(November 14, 2022) – It was another banner year for Jen Holland, the now five-time winner of the Liz Janangelo Caron Player of the Year award.
“I was kind of surprised [that I won the award this year],” said Jen Holland. “When last I had looked at the standings in the middle of August I was tied. I was happily surprised.”
Holland might have been surprised that she snuck past Connecticut Women’s Open winner and Notre Dame commit Alexsandra Lapple by a mere 32.5 points but it was no surprise that she had once again put herself in a position to win the award. Since 2017 when the Liz Janangelo Caron Women’s Player of the Year was awarded for the first time Holland has been the recipient in all but one year. That year was last year when she slipped all the way down to third place in the season-long race.
“I have played golf for 52 years and I just enjoy competing,” said Holland when asked what still drives her to succeed at such a high level.
Liz Janangelo Caron Player of the Year Standings
Once again Holland, a physical education and health teacher at John Lyman Elementary in Middlefield for 27 years, put together a strong season both within the state and at the national level.
In CSGA play she won the Women’s One Day at Keney Park Golf Course and in July at 59 years old she nearly came from behind on the final day to win her second Connecticut Women’s Amateur title.
“I am just competitive,” said Holland who fired a final round best 1-over 73 and won the Senior Division at the Connecticut Women’s Amateur. “It doesn’t matter if I am playing against somebody my age or somebody younger I like to compete.”
That desire to compete and compete at a high level led Holland to a pair of Southern New England Women’s Golf Association victories. First, she won the SNEWGA Individual title in July and then she followed that up with victory in the Senior Amateur.
“Every victory means something because it is a competitive field,” Holland said. “I would say the top players in each of those events are separated by one or two shots and it just happened to be my day.”
In late June Holland medaled at U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur qualifying to earn a spot in the first-ever USGA championship held in Alaska. One month later Holland made the trip to Alaska with fellow competitors and friends Jo Rasmussen and Lisa Fern-Boros and although the trip wasn’t a success in the competitive sense it was the trip of a lifetime.
“I came to the USGA events kind of late in the game so to speak,” said Holland a member at Lyman Orchards Golf Club since 1990. “This was my sixth U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Being able to go to Alaska with a couple of other friends was fantastic. We had a great time. I was a bit disappointed in my play and not making the cut for the first time. But that was all well and good because we got more days to sightsee.”
When Holland travels for a tournament she isn’t accustomed to spending more time off the course than on it but when she is back home she makes sure that she sets aside time to give back to the game that has given her so much throughout her life.
“I feel like I give back to the game when I teach junior golf,” Holland who officiates college field hockey and women’s lacrosse explained. “I help out at Lyman Orchards with the PGA Junior program and I bring kids from my school in the spring to teach them how to play golf. They are 7-8 years old so they are the age I was when I started playing.”
When Holland began playing golf more than five decades ago she could never have imagined the journey the game has brought her on. It is a journey with no end in sight.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.