Living out a dream
Former Skipper golfer Mitchell Fernandez lands job at Oakmont Country Club
Mitchell Fernandez wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue a career in golf or hockey when he graduated from Port Huron Northern in 2009.
So Fernandez decided to juggle both sports as a student-athlete at St. Clair County Community College for three years.
While his passion for hockey remains, the 24-year-old is entrenched in the golf world. He was recently hired as a PGA apprentice by Oakmont Country Club and began his new job Feb. 1.
“It’s been a whirlwind year and a half to two years for me,” Fernandez said. “It’s been crazy. From working with Brian Bowman (former Skipper golfer) at the (Port Huron) Elks Club, to spending time at Iverness Club in Toledo to getting the job at Oakmont.
“I wouldn’t have dreamed in a million years that I would have the opportunity to work at a place like Oakmont.”
Oakmont, which is the host for the 2016 U.S. Open this summer, is located about 12 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
“I’m going to start out in the East U.S. Open golf shop while it is cold outside,” Fernandez said. “I will be a utility guy … working in the pro shop, with the junior golf program, outside on the grounds and caddying.
“I’ll get a chance to do a lot of different things and I’m excited about that.”
Fernandez, who graduated this past December from the California University of Pennsylvania with a degree in sports management, said he was scheduled to start at the prestigious club this spring, but received a call to begin work earlier.
While at SC4, Fernandez golfed for coach Dale Vos in the spring of 2010. He took a year off from the college team to concentrate on playing hockey for the Port Huron Fighting Falcons, a member of the North American Hockey League.
Fernandez returned to the golf team in 2012 and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament.
“It was a great experience at SC4,” Fernandez said. “I enjoyed my classes and professors. The people there were very helpful. I had the chance to meet some great people like coach Vos.”
Following his career with the Skippers and Falcons, Fernandez transferred to the California University of Pennsylvania where he played hockey for two years. He said he also wanted to golf at the school but the golf coach would not allow him to play both sports.
Fernandez, who is engaged to Alanna Marie Trosky of Pittsburgh, is taking the PGA apprenticeship program online.
His advice to students:
“SC4 is just the start to your life journey. You have to work hard and believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. Don’t just strive to be good in life, strive to be great. Follow your own path and you will be successful, All of this might sound cliché, but it is the truth.”