Oakland Hills Country Club’s North Course Hosting GAM Senior Mid-Am Team Finals Friday

It’s sometimes referred to as the little “sister” or “brother” course at Oakland
Hills Country Club, but at 6,908 yards little doesn’t really work for the less
famous North course.

    The finals of the
GAM Senior Mid-Am Team Championship featuring six teams that qualified from
among 132 teams earlier this summer are set for Friday on the North course at
Oakland Hills. The championship is presented by OmniKinetics.

   The teams will play nine holes of four-ball or
best-ball in the morning, and nine holes of foursomes, also known as alternate
shot, in the afternoon to determine the 2017 champion. Each team consists of a
golfer age 55-plus paired with a mid-amateur player age 25-plus.

   The players are likely familiar with the North course, which has previously hosted the
1992 and 2012 Michigan Amateur Championships. Like the more famous South
course, which has hosted multiple major championships and the Ryder Cup
Matches, the North course was an original Donald Ross designed reworked by
Robert Trent Jones.

  The club, founded in
1916, had work start on the North course in 1922 and it was opened to play in
1924. Jones completed his redesign and renovation work for the 1969 golf
season. It is on the opposite side of Maple Road from the main clubhouse and
the South course, and is regarded as one of the top golf courses in Michigan.

  The Oakland Hills
staff is headed by General Manager Chris Berlin, PGA Professional Steve Brady,
Superintendent Steve Cook and Golf Services Manager Bob Byerlein.

   The father-son duo
of John and Josh Mitroka of Riverview embraced in celebration when they
realized they had bested the field in the GAM Senior Mid-Am Team event at
Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club earlier this summer.

    “It was euphoric considering what we’ve both
been through,” said John who is 57 and recently retired as a high school

  “To have that moment
where you couldn’t put a bigger smile on my dad’s face was so great,” said Josh
who is 27 and working as court officer with plans for a law enforcement career.

   Both men were coming
off bigger victories. John has battled through colon cancer, which was
originally a terminal diagnosis and it included multiple surgeries and
treatments. Josh is a wounded warrior, a former U.S. Army paratrooper with back
and multiple leg and ankle injuries as well as unseen issues because of things
he witnessed in active duty.

  “Battling on a golf
course with your son and winning like that when I basically had a death
sentence; and he has physical injuries from hitting the ground at about 40
miles per hour on a jump, and then there are the things he saw overseas that he
doesn’t want to talk about; it was just so special,” John said.   “Now we get to look forward to playing
Oakland Hills (in the finals). Shows what can happen when you just believe and
you battle.”

  Team Mitroka shot a
74 in the alternate shot format, but a solid 69 in best-ball for 143 to take
the top spot at Grosse Ile.  In addition
to the Mitroka team playing Friday at Oakland Hills, the runner-up team at
Grosse Ile will be on hand. It was Joe Marx of Holland and Casey Lubahn, the
head men’s golf coach at Michigan State University, who shot a 68 in the
four-ball for a 146 total and the spot in the finals.

  Mike Raymond and
Adam White of Jackson were the top team at Oakland University’s Katke-Cousins
course. They had a four-ball 66 to power a winning 138 total.  Mike Anderson of Northville and Rick Herpich
of Orchard Lake, who finished second, are unable to play Friday and have
withdrawn from the finals, so a card playoff for third produced the team of
Chad Johnson of Monroe and Tom Senkowski of Rochester Hills.

  Tom Gieselman of
Commerce Township and Scott Strickland of Birmingham teamed up for a sizzling
64 in four-ball to shoot 138 and win at Plum Hollow Country Club. Tom
Werkmeister of Grandville and Mike Kohn of Belding shot 141 for second and will
be in Friday’s finals.

-Greg Johnson, [email protected]