GAM Senior Player Of The Year: Mitch Wilson
FARMINGTON HILLS – Mitch Wilson of Portage takes aim at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship each year.
The 61-year-old Kalamazoo College golf coach has qualified for the starting field four of the last five years, and in 2018 he made it through to the round of 64 in match play at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
“That tournament has become my top goal of each year,” he said. “It’s just such a treat to play in that championship.”
Wilson is the 2018 Golf Association of Michigan Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, senior director of rules and competitions, announced today.
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the GAM Honor Roll points system. Point totals can be found under the Championships tab at gam.org. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories. Previously, Alex Scott of Traverse City was named the Men’s Player of the Year and Kerri Parks of Flushing was named the Women’s Player of the Year.
“If you are not looking at him and just hear him hit it, you don’t think a senior golfer just hit it – it’s not a senior sound,” Hartmann said of Wilson.
“He still gets the ball out there for a senior. I don’t know his clubhead speed, but its good. He stays in good shape. I would imagine being a college coach helps drive him to stay in good shape, perform and compete the way he does.”
Wilson, a GAM member through the Moors Golf Club, totaled 295 Honor Roll points keyed by his U.S. Senior Amateur showing and from being runner-up to Bill Zylstra in the GAM Senior Match Play Championship.
Zylstra of Dearborn Heights and the Michigan Publinx Golf Association was second with 275 points.
Rounding out the top five were GAM Senior Champion David Bartnick of Livonia and Salem Hills Golf Club with 253, Matt Wiley of Westland and the Michigan Publinx Senior Golf Association with 185 and Randy Lewis of Alma and Pine River Country Club with 168. Lewis was a college teammate of Wilson at Central Michigan University.
Wilson said he tries to stay fit and hopes to continue to play at a high level.
“There is a great group of senior players in Michigan, and every year it seems somebody else really good turns 55 and it just gets tougher,” he said. “I still find great satisfaction in playing well. I think I have a different perspective like a lot of the senior golfers. Everybody has a better sense of the competition, and they seem to enjoy the game more. I think we are all grateful to be out here competing.”
He said one of his goals each year is to have enough Honor Roll points to be asked to represent the GAM in the GAM-GAO Senior Team Matches against the Golf Association of Ontario.
“It’s just really a special tournament and a way to reconnect with a great group of players we have in Michigan,” he said.
Humbled and surprised were the words he used when told he was the Player of the Year.
“Awards like this are made even more special by the people you get to share them with, and my wife and my best friend Sarah is a part of this, too,” said Wilson, who worked in corporate IT for several years before coaching and is the father of two daughters with Sarah.
“I also want to thank Ken Hartmann and the GAM staff and all the GAM volunteers who put on the tournaments. They do such a great job of everything and make it really great for the golfers. I feel very fortunate to be able to play in such great tournaments.”
Hartmann said Wilson is not a surprise winner of the honor.
“This is a guy who had he played in more stuff when he was younger, if his job would have allowed, he might have won a Michigan Amateur with that game,” he said.
via Greg Johnson