GAM PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ian Harris of Bloomfield Tops 2019 Super Senior Honor Roll
FARMINGTON HILLS – Bloomfield’s Ian Harris and his longtime golf teacher Stephen Aumock revamped his golf swing last winter to provide more power and as a result greater distance with his shots.
“I’m very pleased with how I’m playing,” Harris said. “I work at it all the time. My pro is a phenomenal teacher and he is always seeking out newer and better things to work on. The biggest factor in senior golf is the advantage the guys who can still move it out there have. We are all fighting age and trying to find ways to at least maintain distance and I’ve been able to do that.”
Harris, 67 and a member at TPC of Michigan, won what he regarded as his “Grand Slam” of Super Senior golf with four titles in 2019, and it included three Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) titles.
He has been named the GAM Super Senior Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, senior director of rules and competitions, announced today.
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll points system and totals can be found on a pull down from 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, Dan Ellis of East Lansing and Yurika Tanida of East Lansing were named the Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year, Steve Maddalena of Jackson was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year and Julie Massa of Holt was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year.
Harris, a tennis professional and amateur golfer, collected 455 points to top the Honor Roll ahead of runner-up Mike Raymond of Country Club of Jackson, who had 240 points. Rick Herpich of Orchard Lake Country Club (130), GAM Senior Championship-Super Senior Division winner Mark Ochsankehl of Grand Rapids and Quail Ridge Golf Club (90) and Ron Perrine of Country Club of Lansing (90) rounded out the top five.
Harris, who receives regular therapy on his back from North Woodward Rehabilitation Services (NWRS) in Bloomfield, opted to play in the Super Senior Division of the season’s first GAM senior tournament, the GAM Senior Match Play Championship, because of some back issues.
“I figured in the Super Senior Division it was one less match I would have to get through to win it,” he said. “Then when I won that, I played in the Michigan PGA Senior Open and played in the Super Senior with players like Randy Erskine. When I won that, then I started getting the idea of this Grand Slam of Super Senior events. I went with it and it turned into a great summer.”
Harris, who won the GAM Senior Championship in 2012 and 2014, also won the Super Senior Division of the GAM Mid-Amateur Championship last summer and topped off the over-65 competition by winning the GAM Super Senior Championship for the second consecutive year. The Super Senior Championship has been a singular championship for five years.
“I was really fortunate all summer, and my win in the Senior Open was a little miraculous,” he said. “I finished my round birdie, birdie, birdie and then in a playoff with Randy Erskine and Ron English, two great players and former winners of the Senior Open, I made birdie on the first hole to win. I made one bomb (putt), like a 30-footer on the last hole, too. Ron English probably should have won that tournament, but I rolled it in and my name is on that trophy. I figured all the times that golf takes things away from you, this time I got one.”
Hartmann said when he watches Harris hit golf shots he can’t believe he is over 65.
“He studies the swing and studies the golf course to see what it takes to get it done, and he still hits the ball as far as he ever did it seems,” he said. “I applaud him. He stays in shape and really works at the game. He is not just a guy who comes out to play. He comes out to win. To hear him talk, you would think he has fallen out of a helicopter 10 times. I think being an active tennis pro all those years and golf has taken a toll on his body, but he seems to manage pain well, and keeps going. He shows up, pegs it, and always believes he can compete.”
Harris said his teacher, Aumock, is a key to his success. He has known him for 30 years. The Michigan native is the director of instruction and a PGA Master Instructor for Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, but makes several trips to Michigan each winter to work with Harris and others on their games.
“He teaches for a few days each visit at Fox Hills (Golf & Learning Center in Plymouth) and really knows the golf swing,” Harris said. “I met him when he was 15. He played college golf at Alabama. He worked with Hank Haney for several years. He’s one of the leading teachers in the country now.”