Kendall instructor shares his most emotional and personal triumph on a golf course


Michael Dutro, a senior golf instructor at the Kendall Academy of Golf in Ann Arbor, grew up playing the game of golf. Like many golfers, his first “golf instructor” was his father.

Dutro is a competitive golfer who has shot many fine rounds and done well at tournaments all over the country. But his most special moment on a golf course came with his best playing days ahead of him – sometimes special moments go beyond the scorecard.

Dutro shared this moment and why it meant so much with

“I believe that I was a sophomore or junior in high school at Madison Central High School (Kentucky), and there was a tournament during the summer at Madison Country Club, which was a small nine-hole course next door to the high school. The tournament was mostly comprised of Madison Central players, but also had other local juniors in the field as well.

“I was paired with Derek Wilson, who was our number two player on the team, and was known for being a long hitter. Through the nine-hole tournament, I was able to match Derek with a score of even par. Once the scores began to come in, it was determined that Derek and myself would go and play sudden death until a champion was crowned.

“I was not having a good season, and was a very short hitter compared to Derek. The first playoff hole was a par-5, and everybody was convinced that Derek would put me away on the first hole. However, I found a way to match Derek with a birdie. The next hole was a short par 4 that ran along the railroad tracks, and once again I matched Derek with a par. The third hole was a par three, and I made a great up and down to save par and match Derek once again.

“The fourth playoff hole is very surreal. The fourth hole at Madison Country Club is uphill and goes alongside the clubhouse. Many people were expecting a quick playoff, and when they saw us coming up the fairway still playing, they began to come out onto the course to see what was going on. I remember Derek hitting it to about 15 feet from the fairway. I was extremely nervous and hit my approach into the greenside bunker short right. At this point, I could see my teammates start to motion to one another that it was over.

“I remember being as nervous as possible, with about 40 people standing around watching me hit a bunker shot. However, something happened in that moment, and I was able to focus on what I wanted to accomplish and I holed out from the bunker. Derek missed, and I have never been more proud.

“I wasn’t proud that I beat Derek, I was proud of where that trophy was going. My father had been and was terminally ill with cancer. Prior to that tournament, I had been visiting my dad at the hospital and had mentioned to him that I was going to win the tournament for him. He never put pressure on me to perform, but before I left for the tournament, he told me to go out and win the damn thing.

“Taking that trophy to my dad was one of the best memories I have of our time together. To this day, even though I have had much bigger moments to the outside world, that will always be the most special moment from my golfing career.”


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