Steve Hudson (L) topped the Society of Seniors (SOS) Player-of-the-Year
points standings, ahead of runner-up Keith Decker (R) (SOS photo)
By Ian Thompson, TuscaloosaNews.com
Steve Hudson turned 60 last week, but his golf certainly shows no sign of slowing down.
Growing up in Jasper, where his father, Travis, was the longtime head professional at Musgrove Country Club, he followed his older brother Tab to the University of Alabama, where they both played for the Crimson Tide. Tab was a very strong player in his own right, having won the State Mid-Amateur and the Alabama Open. Both are in the Birmingham Golf Association’s Hall of Fame, the only brothers to claim such a distinction.
Back in the day at Alabama, Steve was part of their first SEC Championship-winning squad, along with Gary Trivisonno, Barry Harwell, Cecil Ingram and Kevin Canada, in 1979.
It would be almost 30 years before they would win it again in 2008.
Steve has won five state titles: the State Senior in 2011 and ’14, the 2010 and ’12 State Mid-Amateurs, and the 2016 State Four-Ball with Robert Nelson. He has been the Alabama Golf Association Player of the Year multiple times, as well as playing in multiple USGA national championships.
But it was when he turned 55 that he took his golf up a few more notches. That is the age one becomes eligible to play in national senior amateur events, including the Society of Seniors, a group that plays a national schedule and was established in 1983.
Steve noted that a goal of his had been to win their Player of the Year award by topping their points list, which he did this year for the first time.
Wins in their events: the Ed Tutwiler Four-Ball in Phoenix, Arizona, with Lawrence Field; in their flagship event, the Senior Masters in Indian Wells, California, after rounds of 68-67-75–210; and at their Fall Classic in Savannah, Georgia, where he shot 69-74-71–214 saw him top the list, with other finishes of T-2, T-3 and T-7 in the six events he played in.
He won by a big margin, 275 points, from Keith Decker in second.
“They play all over the country, a true national schedule. My wife, Karen, and I enjoy traveling to the events, and we are at a place in our lives where we can do so,” Hudson said.
He has won the Society of Seniors Senior Masters the three times he has played it and has earned the nickname “Alabama’s Desert Fox” in deference to PGA Tour Hall of Fame member Johnny Miller who once dominated the early-season PGA Tour events out West and was known as the “Desert Fox.”
“I enjoy the friendships we have made at these tournaments, the courses they are played at, the level of competition, and I’ve added some clients, too.”
Hudson is still very active in the financial services industry and has been for many, many years.
He often talks about lifelong lessons taught to him by his father.
“Dad always said the key to life was having a good balance. I’ve always tried to live my life that way.”
Looking back at when he first crashed the over 55 top senior amateur golf scene, it was when he won the Golfweek Senior National Championship three years ago obliterating the field with rounds of 64-67-67 for an 18-under-par 198 total that gave him a stunning 11-shot victory.
He reflected “on how my game and particularly my thought process has improved with age. I used to think every shot had to be perfect; now I know it just needs to be decent. My focus on my routine is key.”
“I told folks to watch out for Hudson when he turned 55,” said Dale Porter, who used to live in Gadsden and is a member of the Society of Seniors, after Hudson’s Golfweek win in 2015.
“He’s the real deal. There’s a new sheriff in town,” he was quoted as saying on www.golfweek.com.
No doubt about that and this sheriff still has plenty of goals left, including making the Concession Cup, a relatively new team match, based on the Walker Cup, but not run by the USGA. It features mid-amateurs and senior amateurs from the U.S. against a team from Great Britain & Ireland and has been spearheaded by Alan Pope, who is from Jasper and played golf for UA in the mid-1980′s, but is now based at the Concession Club in Bradenton, Fla.