The NJSGA has identified its top golfers of the year for 2017.
No, they aren’t necessarily the best golfers in the state, but they are, indeed the male and female golfers who have played the most in New Jersey over the past year.
The leading male golfer is Bob Fitzsimmons of Rossmoor, who registered 190 rounds, 13 more than the next most prolific male golfer, and Adrienne Cortazzo of the Warrenbrook Women’s Golf Association, who played 158 times, only two better than the female runner-up.
Fitzsimmons, 70, is a retired teacher and guidance counselor who lives in Pennington.
“I did play a lot of golf this year. The weather was so good in October and November and that’s why my numbers were up so high. I play almost every day. As a member of Rossmoor, they never close,” said Fitzsimmons who carries a handicap index of 16.2. He once had his handicap down to a 10.0 some 15 years ago.
Fitzsimmons is part of an informal group of 52 guys who have been playing together for 30 years. He said each day 24 to 36 golfers from the group show up at Rossmoor and are then paired up.
In 1990, Fitsimmons was the golf coach at Nottingham High School, which won the scholastic Tournament of Champions. The former football player at Trenton State (now The College of N.J.) also coached football and basketball and found time to referee basketball.
He was a member at Peddie Golf Course with the same group before moving over to Rossmoor.
“I like the competition and I think, the camaraderie is the biggest thing. I’ve been with the same group of guys and we’re always trying to beat each other. “
Besides the 190 rounds played in New Jersey, Fitzsimmons adds about 80 more during the three months he spends at The Villages in Florida. He also belongs to the South Jersey Atlantic Winter League.
“I’m out there any day it doesn’t snow or rain, and I’m usually out on the course by 11 a.m. during the week, and by 9 a.m. on the weekend,” he said.
Adrienne Cortazzo, 47, worked in the pharmaceutical field before retiring in 2000 to raise her two children, who are now both attending college.
She calls herself a golf junkie who was attracted to the televised PGA events as a youngster even though no one she knew played golf.
“I was a big fan of Johnny Miller and Henrik Stenson, two lefties playing righty. I could identify with them. When I was a teenager, 14 or 15 years old, I saw a flyer for a golf lesson clinic at Ash Brook. So I rode my bike up there from South Plainfield with my one club taped to my bicycle. I didn’t pick up the game again until my 30s.”
“I do love the game, walking every day with my push cart. I started out playing when the kids were 8 and 9, and they were in school all day. I lived in Branchburg and had girlfriends at Neshanic Valley. We played on Thursdays and learned as much as we could. We did that for three years until we all joined the Warrenbrook Women about seven years ago,” she said.
Cortazzo, who has a handicap index of 14.7, served the past two years as second vice president of the association under Marcy Rodriguez. For the next two years, Cortazzo will serve as president of the 50-player strong Warrenbrook Women’s Association who get together each Tuesday morning.
“I play all of the county courses, Neshanic Valley, Quail Brook, Spooky Brook, Green Knoll and Rutgers. I also play the Union County courses, Ash Brook and Galloping Hill. I go all over the place.”
She and her husband, Mark, also belong to Talis Park Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
“What motivates me is to be out there and meet women who love to play golf. Anything that helps me to find more people who love to play golf motivates me.
“There’s no one I wouldn’t play golf with. I’ve walked on to public courses in Pittsburgh where my son, Greg, goes to college (Carnegie-Mellon). I like being out there with people,” she said.

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