Jen Holland plays golf as coolly as her hero Fred Couples. Little angst. No histrionics. Hit the shot. Move on.
When you don’t pull the clubs out of storage until June, and put them away when school teaching starts again in September, it’s the only way to approach things.
“You can keep things under control if you build that bridge to the next shot,” she says. “You can be upset at yourself, but you have to build the bridge. I look at Couples and Mickelson. They do it. They have to.”
But it’s Jen Holland’s personality as well. She has the patience of a women who works with young kids, which she does teaching physical education and, during the summer, golf, in Middletown.
It is also the way she accepts accolades. “I’m surprised,” she said upon learning that she’d won Connecticut’s Liz Janangelo Caron Player of the Year Award again. “Honestly I didn’t feel like it was the greatest year. I don’t feel like I played as well as I like to.” Most people keep track of this stuff. But accolades are not the point to a competitor like Holland, who as a girl grew up playing shortstop on the boys’ Little League team not to make a point but to be in the game.
Among her accomplishments this year was winning the Senior Division of the Women’s Amateur at Oronoque Country Club. Okay, but: “I really don’t go for the senior title,” she says matter of factly. “I’m trying to win. I want to play with the best. Young or old.”
For the record, here’s what an off year looks like if you’re Jen Holland:
–Qualify for the U.S. Mid-amateur. (Though she was unable to play due to work.)
–Qualify as an Alternate for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
–Win the Southern New England Golf Association Senior Championship.
–Place third in the SNEWGA overall championship.
–Finish 11th in the New England Women’s Golf Association Championship.
–Place fourth at the North & South Senior Women’s Open Championship at Pinehurst.
“That’s what I’m most proud of,” says Holland, referring to the North & South’s strong national field. “I played with [seven-time USGA Championship winner] Ellen Port. What a treat that was.”
Port, who has won three U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championships and four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships, won at Pinehurst and Holland narrowly missed being her runner-up.
What that visit to Pinehurst proved, what the whole year proved really, was that even a part-time champion like Holland needs to practice a bit more.
“I didn’t practice as much as I’d hoped to this year,” says Holland, who is already building the bridge to 2020. “My goal is to get in more practice and qualify for the Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn. I really want to play there. Thats the goal.”
She’ll continue to play in as many competitions as she can—“I think playing different courses also makes me a stronger player”—always with building the bridge to Brooklawn in mind.