THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (May 5, 2022) – A shared love of golf is a pretty strong bond. But the love shared by a mother and daughter who golf together at Crystal Mountain is magical.
Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, head coach of the women’s golf team at Michigan State University, is no stranger to Crystal Mountain. She’s been visiting and playing golf at the resort since the Michigan Women’s Open Pro-Am in 2003.
That was a very special year for the then mom-to-be.
“I was eight months pregnant in 2003, and the PGA Director of Golf, at the time, asked me to fill in as a pro in the first Michigan PGA Women’s Open Pro-Am at Crystal Mountain,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “I told him it may not be pretty, but I would be happy to help out.”
As a former Spartan golfer (1990-94) who went on to play professionally, Slobodnik-Stoll had played in several Michigan PGA Women’s Open tournaments prior to the first time Crystal Mountain hosted it in 2003. The Mountain Ridge course has remained home to the tournament ever since, celebrating 20 years this summer.
“Once we realized how amazing Crystal Mountain was, we never wanted to miss the tournament, and we didn’t,” she said. “I played pregnant with Olivia in 2003, and every year after that she was there with my mom, dad and my husband waiting at the bottom of the mountain for me after my round.”
But the story of the mother-daughter golf duo finally came full circle at last year’s Michigan PGA Women’s Open.
“My mom, dad and husband were still waiting at the bottom of the mountain, but now Olivia is also competing in the Open!” Slobodnik-Stoll added.
Olivia Stoll is now a freshman at Grand Valley State University playing on the women’s golf team under Head Coach Rebecca Mailloux.
“Even though I chose to play for Grand Valley, my mom comes to support me every chance she gets,” Stoll said. “I’m not surprised she played when she was pregnant with me, I think it’s awesome, and now it’s one of my favorite tournaments. Crystal definitely holds a special place in my heart.”
Slobodnik-Stoll, 50, is celebrating her 25th season as head coach this year. She has led the Spartans to 22 NCAA Regional appearances, including this year, 14 trips to the NCAA Championships, eight Big Ten titles, and dozens of tournaments with first place finishes. Slobodnik-Stoll is a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, and holds many other accolades and awards including Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Decade and she is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame and the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame.
“The success of the program today truly stems back to my coach and mentor, Mary Fossum,” Slobodnik said of the first head coach of the MSU women’s golf program (1973-1997). “She was a pioneer for our sport and I was lucky enough to be one of her players. Mary taught me how to be a coach and a big part of that was caring for your team like family – she was an extension of my own parents.”
Many people would agree a coach isn’t just a coach: They are a mentor, motivator, leader, and sometimes, a mother figure. Just ask MSU Assistant Women’s Golf Coach Caroline Powers Ellis.
“Oh yeah, Coach (Slobodnik) was a mom, friend, advisor, whatever she needed to be,” Powers Ellis, former MSU golfer (2009-13), said. “I looked up to her then and I still do. She has always believed in me from day one, and the weight that holds means so much to me.”
From player to assistant coach or from the womb to the green, legendary stories are rooted in family. And after all, Crystal Mountain is family-owned.
“The property, the quaintness of the resort, seeing Jim and Chris (MacInnes), that’s what keeps us coming back,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “We see Crystal as an extension of family, and we look forward to bringing ours back for the tournament each and every year.”
The 2022 Michigan PGA Women’s Open will kick-off with the Pro-Am on June 25 followed by the tournament June 27-29.
Not only is Mother’s Day a special time to celebrate moms, but all mother figures. Crystal Mountain has been the place to make memories with family and friends since 1956, and this weekend is no exception. Treat mom to brunch, Crystal Spa Days or a round of free golf, and write the next unforgettable story of the four-season resort.