Feb 07, 2018

Golf passion pushes Medford Village’s Lynch through medical strife

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Betsi Lynch didn’t seek a support group once she was diagnosed with breast cancer in March. She instead relied on the one already in place: Medford Village Country Club.

“It’s a very close-knit group of people,” Lynch, 61, of Southampton, N.J., said. “The support group that I have from my women’s golf team at Medford Village, all of the members there and my family of course — that’s what kept me going. I couldn’t have done it without Medford Village. I credit them with getting me through it.”

Lynch, a Medford Village member since 1993, underwent chemotherapy once a week from April through September. Throughout the treatment process, she kept swinging — mentally and physically.

“People were amazed that I was still playing golf,” Lynch said. “I told people that, ‘I’m not feeling bad; I just have cancer. That’s the only problem I have right now.’ I keep on saying to the golfers around me, ‘Don’t treat me any different.’”

Golf is Lynch’s refuge in her time of medical strife (she also broke her foot in September 2016). She still managed to log rounds at Medford Village — 83 in 2017. Lynch’s enthusiasm remains.

“Golf is not a matter of strength. To me, it’s geometry,” she said. “If I hit the ball here, it’s going to bounce this way or since I can’t make the green, where do I want my next shot to be from?’ If my favorite club is my 100-yard club, then I want to hit it to the 100-yard mark, not just as a far as I can hit it. It matters not of your strength or how long you are; it’s much more of a putting game I would definitely say.”

Her profession prompted Lynch to become involved with the sport.

“I was getting left out of all of the business meetings. Everyone assumes that the women don’t play golf, and so they just don’t invite you,” Lynch, who works for Apple, Inc., said. “We, as a team, went out and played one day. [Before that] I went over to [Indian Spring Country Club in Marlton, N.J.] and took a lesson, borrowed my sister’s ex-husband’s clubs and have been kind of hung up on golf ever since.”

Not soon after that golf initiation did Lynch uncover her first hole-in-one. She’s registered six altogether at Medford Village — three on No. 16, two on No. 6 and one on No. 11. Her ace on the 16th hole in 2012 is a fond favorite.

“[Friend and playing partner Debra Ammons] was two inches away from the cup, and I said, ‘Go up and mark that. It’s in my way,’” Lynch, who won the women’s championship at Medford Village in 1994, said. “She says, ‘I’m not going to mark that. Go around it.’ It actually did go around it and came in through the back. It was the greatest story.”

Medford Village annually conducts a breast cancer awareness event for charity. This year’s affair contained a deeper meaning for Lynch. She marveled at inspirational signs, such as “Bald is beautiful” and “Never stop fighting,” posted on each hole.

“The golf surrounded my friends, both male and female, and made everything so much easier,” Lynch said. “We had a quote that I found in some book that we started every round with: ‘the difference between possible and impossible is the people that you surround yourself with.’ That’s what I kept thinking about the whole way through. There are sometimes when people who have this disease join support groups. I didn’t do any of that because all they wanted to talk about was the cancer. I wanted to talk about what was after cancer.”

Luanne Funari, a metastatic Stage IV breast cancer patient, is a good friend and sounding board. The Trump National Golf Club — Philadelphia member relates to Lynch’s passion for golf and persistence.

“Betsi is a very competitive person. She’s just tenacious,” Funari, 57, of Mullica Hill, N.J., said. “I’m addicted to golf as much Betsi. I talk to her a lot about [dealing with cancer]. Having a positive attitude is more than half the battle, just trying to keep on with your normal life.”

Lynch underwent a double mastectomy in October 2017. (“When I was going under, the very last thing I said to the breast surgeon was, ‘Remember I’m a golfer. I need that muscle for the turn,’” she said.).

Rest assured golf will resume upon medical clearance.

“She’ll be back playing before most people would,” Funari said.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.


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