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East County Athlete of the Week: 04.26.17

East County Athlete of the Week: 04.26.17

Michael Levitan.
Michael Levitan.
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Michael Levitan is a member of University Park Country Club. He won the club's 2017 Men's Golf Association Race to the Cup, shooting a final-round 82 and finishing with 1,270 points, 40 more than the second-place finisher. 

How long have you been playing golf?

Actually, my first set of golf clubs, my dad (Monroe Levitan) bought me at a police auction in New York City. This was probably about 1962. I played for maybe two years and then stopped. I did not play (again) until I was in my mid-40s. I played a lot of basketball, I just did not have time for golf. Had some kids, moved to the suburbs. Then I got my kids into it. When my daughter (Marcy Levitan) was 13, I'd say, and my son (Sam Levitan) was 10, we had a guy come and set up a mat in the back, and a net, and taught them how to swing. My daughter got really interested in it. The guy turned out to be the high school coach. He recruited her for the team. She became captain of the high school team and played at Vassar College. My son played in high school and caddied for eight or nine years. When I was up North, I played about 40 rounds a year. Now, I play probably close to 200. It's my occupation. (Laughs). 

What is the appeal of golf to you?

I just like the game. I like the athleticism to it, the rules and the order. There is a real order to golf. You are self-regulating.

What is your best skill as a golfer?

I keep my drives on the fairway. That is especially important here, because the course is tight and unforgiving with all the palmettos. 

What is your favorite golf memory?

My son went to golf school up in Maine. We played a nine-hole, father-son tournament. He was about 11, so this was about 2000. We won this rather large trophy, I don't even know what we shot. We were pretty surprised by it, and that was pretty neat. 

What is your favorite course you have played?

I played Pine Valley Golf Club (New Jersey), which was a pretty unique experience. I played it twice, and we were the only people on the golf course. I was lucky enough to be invited by some customers of mine. 

What is your favorite food?

Well, you don't get it as much here, but I love Chinese food. It's better in New York than here. (Laughs). If you had asked what my favorite condiment was, I would have said brown mustard.

Where did you go on your favorite vacation?

I'd say two years ago, we went to Australia and New Zealand. That was pretty unique. My wife (Sandy Levitan) and I went. We were there for four weeks. Did not play any golf, my wife is not a golfer, but New Zealand is a beautiful country. 

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

If you don't ask, you don't get. I was working at a job that was pretty unique. I was reporting to someone who was not interested in what I was doing, but his boss had put me in this job and was very interested in what I was doing. It came time for a salary increase. I didn't really know how to deal with it because the guy I was reporting to didn't care. I went to the senior guy and asked him for what I thought at the time was a pretty good raise. He said, 'Let me think about it.' When he called me up to tell me I got it, he said "If you don't ask, you don't get.' It was a good lesson. 

When was the time you laughed the hardest?

I'll relate it to golf. I was at a business conference and a friend of mine I was playing with is not a very good golfer. We were playing on a course called Hualalai in Hawaii. It's where the Senior Open begins its tour every year. It's fabulous. It's built on lava rock. They have these tees separated for different levels of skill, and there is lava rock between the tees. My friend was a big guy, and he took this huge swing. The ball hit the lava rock in front of him and wound up on the tee behind him. I was there with another guy. He's looking down the golf course for his ball, 'Where did it go? Where did it go?' The two of us were literally on the floor laughing. We finally told him to turn around. 

Finish this sentence: "Michael Levitan is ... "

... A good husband and father. The most important thing to me is my family. 


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