Rick Herpich Is GAM Super Senior Player of the Year 2021
FARMINGTON HILLS – The U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, played this summer at Country Club of Detroit, provided special golf moments for a handful of Michigan golfers including Rick Herpich of Orchard Lake.
“Being co-medalist in the U.S. Senior Am qualifier at Oakland Hills, then getting to play here in our hometown at Country Club of Detroit, hitting the very first tee shot to begin the tournament with my son there, my wife, my brother all there, and then to make match play at (age) 68,” he said. “That was a pretty cool thing.”
Herpich, who won the Super Senior division at the GAM Senior Championship and was second in the GAM Super Senior Championship, has been named the Golf Association of Michigan’s Super Senior Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
A member of the GAM through Orchard Lake Country Club, Herpich gained key points with his play in the U.S. Senior Amateur and totaled 380 to top the Super Senior points list presented by Carl’s Golfland.
Mike Raymond of Jackson and the Country Club of Jackson, who had a series of top finishes through the summer, was second with 208 points.
Larry Vaughan, who is a summer member of the GAM and lives in Greensboro, N.C., won the Super Senior division at the GAM Senior Match Play. He finished third in points with 190.
Rounding out the top five were Ray Emsley of Davisburg, who won the GAM Super Senior Championship and had 135 points, and Jeff Knudson of Beverly Hills, who had 110. Emsley and Knudson are GAM members through the Michigan Publinx Golf Association.
GAM Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. In the last few weeks Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the Women’s Player of the Year, James Piot of Canton was named the Men’s Player of the Year, Terry Delcamp of Grand Blanc was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year and Jerry Gunthorpe of Ovid was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce junior golf Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Rick Herpich, a retired Valassis Communications executive who winters with his wife Debbie in LaQuinta, Calif., has added national senior golf to his schedule in recent years. He recently finished fifth in a Society of Seniors national event in California and will play in at least two more events in the spring.
“I’ve always loved to compete and this is a game you can play for a long period of time,” he said. “The thing for me is I’ve gotten better over the years. A lot of guys I compete with played so well when they were in their 30s and 40s that now they seem disappointed that they can’t play like they used to play. For me, it’s the opposite. I keep seeing improvement and that’s exciting. It helps keep me going. I’m lucky that way.”
Herpich, who turns 69 in December, cites two things that have helped him continue to improve in golf.
“I play and practice, but I also continue to work with a personal trainer at Orchard Lake (Country Club),” he said. “Tom (Kruszewski) has kept me in really good physical shape. Being able to keep my flexibility, balance and strength as I have gotten older had really helped.”
Hartmann said Herpich and his golf game age like wine.
“He gets better with time,” he said. “He shows that working out, stretching and staying fit is a big part of what it takes. On top of that, he’s a good guy. You can’t find anybody to say anything bad about him. In fact, guys play with him and request to be paired with him again. They enjoy his company and watching him play.”
Hartmann was happy for Herpich when he was the first off the tee in the U.S. Senior Amateur.
“He and so many Michigan guys were so disappointed when it was canceled (due to pandemic in 2020), but then when it came back this year they were so happy to get the chance to play it here,” he said. “It was a great event for Michigan golf and the Country Club of Detroit, but also for the senior guys who made it. Jerry Gunthorpe makes the run and finishes runner-up, Rick hits that opening tee shot and makes match play, too. Those were well-deserved achievements.”