Michael Block has become one of the best stories in golf, but his meteoric rise following his performance at the PGA Championship has been no surprise to those who have known the club professional for nearly two decades.
Aside from Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, no place was buzzing more this past weekend than the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California — Block’s home course.
The club’s restaurant was packed throughout the weekend as members watched Block make his first cut in a major and, like Block has said, they are all still riding the wave of the memorable moment. There’s also been a flurry of media request, phone calls for lessons and people clamoring for merch from the club.
“We’ve become a big family around here. All the players and employees, we’ve all been around a long time and it’s no surprise to any of us,” Matthew Donovan, general manager of Arroyo Trabuco, told USA TODAY Sports. “Mike, we all love him and I think we’re all crying right now.”
‘He’s just like a saint’
Block “came with the place” after Arroyo Trabuco opened in 2004, Donovan said, meaning he has spent lots of time around the staff and members of the course as he became a club professional in Mission Viejo. Donovan described him as the most generous person you’ll meet.
“He’s just like a saint. He’s just a true friend with everybody he meets,” Donovan said. “That’s just the way he is with everybody. The staff. The golf course maintenance crew. He knows some PGA Tour pros. He treats everybody the same way. He’s just so likable.”
A club ‘hit by lightning’
Donovan was in Mission Viejo for the first two rounds of the PGA Championship, but once Block made the cut, he said he had to get to Rochester to see him finish the tournament. Donovan was there to see Block’s immaculate hole-in-one in the final round, but Arroyo Trabuco erupted in celebration and chants watching it over 2,000 miles away from Oak Hill.
When Donovan returned to Arroyo Trabuco Tuesday, he was met with a frenzy of media and reporters wanting to know about the course’s reaction. He also learned how busy the club had been since he left; its store sold out of their logo shirts by Monday, and there was a line of people trying to get any sort of merchandise.
“They’re asking us do we have an online shop,” Donovan said. “We’re gonna probably set up an online shop for sales. We’re telling people we just didn’t know…
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