Andy Stype is working on his game at North Fork Country Club, preparing this month for the defense of the senior club championship he won last year. He is not stopping there, either. The 69-year-old golfer is aiming two years or more down the road, hoping to extend one of the most uncommon streaks in Long Island golf.
Stype, a realtor in Mattituck, also plays every year against younger opponents in the overall men’s championship tournament at the Cutchogue club. If he wins it in 2020 or any of the nine years after that, he will have been the champion in seven consecutive decades.
As it is, he is a tribute to longevity, having first put his name on the huge plaque in the clubhouse in 1969 and done it again in 1972, 1973, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2006 and 2011. Even though it has been seven years since the most recent one, it still is very much an active streak and Stype is still very much an active golfer.
“The thing is, you don’t know you’re doing it until somebody brings it up,” he said. “When you start this process, that’s not your goal. When I won the first one, I felt I’d like to win a couple more. Then I did win a couple more. I have won nine so far. It is a progression and has developed into a story.”
His story started when his dad, Val Sr., a North Fork member, brought Andy and his brothers Val Jr. and John to the course. All became lifelong good golfers and multi-sport athletes for Mattituck High — their focus having been sharpened by the times Dad toughened them by jingling change his pocket or coughing while they were on their downswings.
Andy became most identified with the North Fork club. “I actually caddied there at the age of 11,” he said, adding that in the 1990s he joined the board of governors, serving as secretary, treasurer then president.
As a golfer, he is a symbol for sticking with it. Stype has not changed his approach from the days when he would caddie in the morning, have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich prepared by his mother, and go out and play into the evening.
“I’ve never been known as a long-ball hitter. It’s always been more about accuracy and a good short game, being a good putter,” he said recently in his office on Main Road, just down the street from the course. “That’s how you win tournaments, the short game.”
North Fork head pro Peter Cowan said, “He grew up with it and he keeps his game in shape. When you play a lot, you know your game. He doesn’t try to change too much. He’s a good putter and he has a good awareness of his game, a good awareness of where he is on the golf course, especially when he’s playing in a tournament.”
Business is so good that his summer golf often is limited to nine holes with friends in late afternoons or friendly weekend rounds with his grandson. “As you get near the club championship, you start to step it up a little bit more,” Stype said.
He needs the boost to face the likes of Scott Osler, who has reached the sectional round of U.S. Open qualifying and has won five of the past six North Fork men’s titles. Stype intends to keep trying (and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches between matches).
“My health is still good and I still have the mind to do it. If I still have the nerve to do it . . . That’s always the biggest thing when you get older. There is a certain time to be competitive and a certain time to just enjoy it,” said the man who has done both for decades.
Long Island Cares, the Harry Chapin Food Bank, will hold an outing at Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, on Oct. 16. Visit licares.org/sebonack.
Brogan Mahon, Sebonack GC, fourth hole, 163 yards, 7-iron
Chris Brown, Colonial Springs GC Valley, eighth hole, 192 yards, 6-iron
Kyle Schwartz, Spring Lake GC, 16th hole, 150 yards, 9-iron
Greg DeCastros, Cold Spring CC, third hole, 162 yards, 7-iron
Ron Meoni, Brentwood CC, fifth hole, 129 yards, 9-iron
Karen Bachmann, Woodmere Club, 11th hole, 92 yards, 9-iron
Greg MacArthur, Bethpage Green, 11th hole, 173 yards, 3-hybrid
Ed Forker, Cedarbrook Club, 13th hole, 161 yards, 5-iron
Andrew Dubuque, Meadow Brook Club, ninth hole, 163 yards, 7-iron
Jerry Finkelstein, Indian Island CC, eighth hole, 153 yards, 5-iron
Fred Meyer, Indian Island CC, fifth hole, 127 yards, 8-iron
Chad Kilmer, Heatherwood GC, ninth hole, 145 yards, 9-iron