Teaching Pro Spitz Readies For His First U.S. Senior Open - MASSGOLF

Brian Spitz Trying To ‘See Where He Stands’ At U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley

Brian Spitz hasn’t had much time to play golf lately. In fact since qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open back on May 23 at Hatherly Country Club, he only played one 18-hole round before heading down to the championship proper at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Such is the life of a teaching professional.

Spitz, 52, owns and operates Brian J. Spitz Golf Instruction, which offers private instruction for players of all levels. When he’s not teaching at Harmon Golf in Rockland or PGA Tour Superstore in Braintree, Spitz is raising three daughters with his wife Elizabeth at their home in Weymouth.

In the midst of a four-year hiatus from competitive golf, Spitz felt it was a suitable time to step back into the arena this year with the U.S. Open coming to The Country Club in Brookline and the U.S. Senior Open taking place in the Northeast. Brian and his younger brother Ben Spitz (George Wright Golf Course) tried to qualify for the U.S. Open at Foxborough Country Club, and Ben (2006 Mass Amateur champion) got through to Final Qualifying. Three weeks later, Brian shot 1-under 69 at Hatherly to clinch a spot in the U.S. Senior Open.

He’ll tee off in Round 1 at 7:10 a.m. Thursday. After Friday, the field of 156 will be reduced to the low 60 scores and ties. Those players making the cut will play 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday.

“This could be the first and last time I play in [the U.S. Senior Open] so you have to just enjoy it,” Spitz said. “My wife said ‘Why do you play in these?’ It’s not to make money, I don’t play enough to do it as a job, but it’s a goal to see how you react and respond. You want to see where you stand.”

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Brian Spitz holds up his certificates after qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open at the Hatherly Country Club qualifier. (Mass Golf)

This will be Spitz’s first U.S. Senior Open and first USGA® event since the U.S. Amateur Public Links championships in 1990 and 1991. Back then, Spitz said he had huge backing from former Massachusetts Golf Association president Ray Bump who gave Spitz high praise for each match play round he advanced. Bump was an advocate of public amateur events, and today the winner of the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship is awarded the Ray C. Bump, Jr. Trophy.

“This is way more blown up,” said Spitz following his practice round at Saucon Valley on Tuesday. “At the Publinx, fans weren’t coming out to see you. Now you have people traveling from around to see Ernie Els, David Duval, Miguel Angel Jimenez. They’re all well-known golfers especially for older people, and you can relate to those golfers. This is way bigger. It’s more like a tour event.”

Spitz said he has watched highlights of the 2000 U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley’s Old Course, when Hale Irwin rallied from two strokes down in the final round and won the championship by three strokes. With the course hosting for the third time, Spitz said it’s in great shape, with high rough and fast greens.

“If I had pictured an open course, this would be it,” he said. “It just has the flavor of that.”

This year’s field of 156 features five past U.S. Open champions, including Ernie Els (1994, ’97), Jim Furyk (2003), Retief Goosen (2001, ’04) and 10 past U.S. Senior Open champions, among them Colin Montgomerie (2014) and Steve Stricker (2019). Understandably, Spitz said he’s anxious to practice and play alongside some of these luminaries.

Ernie Els plays a sand shot on the eighth hole during Tuesday’s practice round at the 2022 U.S. Senior Open. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

To make up for a lack of on-course playing opportunities, Spitz installed an indoor simulator this past winter as part of a basement addition in his home. In addition to having the simulator to use with clients, Spitz said he was able to get more confidence in his distance and direction and incorporate training such as the TrackMan Combine & Golf Skills Assessments.

“I think that’s why I’m here — I got more swings in the winter,” Spitz said. “You can swing freely and know it’s going to go.”

Spitz, who also coaches youth hockey in Weymouth, said he’s had a tremendous amount of support from his hometown and the clients he works with. He’ll also have some family on hand, including his brother David Spitz (South Shore Country Club) who will caddy for him during the competition rounds.

“I wanted to have somebody in the family have that experience too,” Brian said of picking David.

Regardless of how Spitz plays, he said he understands his career and business are the top priority at his age. Despite a successful list of New England PGA accolades (list below), he has said that going on tour at any point is unlikely.

“I just don’t see that being an option,” Spitz said. “If that happens then I’ll make that decision, but this is all just gravy. I have no expectations really to do anything but just enjoy it and do the best I can with the opportunity and see what happens.”

SPITZ’S ACCOLADES

• 2009 New England PGA Pro-Pro Stroke Play Champion

• 2013 New England PGA Stroke Play Champion

• 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005 National Club Professional Championship

• 2008 New England PGA Match Play Champion

2002, 2007, 2008 New England PGA Assistants Tour Champion

• 2013 Turner Hill Golf Club Competitive Course Record 64

• 2005 Black Rock Country Club Course Record 66

• 2001 Plymouth Country Club Course Record 62

To view his full resume, CLICK HERE

In 2009, Brian Spitz was Honorable Mention on the list of Top Kids Teachers by U.S. Kids Golf. (Courtesy, Brian Spitz Instruction)

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

The 2022 U.S. Senior Open will receive at least 20 hours of broadcast coverage on NBCUniversal.

Date/Day Time (Local/EDT) Network Coverage
June 23/Thursday 2-7 p.m. *Peacock First Round
10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (tape) Golf Channel First Round
June 24/Friday 2-7 p.m. *Peacock Second Round
10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (tape) Golf Channel Second Round
June 25/Saturday 2-3 p.m. *Peacock Third Round
3-7 p.m. Golf Channel Third Round
June 26/Sunday 2-3 p.m. *Peacock Fourth Round
3-7 p.m. Golf Channel Fourth Round
*Peacock subscription not needed for U.S. Senior Open

U.S. SENIOR OPEN FAST FACTS

Venue: Saucon Valley Country Club (Old Course), Bethlehem, Pa.

Opened: 1922

Architect: Herbert Strong (renovations by William Gordon, Perry Maxwell and Tom Marzolf)

Dates of Championship: June 23-26

Field Size: 156 competitors

Yardage/Par: 7,028 yards/Par 71 (Subject to Change)

Tickets: For ticket information and packages, click here

Eligibility: Open to any professional and amateur golfer who is 50 years of age as of June 23 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 3.4.

2021 Championship: Jim Furyk overcame a rocky start in the final round to edge two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and past Masters champion Mike Weir by three strokes at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, posted a 72-hole total of 7-under-par 273.

Fast Fact: This is the 100-year anniversary of the club’s Old Course. While Saucon Valley was founded in 1920, the Old Course did not open until two years later. Saucon’s 18-hole Grace Course opened in 1958 and the Weyhill Course opened in 1968.

What Champion Receives: A gold medal, custody of the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy for ensuing year, exemption into 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club, and exemptions into the next 10 U.S. Senior Opens.

Future Sites: SentryWorld, Stevens Point, Wis./June 29-July 2, 2023, Newport Country Club, Newport, R.I./June 27-30, 2024

STAY INFORMED

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