Jackson’s Steve Maddalena Tops 2019 Senior Men’s Honor Roll
FARMINGTON HILLS – Steve Maddalena of Jackson would rather spend two hours practicing his golf game on the range at Country Club of Jackson than two hours playing the game just for fun.
“I guess golf is my hobby and it takes time,” he said. “I’m always working at it, tweaking things and trying to squeeze every bit of good results out of what I have to offer. I enjoy practicing more than I enjoy playing. It has never been a problem for me to practice.”
Maddalena, who will turn 60 in January, is the GAM Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann senior director of rules and competitions, announced today.
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll points system. Point totals can be found on a pull down from the Championships tab at gam.org. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories. Previously, Dan Ellis of East Lansing and Yurika Tanida of East Lansing were named the Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year, and later this week the Senior Women’s Player of the Year will be announced.
Maddalena, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, three-time Michigan Amateur Champion and 1988 Men’s Player of the Year, topped the Senior Men’s Honor Roll with 520 points powered by his wins in the GAM Senior Championship and the Senior Division of the GAM Mid-Amateur Championship. He emerged a champion in both out of sudden-death playoffs with birdies on the closing holes.
Kevin Klemet of White Lake and the Michigan Publinx Golf Association, who won the GAM Senior Match Play Championship, was second with 315 points. Robert Matthiesen of Mason and Eldorado Golf Course (310), Mitch Wilson, last year’s Senior Player of the Year out of Portage and The Moors (243) and Jerry Gunthorpe of Ovid and Owosso Country Club (175) rounded out the top five.
Maddalena said he strives each year to be among the top eight players in the Senior points standings of the Honor Roll.
“As hard as I work at it, I feel that is a reasonable expectation, and to finish number one this year is really nice,” he said. “It’s all about getting the breaks at the right time. I won two GAM senior tournaments this year in playoffs. I could have easily lost both of those events. You have to be a little lucky. It is better to be lucky than good.”
Hartmann said what Maddalena considers luck comes from the work he puts into his golf game.
“Ever since I’ve been doing this, when I show up to a tournament there’s Steve Maddalena in the short-game practice areas working on his game,” he said. “It’s why he has been competitive for so many years. He practices so that when he’s playing in a tournament he is ready for whatever happens. He has all the shots and he has practiced them all. This year was a great example. He was in playoffs, and he made the shots to win. And he made it look easy.”
Maddalena and his wife Jane have two sons, Connor, 24, and Brian, 20. He played collegiate golf at the University of Michigan and was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. The 2016 GAM Senior Match Play Champion said the GAM having age-group defined championships makes it possible to continue playing the game.
“If I couldn’t compete, I don’t think I would play,” he said. “I can’t compete with the 19 and 20-year-olds. I can’t hit it far enough any longer. But I can compete with the guys my age, and that’s the part of the game I enjoy – practicing and then putting it to the test.”
via Greg Johnson