Alright sports fans, we’re going to have a quiz today. Ready? Here we go. What does it take to win the championship at your golf club nine times over a span of six decades?
B) Lots of practice.
C) A bit of luck.
D) Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
E) All of the above.
If you answered “E” you’re correct. You just earned yourself a no homework pass. (Can you tell I’m married to a teacher?)
Winning a club championship is quite an achievement. Winning it nine times is unbelievable. And doing it over six decades, well, amazing doesn’t do it justice.
This past summer Andy Stype, 62, of Southold won the championship at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue. Stype won his first club championship in 1969 at the age of 20. He won twice in the 1970s, once in the 1980s and three times in the 1990s. He won again in 2006 and was this year’s club champion for his ninth crown covering six decades.
Andy Stype was 11 years old when he was introduced to golf, working as a caddy at North Fork Country Club. “Steve Doroski was the best player then,” he said. “It was a treat to caddy for him. Steve did everything well, but he was a fabulous putter. That’s what taught me if you’re going to win tournaments, you’ve got to putt well.”
Growing up on a farm on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, Stype would caddy whenever he could. “After a day of caddying, my mother would stop by the golf course to see how I was doing,” he said. “She’d bring me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then I’d go out and play until it got dark and try to imitate Steve Doroski’s swing.”
Stype won a few caddy tournaments and continued to hone his game. His family joined North Fork Country Club in 1962.
“My father had us out on the course all the time,” Stype said. “He would really tick me off. I’d be standing over a putt and he’d jingle his change or cough. One day I got so mad at him I started to walk off. He grabbed me by the collar and said: ‘I’m trying to teach you a lesson. I’m teaching you how tough it is out there. People will do this to you in competition.’ He was right. I learned at an early age to block out distractions.”
Golf is not the only sport Andy Stype has excelled at. Playing for the basketball team at Burdette College in Massachusetts, Stype scored 24 points in Boston Garden before a Celtics game with many of the Celtics looking on.
In 1988, Stype began using his daughter, Erica, as his caddy. “Erica didn’t do much,” he said. “She just sat there and looked pretty, and son of a gun I started winning a lot.”
During his run of championships, Stype has defeated some of the top names in golf on the North Fork, including Joe Deerkoski, Steve Duke, John Stype (Andy’s brother), Bob White, Ken Kreitsek, Scott Osler, Peter Miller and Steve Flurry.
Reflecting on his life playing golf, Stype said: “Golf has made me something I never thought I could be. It builds your character and you grow. I’ve enjoyed every step of every round, whether I’ve played well or not.”
One more question: Can you guess what Andy Stype’s choice of nutritional fortification between rounds of his championship matches has been?
You guessed it. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Some old habits are just hard to break.