For the first time in its history, the Connecticut Mid-Amateur will be played at Madison Country Club.
The bones of Madison, built in 1900, belong to Willie Park Jr., who also designed the site of last year’s Mid-Amateur, Shuttle Meadow Country Club. In 2015 architect Brian Silva undertook a wholesale renovation of the course, restoring Madison’s links-land feel. Five holes were redesigned completely. Every hole was affected. Greens were moved, some raised and almost all made larger. Fairways were re-grassed in pure bent grass. The par-70 layout was lengthened by some 200 yards to about 6520 yards and the resulting slope rating jumped from 127 to 134. Views of the shore make Madison especially memorable, but the winds off it, make it challenging.
In 2019 former Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion Ben Day defeated last year’s Palmer Cup champion, Rick Hayes of Silver Spring Country Club. Hayes shot 67 in the final round, coming from six back to tie Day on the 17th hole. After both parred the par-5 18th, Day won in a playoff with a par there again. Both are expected to play this year as is 2019 Player of the Year Rick Dowling of Golf Performance Center, who finished third. Jamie Sheltman, Mike Carey and 2018 Amateur and Mid-Am Champion Ben Conroy, who tied for fourth, are also expected to be back.
The Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship, now in its 33rd year, was born in 1988 shortly after the USGA established its national Mid-Am. It was played for the first time at Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton and won by Daniel Hendrickson.
The Mid-Amateur comprises three rounds of stroke play, and is open to competitors who have reached the age of 25 by the beginning of the championship, and who hold a handicap of 6.4 or less. Hall of Fame members Bill Hermanson (5 times) and Dave Szewczul (twice) have both won the Mid-Am, and they are expected to compete at Madison.