Ed Dzirbik Jr. went into this year’s club championship tournament at Westmoor Country Club in late August really wanting a win.
Of course he did. Dzirbik admits to being a competitive guy, and Westmoor has enough really strong golfers as members to make for serious competition.
There was another motivation, though. The 2020 club champion would get an exemption into the 2021 Wisconsin State Amateur, which Dzirbik very much wants to take part in because it will be held at Westmoor, his lifelong home course in Brookfield.
As it happened, Dzirbik did win, defeating James Gunsalus 3 and 2 in the finals to win the champion’s trophy first awarded in 1927.
But even beyond the trophy and the exemption, Dzirbik produced yet another significant accomplishment, even if he didn’t realize it until head pro Vince Pulizzano announced it at the club’s awards reception.
By winning the 2020 title, Dzirbik has now won club championships in six different decades. Not bad for a golfer who is 60.
“I didn’t really think about it until afterwards” when Pulizzano made the announcement, Dzirbik said. “It’s true (but) I just never thought I was that old.”
It helps that he started young. Dzirbik was just 19 and a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when he won his first club championship. (He still remembers that both finalists were wearing plaid pants, all the rage in those fashion-challenged days.) In all he has won the Westmoor trophy 22 times, and if he can’t remember each year off the top of his head his record includes at least one win in every decade since.
And it never gets old.
“It meant a lot, because as you get older (it gets harder.)," he said. "That was nice to see if I could still do it. It was special. That club championship is always a nice thing. James is one of the better players in the state.”
The club tournament at Westmoor involves two rounds of medal play before qualifiers move on to match play on the weekend. Dzirbik said he has always enjoyed match play; he has won district match play tournaments and a WSGA Senior Match Play event as well, among other events.
“Like I said, it was fun. I’ve always enjoyed match play. It was a good accomplishment. Westmoor has some pretty good players. I think there are four or five guys with plus-handicaps,” said Dzirbik, whose own handicap has been around zero for many years, “plus a handful of really good young players. On the senior circuit I’m one of the longer ones but not when I play the young guys.
“What’s nice is we all play together. We’re all buddies.”
Oddly enough, Dzirbik’s social media profile picture shows him holding up a nice fish, not a golf club.
“I’m a huge fisherman,” he said. “We usually go to Canada twice a year. I mean I play a lot of golf in the summer (but) if you put a fishing pole in my hands I’m pretty content.”
Still, competitive golf is a big thing, too. Dzirbik was asked if a club championship in a seventh decade might be possible. “Well, I’d be 70,” he said. “I can still play golf but that’s a tough one. I hit the ball as far as I ever have. I try to stay healthy and work out a ton. I love winning and am competitive.
"Hopefully there’s one more.”