FARMINGTON HILLS – Julie Massa of Holt continues to work on each facet of her golf game.
“Golf has evolved since I started playing and I feel you have to evolve with it and learn new things,” she said.
The evolving Massa, 57, is the Golf Association of Michigan’s Senior Women’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
It is an unprecedented sixth consecutive year that the Forest Akers Golf Course member has been named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year by the GAM.
“I feel so honored to be Player of the Year in a year where we were also so happy just to be able to play,” she said. “I think it happens because I just enjoy the game and the competition. I enjoy trying to make myself better, learn more each year and in the end just have fun at it.”
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll/Player of the Year points system. Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org.
Last week James Piot of Canton was named the GAM Men’s Player of the Year and Anna Kramer of Spring Lake was named the Women’s Player of the Year. Earlier this week Steve Maddalena of Jackson was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year. Over the next month the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Massa wasn’t able to play her usual national schedule because several USGA tournaments were cancelled, but she still earned 368 points playing in GAM tournaments. Powering her point total was her win in the GAM Senior Women’s Championship at Hidden River Golf & Casting Club in Brutus, and a second in the GAM Senior Tournament of Champions.
Terry Delcamp of Grand Blanc and Flint Golf Club, who won the Senior Tournament of Champions and tied for second in the Senior Women’s Championship, finished second in the points standings with 313 points.
Shelly Weiss of Southfield and the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association, who also tied for second at the Senior Women’s Championship, was third with 184 points. Joan Garety of Ada and Egypt Valley Country Club, who had 140 points, and Karen VanGorder of Haslett and Country Club of Lansing, who had 104 points, rounded out the top five.
Massa, who was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in February and will be inducted in 2021, said she continues to work on her swing with her father Al Cross, who is 89 and a retired PGA teaching professional in Oregon, as well as Chad Kurmel and Alex Lorencz, PGA teaching staff members at Forest Akers.
“I’ve learned more about my swing every year, added some shots, and it has helped me at least maintain some distance to be able to compete,” she said. “I talk with my dad and I work with teachers to make sure I’m doing the right things. Club fitting has helped and I’ve been fitted at Forest Akers and with Brent Norton at Miles of Golf (Ypsilanti). There are so many facets to the game and I try to work on them all because I’m still planning on playing golf.”
Hartmann called her a model of consistency.
“She is solid in all parts of the game and just doesn’t make mistakes,” he said. “When you think of the senior women Julie Massa is at the top of the list. She stays in great shape, plays to her strengths on the course, finds her comfort level, takes her notes and sticks to her plan. She is also a great person, great mom with great kids and an example of how to do it right and serve as an ambassador to the game.”
Massa said she loves playing the game.
“I just try to always go play and play my best,” she said. “I like competing with good players. I like playing the game with my family. I also like going out sometimes by myself and playing to really concentrate on getting better. I missed the USGA competition this year, but the GAM tournaments made you feel safe and I love the competition with all the great players in our state.”