YPSILANTI – For the third consecutive year Washtenaw Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in Michigan, will host many of the state’s best young golfers in the GAM Junior Kickoff Championship Saturday and Sunday.
A field of 130 boy and girl junior golfers playing in four divisions based on age and gender will play in the tournament designed to give junior golfers some additional early season competition opportunities.
The format is 36-holes of stroke play over two days and boy and girl champions will be crowned in 15-and-under and 16-18 categories. Play will start at 8 a.m. each day with a single-tee start and COVID-19 precautions in place.
Washtenaw opened in 1899 and has evolved over the years into a 6,512-yard classic parkland style golf course featuring tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and quick, undulating greens. In January of 2020 a new ownership group headed by Michigan Golf Hall of Fame player and golf instructor Dave Kendall took the reins of the historic golf club that remains open to the public.
The course has a rich tournament history, including hosting the 1927 Michigan Amateur Championship, and many major events since for both the Golf Association of Michigan and the Michigan PGA.
The original founders persuaded a local farmer to let them stick three empty tomato cans in his freshly cut hay field west of the city and invited their friends over for a game of golf. The event was a success, and 15 men from Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor formed the Washtenaw Country Club in Ypsilanti Township a year later. Eventually, the sheep that grazed on the greens were replaced with lawnmowers and the tomato cans with golf holes, and the small hay field became a club.
Kendall announced in the spring that some restaurant/banquet remodeling would be undertaken and promised a quality course condition. Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs Inc. has completed a master plan and has started renovation projects on the course.
The Kickoff tournament, established as a new GAM championship in 2019, launches the golf season for junior players.
Last year PJ Maybank III of Cheboygan, Ariel Chang of Macomb Township, Griffin Mawson of Traverse City and Lauren Timpf of Macomb were age group champions. Mawson and Timpf are returning to the field as are 2019 age group winners Sophie Stevens of Highland, Max VanderMolen of Richland and Kate Brody of Grand Blanc.