Monday, June 21, 2010

Anderson: Mainstay at Madison golf course

Gordon (everybody calls him Gordy) Anderson may be as well known as the Madison Golf and Country Club itself. He has been part of the landscape since 1964.
Anderson will tell you that the reason he stuck around Madison for 46 years is because of the people. “These people have been great to me: their friendliness and their willingness to support you through good times and bad times.”
He graduated from Yankton High School in 1969. Anderson, now 69, was a high school golfer and went to state each year for four years. His best finish was a top five performance.
Then it was on to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for a few classes. But college wasn’t for him. It was on the golf course where he felt most comfortable.
His father, Jack, was on the golf course whenever he had the time. Jack worked in the coal mines in Scotland during the day and golfed at night. In fact, all four of his brothers also played golf. Anderson had his clubs before he was born.
His first job was at the Rochester, Minn. Country Club. Anderson lasted six months before taking over the job at the Madison Golf and Country Club. For 38 years, he owned the pro shop. In 2002, he sold the pro shop and worked independently providing lessons, club repair and helping with junior golf.
Over the 46 years, Anderson helped rebuild the course to 18 holes, was part of a successful junior golf program and increased exposure to ladies golf programs over the past 10-15 years.
“The driving range was an excellent addition to the course,” he said. “Giving lessons before we had the driving range was a challenge because we had to use the number 9 hole. We could only do it in the morning when no one was out there.”
When Anderson came to Madison, the golf course was listed as one of the best 9-hole courses in South Dakota. It got even better by adding a driving range and nine more holes.
Anderson knows first-hand what the course is like because he was able to get on the golf course and others around the nation; maybe not as much as he would have liked.
“You can sneak away for a one or two-day event, but that is about it,” he said.
Anderson’s golfing strength was his short game. He states that the short game is the most important aspect of golfing. However, Anderson sees golfers going out and hitting drivers, but never sees anybody practicing on the practice greens to any extent.
“From 50 to 100 yards into the green, you waste more shots than any part of the game,” he said. “When you are working you don’t have a lot of time to play the game, but you do have time in the evening to do some putting and chipping around the green.
“I really believe the short game should be practiced 2-1 to the long game,” he continued. “Most people do just the opposite or do just the long game. The world’s best players are good putters.”
The challenge of any golfer is trying to better yourself and to get that score down. Anderson’s best score at Madison is a 66. Par is 71. One time he had a 29 on the front nine.
In addition he has had five holes in ones: two in Madison and one each in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida. He also has had a double eagle in Madison and in Minnesota.
“To me the double eagles are way more satisfying than a hole in one,” he said.
To be a good golfer, Anderson feels it takes patience and a good attitude. “One of the biggest detriments is perfectionism,” he said. “If you are a perfectionist, you aren’t going to play golf very well.”
Over the years the number of golf courses has increased; meaning the competition for golfers has increased. When Anderson arrived on the scene, the only golf course close to Madison was the Howard Country Club. Now, there are golf courses in Salem, Colman, Dell Rapids, DeSmet, Hartford, Lakes Golf Course and Arlington.
Part of the reason for the success has been the junior golf program that golf clubs like Madison have. “Just getting kids out there is very beneficial for the game and for the golf clubs,” Anderson said. “If they start young they are generally going to play well.”
What also keeps people golfing is the challenge of trying to improve. “Golf is a difficult game that you never master,” Anderson said. “One of the interesting things about golf that no one ever tells you or teaches you is that golf is probably the most difficult sport for one reason. It is the only sport that you deal with a stationary ball. The other sports are reactionary sports.”

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