Ohio Golf Hall of Fame

Ohio_Golf_2023_Class- This past week the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame Inducted their class of 2023.  Mitch Camp PGA,  Steve Groves PGA, Ken Kinkoff and Jim Popa where inducted at the HOF Banquet at Scioto Country Club on Thursday, September 14. 

Begun in 1992, the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame has bestowed this honor on 118 people.  Several people with ties to our area have been inducted in previous years.  Pete Dye, 1992, Janet Beardsley, 1993, Bob Servis, 1997, Bucky Albers, 2001, Rod Myers, 2007,  Nipper Campbell & Hugh Wall in 2010, Jim Logue in 2013, Jack Sayers in 2016 and Skip Snow in 2019.

Mitch Camp
Mitch became a member of the PGA of America in 1986. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Mitch’s family moved to Orrville, Ohio where he graduated from Orrville High School in 1976. Mitch won the Ohio High School Athletic Association AA Individual Championship in 1975. Mitch was a member of The Ohio State University Men’s Golf Team. In 1980, Mitch was named a 2nd Team All-American and won the Les Bolstad Award for Low Stroke Average in the Big Ten.

Before accepting the Assistant Golf Professional job at Fairlawn CC in 1983, Mitch played the Space Coast Golf Tour. In 1989, Mitch became the Director of Golf at Club Walden and has held that position since.

Mitch has endured a wonderful playing career on top of being the consummate Professional for the members of Club Walden and through the golf community of Northern Ohio. Mitch is a two-time Champion of the Ohio Open (1985 & 1993, three NOPGA Section Championships (1989, 1993, and 2014), the 2009 Ohio Senior Open, and the 2012 & 2021 Toledo Open Senior Championship. In addition, he was named NOPGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private) as well as NOPGA Junior Golf Leader of the Year (four times).

Mitch served as a board member of the Northern Ohio PGA from 1994 to 2002 and was a member of the NOPGA Junior Golf Committee from 1989 to present.

In addition to the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame, Mitch is also a member of the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame, the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame and the Orrville High School Sports Hall of Fame. 

Steve Groves  

Steve has been a member of the PGA of America since 1973. Originally from Lancaster, Ohio, Steve developed his love for the game playing at Valley View Golf Course. Steve was a member of The Ohio State University Men’s Golf Team. During his collegiate career, he was a three-time All American, two of those selections being a First Team All American. During his senior season in 1973, Steve claimed the individual title at the Big Ten Championship. cap off Steve’s 1973 season, he won the Ohio Amateur Championship at Findlay Country Club.

After turning professional in 1973, Steve spent time working at Orchard Lake CC (Michigan), Dubuque Golf & CC (Iowa), and Brookside CC in Canton, Ohio before landing back in Columbus, Ohio. Steve spent several years across Southern Ohio before going to work for the City of Columbus and becoming the Head Professional for 19 years at Champions Golf Course and eight years at Airport Golf Course. Today, he works as an Assistant Professional at Kinsale Golf & Fitness Club and is a huge asset every time the Ohio Golf Association visits with an event.

In addition to his years as a Golf Professional, Steve was the Head Women’s Golf Coach at The Ohio State University from 1980-1987.

Steve has served the membership of the Southern Ohio PGA as an officer, culminating with a term as Section President from 2009-2011. He was also named the 2007 Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year.

Steve has played in two US Opens, a PGA Championship and two Senior PGA Championships.

In addition to the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame, Steve is also a member of the Southern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame, Lancaster High School Athletics Hall of Fame and Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Ken Kinkopf 

Ken has been a lifelong Amateur in the game of golf. Growing up in Parma Heights, Ohio, Ken began to learn the game at Ridgewood GC, host of the 1927 USGA Amateur Public Links Championship. He played for The Padua Franciscan High School golf team and finished Runner up to Upper Arlington in the Ohio State High School championship in 1978. As an individual he finished 10th.

Entering his college years Ken decided to focus his efforts on building a career in business and not pursue collegiate golf. He earned his Finance and Accounting degrees from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Cleveland State University. During his early years of his Investment Management career, he earned the designation of Charted Financial Analyst (CFA). Eventually he went on to become an entrepreneur and built and sold several successful businesses. The game of golf was with him every step of the way helping him build relationships that were essential to his success.

Ken’s achievements on the golf course really began in 1995 when he qualified for the US Amateur Championship at Newport CC in Rhode Island. Since then, he has qualified for eight more USGA Championships, two US Open Sectionals and one British Mid-Amateur.

Ken has won four Ohio Golf Association Championships with the 2019 Ohio Senior Amateur Championship at Elyria CC, being the most recent. Previously, Ken has won the 2018, 2011 and 2009 Ohio Two Man Best Ball Championships. In the 2009 and 2011 Championships he partnered his son Michael.

After turning 55 years old, Ken’s success ramped up. In a twelve-month span during 2019-2020 Ken won six National Senior Amateur Championships and vaulted to 607th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was the 3rd ranked WAGR Senior player in the world. Since 2019, Ken has added three other National Senior Amateur Championships. In addition, Ken was the 2019 Golfweek Senior Player of the Year and Society of Seniors Player of the Year.

Ken now splits his time between Dublin, OH and Jupiter, FL. with his wife Carole who he has been happily married to for 36 Years. He is also a proud father of his three sons, Michael, Matthew and Jonathan. 

James M. Popa

Jim has dedicated his life to the game of Golf. As the son of 1994 class member, Nicholas Popa, Jim followed in his father’s footsteps. Jim took the helm of the Columbus District Golf Association and Ohio Golf Association in 1993 and held those positions until 2015 and 2018 respectively. After retiring as Executive Director, Jim sat on the Board of Governors of the Ohio Golf Association from 2019 through 2022. Jim also was active with the Society of Seniors in 1999, a national Senior Amateur organization that grew to over 1,000 members at one time during Popa’s tenure. Jim served as the Tournament Director prior to becoming the Executive Director in 2015 and currently holding that position. The Society of Seniors conducts Senior Amateur events annually for their membership. At last count, Jim has attended more than 160 SOS tournaments.

With over 30 years serving the game of Golf, Popa has conducted hundreds of Tournaments, Qualifiers and Championships. This calculates to more than 1,400 tournament days of competitive golf while Jim was at the helm. In addition, Jim volunteered his time and expertise for countless other golf events that served the community of Columbus, Ohio. Under Jim’s leadership, Ohio Golf Association grew to over 200 member clubs and added the Ohio Senior Amateur Championship and Ohio Two Man Best Ball Championship to the annual schedule. In 2006, Jim was the leader of the One Ball Tournament that was conducted in Ohio to show that the Committee of a Competition could use a Local Rule to have all competitors play the same golf ball.

Popa becomes the third Parent/Child combination to be selected for the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame with the others being Dick and Doug Gordin and William and Renee Powell. Jim’s father Nick was inducted in the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame class of 1994.

Jim and his wife Martha have lived in Upper Arlington, Ohio for 45 plus years where they raised their three children, J.W., Cathy and Samantha, all of whom are married with families.

In addition to the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame, James was the recipient of the Southern Ohio PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and the 2017 USGA Ike Grainger Award for longtime commitment to golf.

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