Division 2 NCAA Championship.
“I think being around my mom’s team, her, my dad, everyone around me has always played golf,” said Olivia Stoll. “Being with them and playing in tournaments I think really helped a lot because you see the people who have been playing for seven years and I’m like, ‘I’m not that far behind them.’ I know I can be as good or even better.”
“I look over at Olivia and think, ‘Wow,’ said Slobodnik-Stoll. “A lot of times never in your wildest dreams did you think you’d be playing a high level of golf with your own child.”
A round to remember on Mother’s Day.
Allowing a 19-year-old, a 50-year-old and a 76-year-old to all compete and have fun.
“I feel like Lou Gehrig when he was diagnosed with ALS,” said Dave Slobodnik. He said, ‘I’m the luckiest man in the world’ well I’m the luckiest grandpa in the world.”