GAM

GOLF ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

A Few Words With: 2009 Players of the Year

A Few Words With . . .
GAM 2009 Players of the Year
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Devon Compton – Girls’ Junior Player of the Year
The Basics: Compton, 16, was the champion at the 31st GAM Girls? Junior State Amateur this year. She attends Stoney Creek High School where she tied for fourth in? Division 1 at the Michigan High School Athletic Association individual state competition. In the team competition, Stoney Creek placed third. She was also this year?s Oakland County girls? golf champion. Compton aspires to play golf at a Big Ten school but right now is keeping her options open.
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GAM: What is your favorite club in your bag and why do you like it so much?
DC: My driver because it gives me the most confidence when I can bomb it straight down the fairway past most other girls my age and older girls
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GAM: Describe what to you would be the perfect day of golf.
DC: Shooting a 54 for 18 holes!
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GAM: What part of your game do you find you work at the most?
DC: The short game for sure. It takes more time and feel. Also there are so many types of shots to practice.
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GAM: What golf hole could you play over and over again?
DC: I could play hole 9 on Dunes at Boulder Pointe because that is a reachable par 5 in two that is challenging and has a risk-reward to it. Also it was where I got my first eagle ever. There are so many different ways you could play that hole.
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GAM: Give us your best golf story of the 2009 season.
DC: That is a hard one. I?d have to say the first tournament we played has the best story. It was a scramble in Troy and we were 12 under going into the 18th and the wind was getting up and it looked like rain was coming in. We were waiting to tee off and all of a sudden we could see this wall of rain coming toward us! We all braced ourselves and it hit. Sideways rain was soaking us as we hit our drives. We chose a golf ball on the left side in the ruff. We were soaked none of us could grip our clubs. Four or five girls had just duffed their shots. It was a par 5 and it was reachable. We had 175 yards left to the green with a creek in front. With sideways rain pounding on us it was my turn and I had to get the ball on or close to the green. We wanted to get into the 50’s that day so this birdie was crucial. I took a 3-wood which normally goes 230 yards. I swung back hands soaked already and swung through and… my club flew out of my hands! It flew 26 yards. I was lucky it didn?t get stuck in a tree. No one saw the ball because we were all concentrating on the club. They called us in because there was too much rain and the course was flooding. It turned out my ball laid pin high a little to the left in the ruff. I had made it over the creek and put it just off the green.
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GAM: You were top at the Oakland County meet this year, how cool is it to have bragging rights as the county champ?
DC: It?s awesome! It?s always a great feeling when you when something as big as that.
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GAM: Stoney Creek finished third in the state in Division 1 and you tied for fourth as an individual.? Talk a little bit about the different feeling competing for your high school as opposed to other junior tournaments where the focus is more on you as an individual.
DC: It was very different. I didn?t have my best day by any means and normally that would mean that you wouldn?t play or place well. In most tournaments you have no one to fall back on — it was just you. At states I had a team to fall back on but I wish I could have played better to help the team. Also it?s weird wanting others to play well and to want them to do their best and have their best round of golf, and to watch them improve throughout the golf season.
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GAM: Give us your best story about getting out of trouble on the golf course ? maybe something you did that worked that you didn?t expect.
DC: We were playing at Pontiac Country Club and we were on the 7th hole. I had driven my ball over the stream and into some trees and my opponents had laid up. I had about 90 yards to go and my ball was sitting in where some low hanging pine tree branches were. I really had to go to the bathroom though so I had to ask my coach to take me right then because I just could not wait. When we came back I had to think of a shot pretty quick and I just punched a 5-iron strait through these pine trees just perfectly. It ran on the fairway a little,? ran up onto the green and it was just about pin high. I went from having a bogey to a par right there and I nearly birdied. It just all worked out. Also, at states on hole number 18 at Forest Akers West I had hit a 3-wood too far over the cart path into the ruff. Not a good spot to be. I wasn?t playing well and the easy shots were hard and now I had 115 yards left to the pin with a big tall willow in front of me. I couldn?t see the pin so I took a look from the fairway to see the green. I had an uphill lie and I took a 9-iron and just popped it just over this tree about 6 foot from the hole. When my coach started clapping I thought it was a tree branch at first so I was happy to see it safely on the green.
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Joan Garety ? Senior Women?s Player of the Year
The Basics: Garety, 53, is a long-time competitor in GAM events and this year won the 13th GAM Women?s Senior. She was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 and boasts a long list of accomplishments on the links.

GAM: What is your favorite club?
JG: My favorite club is my 56 degree sandwedge. It is my go to club around the greens. It has helped me get up and down at important moments over the years and that is always fun.

GAM: Describe your perfect day of golf.
JG: I think my perfect day of golf would be the first great spring day of the year, sunny with temperatures in the 60’s and 3 great friends.?

GAM: What part of your game do you work on the most?

JG: I spend a majority of my practice time on my putting. This is the part of the game that can make you or break you and I find that I make more putts if I practice.

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GAM: What golf hole could you play over and over?
JG: That’s a tough question. I could play number 14 on the Ridge course at Egypt Valley CC, my home club. This dogleg left hole just sets up nicely for me. It is pretty and demands a good drive, accurate iron, and good putts…..and I’ve made quite a few birdies there.

GAM: Do you participate in any other sports and if so, how does that experience help you when you are on the links?

JG: I have played many different sports over the years. These days I really enjoy flyfishing. Flyfishing and golf both require hand eye coordination and a target focus. The ability to place a fly in just the right spot or hit a ball into the cup is all about focusing on what you want to have happen, not how to make it happen. Target, not mechanics, is the key to both.

GAM: Give us your best golf story of the 2009 season.

JG: Playing with one if my Egypt Valley buddies, Barb Kruis, we came to ?number16 on the Valley Course, a lovely little par 3 over water. Teeing off first I hit my wedge to about 18 inches from the cup. Barb then hit her ball towards the cup, taking one hop off my ball and onto the hole. Barb turned to me and said “does that count?”. Of course it did! The best part of the story is that we are both members of the 2 Club and she had to pay me after I made my putt. Her holein-one didn’t count for the 2 Club – it wasn’t a 2!

GAM: Is there a Joan Garety philosophy of golf and if so what is it?
JG: Golf is about having fun, enjoying each shot, each chance to practice and each game. I try to do that.

GAM: I know when I talk to young players who are paired with you at tournaments, they always say how much they enjoyed playing with you and how much they got out of the round. Do you consider yourself an ambassador of the game and is that a role that you enjoy?

JG: I really enjoy golf and all it represents. This is a game that teaches so many lessons and is so enjoyable in the process. If I can help others appreciate it as much as I do and if that makes me an ambassador, then that’s wonderful.

GAM: You have had a long golf career; what are new goals you have set for yourself?

JG: I begin every year with the same goals. I want to win tournaments. Nowadays I realize that my best chance is in the senior events and that’s ok. The kids are so good today. I just hope to surprise a few.

GAM: You have a reputation for having a good sense of humor ? how important is that for your golf game?

JG: A good sense of humor is so important and not just in golf. This game can eat you up if you let it, but it can also leave you laughing. I’d rather laugh if I have a choice. And, how can you not enjoy being outside with friends playing this wonderful game.?


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Joey Garber ? Boys’ Junior Player of the Year
The Basics: Garber, 18, is a senior at Petoskey High School and a member at Boyne Resorts. He was named Mr. Golf by the Michigan High School Athletic Association in 2008 and this year was the 31st GAM Michigan Junior State Amateur champion. He plans to play college golf somewhere next year but is undecided about which school he will attend.
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GAM: What is your favorite club?
JG: Favorite club in my bag is my 6 iron. I love it because i can hit every shot with it. I even use it around the greens at times.
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GAM: Describe your perfect day of golf.
JG: A perfect day of golf would be playing the Old Course (St. Andrews) with my family.
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GAM: What part of your game do you work on the most?
JG: My putting; I feel that it is the most influential part of your golf and needs to be precise every time you step foot on the first tee.
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GAM: What golf hole could you play over and over again?
JG: The 17th at TPC of Sawgrass.
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GAM: Do you participate in any other sports and if so, how do those sports help you when you are on the links?
JG: Yes, I have played competitive soccer my whole life as well as basketball. More than anything they keep me competitive. I do not like to lose and I attribute that to my competitive past in those sports.
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GAM: Give us your best golf story of the 2009 season.
JG: My best golf story of not just this year but my life is making a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole of the US Amateur qualifier. My coach and caddie Brian O?Neil let out a pretty big yell after it fell in. I had to calm him down because two people still had to putt!
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GAM: How did you feel about winning Mr. Golf honors as a junior last spring? Does it put more pressure on you this season?
JG:? Mr. Golf was one of my goals before this season started. It was good for me but the thing that made it great is that it involved my school, team, and town more than any other victory or award I’ve received. That is what made it special. I don’t believe it puts more pressure on me. Hopefully it will take pressure off of me because that monkey is no longer on my back.
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GAM: What is your favorite story ? the one you like to tell your friends ? about getting out of a tough situation on the golf course?
JG: I don’t have too many stories but one of my favorites was when I was 15 playing junior golf in Florida. My playing competitor and now one of my best friends, looked at my ball a few inches in the water and said, “You can’t get that out.” I was upset and hit the ball out of the water and onto the green and made my bogie the hard way.
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GAM: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
JG: My goals for the upcoming season include a myriad of golf things but my main goal is to enjoy my senior year and be a normal high school student for awhile. Don’t let it fool you though, I’ll still be playing a lot of junior and amateur golf just not quite as much as in the past.
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Christine Meier ? Women?s Player of the Year
The Basics: Meier, 17, is a senior at Rochester High School and a member of Cherry Creek Golf Club. She won the 18th GAM Women?s Championship and was in the match-play semi finals at the 93rd Michigan Women?s Amateur. In this year?s state finals for girls? golf, she was the individual state champion in Division 1 and Rochester High School was also the team state champion.
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GAM:What is your favorite club?
CM: I love my 26 degree hybrid. I can get really creative with the shots i hit with it and i always seem to hit it good!
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GAM: Describe your perfect day of golf.
CM: The obvious answer would be ?When i play well!? But I think the perfect day would be when I am relaxed and swinging well and playing with some really fun people.
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GAM: What part of your game do you work on the most?
CM: It would probably be my short game. I think it is a lot of fun to practice short game and i was always taught that short game is the most important part of golf.
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GAM: What golf hole could you play over and over again?
CM:? I think it would be number 18 at forest Akers West. There are so many different ways to play it both from the tee and on you approach shot to the green.
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GAM: Do you participate in any other sports and if so, how do those sports help you when you are on the links?
CM: I play basketball. I think it helps me on the golf course more so in a social aspect. It can always be a sort of conversation starter when you don’t know anyone that you are playing with.
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GAM: Give us your best golf story of the 2009 season.
CM: I think it would have to be the GAM Women?s Championship at Battle Creek Country Club. I played great on the first day and I hit the ball so well. And I played great on the first nine of the second day. Then I started off the back nine very poorly. I found myself down four shots on the 13th tee. I’m not going to lie: the bad thoughts about how there was no way I could win did creep into my head. But I did my best to stop thinking about it. Then I made par on 13 and made a huge birdie putt on 14. Then I was only down three. Then on 16 I made a 10 footer for birdie and on 17, everyone in my group — including me — was on the worst side of the green for that pin. I scrambled to make a two putt and the others three putted. The day ended with Darby (Peters) and I in a tie. The playoff was not unfamiliar, actually. Darby and I were in a four-hole playoff in high school golf. Similarly, it ended in a four-hole playoff at the GAM. The result was the same.
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Tom Werkmeister — Men?s Player of the Year
The Basics: Werkmeister, 41, was the champion at the 98th Michigan Amateur. Werkmeister is a member at The Highlands and has participated in many Grand Rapids area tournaments over the years.

GAM: What is your favorite club in your bag and why do you like it so much?
TW: My driver, it has been my most reliable club for the past several years.

GAM: Describe what to you would be the perfect day of golf.
TW: ?
Even though winning a tournament would be a logical answer for this question, I think playing my Thursday game with my buddies at the club has been the most fun for me throughout this past season. We didn’t play every week but it made the weekly grind go by a little easier.

GAM:? What part of your game do you find you work at the most?

TW:? Probably the mental part – it has never been my strength, but it is the reason for my increased success lately.

GAM: What golf hole could you play over and over again?
TW: ?Number 16 at The Highlands. It is a drivable par 4 (280 yards) – it has been good to me over the years including a hole-in-one and I have closed out several matches there as well. It is always exciting to me when I step up on that tee.


GAM:? Do you participate in any other sports and if so, how do those sports help you when you are on the links? TW:?
Bowling is really the only other sport I currently compete at and I have become pretty good at it. I have (7) 300 games, so being able to handle the pressure of the last couple shots to complete a 300 has helped me on the golf course as well.

GAM: Give us your best golf story of the 2009 season.
TW:
Obviously winning the State Amateur with my wife caddying and my dad watching was an indescribable feeling.

GAM: You were the Michigan Am Champion this year, yet I believe you said match play is not typically your forte. To what do you credit your success in the Michigan Am this year?
TW:? I have been getting better at match play because I have learned to be patient on the course – when I am down in a match or up, just to keep playing my game – my wife Leslie has really helped me with this.

GAM: What makes your wife such a great caddie?
TW:
Leslie has been amazing. Just the fact that she puts up with me is hard to believe. She is always there for when I need to vent (which is allot). And she really tries to keep me positive which has always been my downfall in the past.

GAM:? Do you plan to defend your title in 2010?
TW:
Yes I will be there at Oakhurst next year.

GAM: What did you do to celebrate your victory?
TW: We were so exhausted after that tournament that we really didn’t do anything for a couple days. We did have a celebration at The Highlands about?2 weeks after with a bunch of friends – that was a great time!


Bill Zylstra ? Senior Men?s Player of the Year

The Basics: Zylstra, 58, is a member of the Michigan Publinx Golf Association and has played in GAM events for many years. This year he was the first-ever GAM Senior Match Play champion and he and his golf partner John Jakubiak won the 3rd GAM Senior Four Ball event.

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GAM: What is your favorite club?
BZ: My driver because I hit it straight.
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GAM: Describe your perfect day of golf.
BZ: It would be me, my sister, my mom and dad playing without someone quitting on the 13th hole. When we were kids and the four of us played my dad would get mad at one of us and the 13th was close to the club house. He would send whoever he was mad at off the course at that point or he would leave.
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GAM: What part of your game do you work on the most?
BZ: Chipping!
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GAM: What is your favorite golf hole?
BZ: The 18th at Detroit Golf Club.
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GAM: Do you participate in any other sports?
BZ: No, no other sports. I gave up; I?m too old!
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GAM: What is your best golf story from the season?
BZ: Being the first-ever champion at the Senior Match Play and winning the Senior Four Ball with my good friend John Jakubiak.
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GAM: What is the biggest adjustment you?ve made since becoming a senior golfer?
BZ: I play more golf!
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GAM: What is your personal golf philosophy?
BZ: Play well and play quickly.
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GAM: Do you adjust your strategy when you are playing in the different types of competitions ? stroke play, match play, etc.?
BZ: No, there are only two hands on the club no matter what.
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GAM:? Future golf goals?
BZ:? I?d like to be the Senior State Am champion but it is not realistic.
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