Mike Sipula Sr. grew up at Pine Hills Golf Club in Ottawa, and eventually bought the course, starting a family tradition. He began in the caddy program when he was eight years old, worked his way up to the pro shop in 1930, and began to teach at the club in 1932. In 1944 he took over sole ownership. Sipula is the first of three generations to work at Pine Hills. His four sons and one grandson have carried on with the Sipula tradition with employment in the golf industry. On the course, Sipula won the 1952 Illinois PGA and six Peoria Opens. He also played in the Western Open and PGA Championship in the mid-1950s.