From The Vault: Ed Ervasti April 1992

From The Vault – SCORE Golf April 1992
Good With Age
by Jeffrey Reed

Senior golfer Ed Ervasti continues to amaze the folks at his home course at London Hunt and Country Club.

Last summer, Ervasti, 78, gave away 50 years in the London Hunt men’s match play championship. He captured the title on the 36th hole, hitting 12 of 18 greens in regulation in the second round, and likely became North America’s oldest ever club champion.

Ken Girard, London Hunt’s golf professional for the last 20 years, said Ervasti’s game is still impressive.

“He’s better now than when I first came to the club,” Girard said. “He’s an amazing person.”

A native of Minneapolis, Ervasti lived in Detroit during his high school days. “I worked in the pro shop, as a lot of kids do, said Ervasti. “I worked hard and I never played a lot of golf.”

But he did perform well. In the early 1940s, Ervasti scored 288 to finish as low amateur in the Western Open. He remembered, “They didn’t have a big prize money, but if I had been a pro, I think I would have won $1,200.”

Last summer, Ervasti qualified second in his region for the U.S. Senior Amateur, which Girard called “an amazing feat at his age.”

Ervasti said he lost more state championships than he won. He managed to capture the 1949 Michigan Amateur. While living in St. Louis, Ervasti lost in the state finals. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1943 to 1945, during which time he lost a Utah State Championship.

Ed Ervasti

Senior golf is Ervasti’s game these days, and so are club titles. He won three consecutive club titles in the late 1950s at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, and won the Hunt Club championship in 1968, 1972, 1973 and 1977. In 1991, Ervasti was third in London Hunt’s 54-hole medal play championship, in addition to men’s match play champion. Said Girard, “He has always kept himself in really good shape.”

For close to 20 years, Ervasti had a regular Wednesday golf date with local accomplished golfers Don Anderson of St. Thomas Golf and Country Club, and fellow London Hunt members Jack Nash, and Hall of Famer Sandy Somerville.

“It was a wonderful privilege to play with Sandy,” Ervasti said. “People didn’t know Sandy was a very keen bridge player. He was an all-around man.”

Somerville’s son, Ken, called Ervasti “an accomplished and competitive golfer.”

Ervasti, too, is multi talented. He was once a rated Michigan badminton player and is a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. And, he continues to accomplish the near impossible. He has captured London Hunt’s senior invitational 15 times, including last year. Other area titles include championships at Highland Country Club and Greenhills Country Club.

In 1971, Ervasti’s best year of senior golf, he won the Ontario Senior final (he was runner up in 1967 and 1968), the Canadian Seniors Golf Association championship and the Senior Champion of Champions Beefeater Trophy final. In a 10-year span from 1975 to 1985, Ervasti was a four-time U.S. Seniors’ Golf Association champion. In 1982, he won the U.S. International Senior’s title with a nine-stroke victory. His wife, Jan, captured the ladies’ portion of the event that year.

Today, Ervasti spends his winters in West Palm Beach, Florida, doing what he loves best and what he does best: playing golf. “I’m just taking life easy, just coasting along,” said Ervasti, who retired in 1976 as President and General Manager of Wolverine Tube. The company had transferred him to London 40 years earlier.

“For his size and ability and his knowledge of the game, he’s really a wonderful player,” Girard said. “He’s not a big person, not overpowering, but you recognize how good his course management is.”

Ervasti gives proof to the adage that things get better with age.

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Award-winning writer and three-time author Jeffrey Reed has been covering the Southwestern Ontario golf scene since 1980. He is also publisher and editor of LondonOntarioSports.com. Reach him at jeff@londonontariogolf.com.

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A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.