A native of Oregon, Julie Massa learned golf from her father, Allen Cross, the PGA head pro at Ilhahe Hills CC in Salem.
“Our whole family played the game,” said Massa, a longtime Holt resident. “Not only my dad but my mom, my brother and sister. My dad was instrumental, stressing fundamentals like the grip and stance and he made sure I wasn’t a fader of the ball.”
Under her father’s watchful eye, Massa excelled as a high school player and was promised a full-ride golf scholarship at the University of Oregon. Unfortunately, due to budget problems, Oregon dropped women’s varsity golf.
“After my senior year in high school, I played in the U.S. Girls’ Junior. Arizona State University’s coach watched me play and later invited me to be a walk-on,” recalled Massa. “I made the team and eventually earned a partial scholarship.”
In 1983, she won the Oregon Women’s Amateur Championship. Three years later she turned pro and worked as an assistant at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. During this time, she also married Darryl Massa, a Michigander whom she met at ASU. In 1989, they moved to Michigan and have been here ever since. Later, she also regained her amateur status.
“I wanted to get back into amateur competition,” said Massa. “I missed it.” She resumed competition—first as a mid-amateur and then as a senior player and starting winning titles again. In the early 2000s, she won the Michigan Women’s Mid-Am and qualified for the U.S Women’s Mid-Am several times. In all, she has won two Michigan Mid-Ams and qualified for nine U.S. Mid-Ams.
As a senior golfer Massa has been a dominant player. When inducted in 2021 she had won six state titles and had been named the GAM’s Women’s Senior Player of the Year six consecutive years (2015-20). She had qualified for six USGA national championships. One of them was the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball which she accomplished with her daughter Mariah.
Year inducted: 2021