The PebbleCreek Men’s Golf Association (PCMGA) has named Michael Simon its Most Improved Player of 2022. The official announcement was made at the President’s Cup tournament on Jan. 19.
As background, Michael is an actual native of Arizona growing up in central Phoenix. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1982. Along with his studies, he played football there for four years, mostly at the outside linebacker position.
After graduation, he worked at full-time jobs as a courier for a while. A friend who was a fire chief in Phoenix encouraged him to think about firefighting as a career. So, he attended Phoenix College part-time while still working. He focused his studies on fire science. He did an internship at the Phoenix Fire Department and that convinced him that firefighting was his destined career.
Michael competed against 4,000 other applicants to join the Phoenix Fire Department. He successfully completed the written test, the physical agility exercise, and interview process. He started as a firefighter in 1989. Soon afterward he attended the Phoenix Fire Academy. He served as a firefighter for 28 years, including 10 years on the Technical Rescue Squad.
His outside interests included playing lots of tennis and ownership of two concession stands at the America West (now Footprint) arena.
Retiring in 2017, he and his wife, Christine (a former national account manager for Aetna Life & Health) traveled all over the world. Their favorite places included Greece, Bora Bora, Israel, and South Africa.
Michael never touched a golf club until he retired. His brother, James, introduced him to the game. He caught the golf bug big time. He played five days a week at countywide courses, including Stonecreek, where he was a member. He practiced whenever not playing a round. He made his first hole-in-one his first year of golf and broke 100 in 2019. He studies golf with a passion, keeping a close eye on his stats.
They moved to PebbleCreek in 2021. As a true golf fanatic, he built a short game practice area in their backyard. He still plays five days a week and still practices when not playing. He’s a member of the Bogey Boys golf group.
In 2022, Michael improved from a 22.9 index to a 15.7. He attributes his improvement to Christine’s patience and understanding. She just took up golf. Who knows. She may become PebbleCreek’s next golf fanatic!
The PCMGA uses the United States Golf Association (USGA) method to determine who the Most Improved Player is. The formula used is a ratio that encompasses the handicap index at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. The higher the ratio, the better the improvement.
A card credit for $25 will be awarded to Michael for his achievement.
Congratulations to Michael for a great season!