GAM PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Orchard Lake’s Rick Herpich Tops Super Senior Honor Roll

FARMINGTON HILLS – Rick Herpich of Orchard Lake, who will be 68 in December, feels he played the best golf of his life in 2020.

  “I don’t remember a time in my life when I was shooting these kind of scores consistently in competition for such a long period,” he said. “I played really well all summer.”

  Herpich, an Orchard Lake Country Club member, has been named the Golf Association of Michigan Super Senior Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.

  GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll/Player of the Year points system. Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at

  Previously James Piot of Canton was named the GAM Men’s Player of the Year and Anna Kramer of Spring Lake was named the Women’s Player of the Year. Last week 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. In December the GAM will announce Junior Players of the Year in gender and age categories.

  Herpich collected trophies in 2020 with a highlight win in the GAM Super Senior Championship (age 65-plus) where he shot 66 bettering his age of 67 by a shot for the first time, a win in the Super Senior Division of the GAM Senior Championship and a win in the GAM Senior Tournament of Champions. He also tied for fourth in the Society of Seniors National Super Senior Championship in September in Pinehurst, N.C., and tied for fourth in the recent Society of Seniors – Founder’s Cup Championship in Santa Cruz, Calif.

  “I had an awesome year,” he said. “It was a great year for me and to combine it with being named the Super Senior Player of the Year is pretty special. Doing something like that and having this kind of year is what I’ve worked for since I retired. I love competing and I love playing and it is an awesome feeling right now.”

  Herpich finished with 375 Player of the Year points topping last year’s Super Senior Player of the Year Ian Harris of Bloomfield Hills. Harris, a TPC Michigan member, had 185 points.

  Ron Perrine of Holt and Country Club of Lansing (137 points), John Armstrong of Grosse Ile and West Shore Golf & Country Club (107 points) and Pete Walz of Jackson and Arbor Hills Golf Club (90 points) rounded out the top five.

  Herpich, a retired Valassis Communications executive, said golf became his central activity once he retired at age 59. He plays through the year by wintering with his wife Debbie in LaQuinta, Calif.

  “I couldn’t ever play a lot of golf when I was working,” he said. “I was in charge of sales and marketing and did a lot of traveling. Once I retired I wanted to see if I could play competitive amateur golf because I was always a three- or four-handicapper and I wanted to see that if I played more could I compete at an amateur level in the senior division.”

  Herpich said he has seen a big difference in his game in the last two years because he has worked with trainer Tom Kruszewski of Orchard Lake Country Club.

  “He’s really helped me at getting my body better,” he said. “I have better mobility and speed with my swing. My swing speeds have stayed up there, too, the last three years or so.”

  Hartmann called Herpich the epitome of a good guy and golfer.

  “People come to the scoring table after playing with him and they have nothing but great things to say,” he said. “He is great to be around and seems to get better every year. He seems to hit it even straighter and he has become very consistent. I think once he retired he became more serious about playing well, and yet he is just a humble guy who just wants to enjoy the competition and tries his best to play well.”

   Herpich plans a full schedule in GAM tournaments next year and has added some national tournaments to his calendar as well.

  “This year has been a real confidence booster,” he said. “God willing, I’m going to keep competing. I really have enjoyed it.”