By Joseph Wolkin
Entering Port Jefferson Country Club’s 2016 club championship spanning the first two weekends of August, South Setauket’s Gerry Mackedon had a winner’s mind-set. Before he even stepped foot onto the course, he believed he could come away with the win.
Golfing shortly after he started to walk as a toddler, Mackedon grew up a golf addict. His work ethic on the course has remained constant over the years, providing him with the skill set needed to become one of Long Island’s top prospects from an early age.
The 18-year-old walked onto the green with a pep in his step, looking to win on the course his father, Bill Mackedon, has worked at as the head golf professional for nine years.
“It was extremely hot and humid,” Mackedon said of the championship day, Sunday, Aug. 14. “I think the heat index was over 100 degrees. It was tough, but it was all worth it in the end. The conditions don’t really bother me. I just go out there and play. Everyone plays in the same conditions, so they don’t really bother me as much as others.”
With father by his side, the younger Mackedon he was able to win the tournament, one of several he has been triumphant at throughout 2016.
“My dad has always been there,” Mackedon said. “He hasn’t just been supporting me, but he’s been teaching me the important parts of life — and not just with golf. It’s good to have him next to me, having him teach me everything.”
The Ward Melville High School graduate helped lead his school team to the Suffolk championship this past season. During the Long Island Cup against Manhasset at Bethpage Black, Mackedon shot 2-over-par 73, leading the Patriots to a 415-427 victory.
Mackedon had been on the radar of college coaches throughout his high school career. When the time came to decide where he will play collegiate golf, he opted to attend St. John’s University, which offered him a scholarship to play at the Division I level.
“I don’t need to feel recognized,” Mackedon said while discussing his scholarship. “I just like to go out there and play my best. I just want to enjoy the game and have fun.”
While Mackedon remains humble about the opportunity to play golf in college, his new coach, Mal Galletta, is thrilled to have him with the Red Storm.
“Besides knowing his family a little bit — that’s a big factor for me also — I start recruiting kids during their junior year,” Galletta said. “By then, I have an idea of what kind of student they are.”
As far as the golf end, the coach said he watched Mackedon in person for the first time in a tournament playing at a junior event.
“He shot a 64 that day, so that was a pretty big eye-opener, especially when you can shoot that low on a challenging golf course,” he said. “And it’s not only watching his demeanor on the golf course, you have all these ingredients.”
For Mackedon, the goal is to compete on the PGA tour. Practicing day in and day out, he believes the goal is attainable.
“I practice for hours every day, play every day,” Mackedon said. “I played in lots of tournaments over the summer. … Golf is a very large and important part of my life.”
In August 2015, Mackedon played in the Met Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck. He finished tied fourth out of the 17 amateur competitors who made the cut at that tournament, his best result in a USGA-supported event.
The Port Jefferson Country Club’s ladies championship was won by Donna Woodruff, of Port Jefferson. The deputy director of athletics at Stony Brook University, she scored a total of 245 to come home with the trophy.
“It being the club championship, every year you look forward to it,” Woodruff said. “It’s an opportunity to compete, and if you’re fortunate enough to play well over the three rounds, it’s nice to have an opportunity to contend for the championship.”
Woodruff considers herself an avid golfer. Though she didn’t grow up playing golf, her brothers and father began to play after she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, and then the game appealed to her. As she began to learn how to play, the skill level came naturally.
Winning the tournament for the second straight year, Woodruff now has four championships at the Port Jefferson Country Club, something she never expected would happen when she started playing.
“It is a great opportunity to represent the club as its champion,” Woodruff said. “I feel honored to have done that; the competition for all of us is a great thing. Several people have the opportunity to win the championship, and I was just glad that I came away this time as the winner.”