NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — In its nearly 100-year history, Oak Ridge golf course in the Muskegon area has hosted thousands of golfers but there’s no one who knows the course quite like Andrew Ruthkoski.
“Pretty much since, I don’t know, 10 years old? I’d love to come out here to play golf,” Ruthkoski said. “Each hole has its own distinct character to it. It’s a good place to come out and play.”
Oak Ridge is where Andrew got his start. He then golfed at Michigan State University before trying the pro circuit. Oak Ridge is where Andrew returned after being unable to go on as a professional golfer.
“It wasn’t that I wanted to hang it up. But eventually you have to save some money, which is why I started working at UPS in the morning,” Ruthkoski said. “It would be nice to get a break.”
When he most needed a break, Oak Ridge had a surprise in store.
“The way it started was, ‘Let’s just go out and play! We’ll play until it gets dark,'” Ruthkoski said. “We start playing and I chip in hole one for eagle.”
What started as a casual game with his stepkids quickly became something more.
“I’m under 9 through six holes, it’s not like I’m making a big deal or anything because the kids are out there, they don’t know,” Ruthkoski said.
“I was messing with him the entire time, because he was wearing sandals,” Ruthkoski’s longtime friend Dave Buck said.
Buck had noticed the sun was setting on Ruthkoski’s historic day.
“I googled ‘Muskegon sunset’ and it said 9:28,” he said.
That’s when Buck realized he needed to step in and help.
“Dave has his own golf cart, lives across the street. Him and Max are like, ‘Dude you can’t quit right now.’ He drives up and tells me to put my clubs in,” said Ruthkoski.
With Buck driving and filming, Ruthkowksi faced the back nine, 11 strokes under. With a few hiccups, he found himself putting for his fifth eagle, to go 18 under on the 18th hole.
“I left it maybe 5 inches short of the cup and I tapped it in. In the mode I was like 17 under but man, it could’ve been 18,” Ruthkoski said.
Ruthkoski shot a 55, a score that so many golfers dream of coming close to. Now Ruthkoski is ready for his day to come. He’s been playing pro for the first time in five years and is ready for another shot to make a living doing what he loves.
“He can play with anyone, he just needs that chance to get out there and prove it,” Buck said.
No one knows where Ruthkoski’s second attempt at going pro will end up, but he knows it started at the same course that taught him the love of the game.
“It’s out playing golf, enjoying the game and seeing what will happen,” he said.