‘Never too late to follow your dreams’: Serenity Madison, 40, shines at PDGA Amateur World Championships
After eight challenging rounds, played out across five days in Florida, Serenity Madison was exhausted. She was also a world champion.
Madison dominated her division at the PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championships last week in Orlando, claiming the Women’s Masters 40-plus title by a whopping 11 strokes.
“It was strenuous and arduous,” Madison said. “It was all about endurance. I’ve never played that much disc golf.”
In the opening round, Madison played well, but sat in second place by one stroke. By the end of the second round, the Newcastle resident held a seven stroke lead. Madison maintained a substantial lead across the next three rounds, but struggled at the conclusion of the sixth round, which allowed the next closest competitor, Meg Sapp, to close to within three strokes heading into the semifinals.
After that round, Madison called her husband for some encouraging words, ate some pizza and took some time in the spa.
“I re-centered myself and ended up crushing the semifinals and the finals,” she said.
Madison was six strokes better than Sapp in the semifinals and two strokes better in the finals to earn the 11-stroke victory and title of world champ.
“It took a lot of mental energy to keep myself centered and focused on that next shot, and meditation really helped with that,” she said. “I’m definitely a stronger, better person for persevering through that and rising above.”
Madison finished with a 19-above par 437. The next closest competitor was Sapp at 30-over par.
Madison first started playing the sport in 1995 when she was 15 years old. By 2003 she was competing at a high level, and in 2005 won her division at the California State Championships.
Madison was then hampered by a shoulder injury, which forced her to take a break from competitive disc golf. It wasn’t until July 2020, the now wife and mother, truly delved back into the sport, doing so as a way to deal with the stresses brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was just looking to get out of the house,” she said. “We were all in quarantine, and I needed some space, some fresh air and some exercise.
“I didn’t think I would ever be able to play again, let alone play competitively, so I was just trying to get out of the house and have some fun, get some exercise and help my mental health.”
It wasn’t long after that she realized she still had the skills to compete at an elite level.
“This time around, once I started understanding that I could set some real cool goals for myself, I set my sights on the world championships,” she said.
In addition to her recent victory at the amateur world championships, Madison also won the Amateur Women’s Masters 40-plus division at the 2021 United States Women’s Disc Golf Championships in May.
With all her recent success, Madison is an amateur no more.
“I turned 40 and decided to become a competitive, sponsored athlete,” Madison said with a laugh. “It’ll really hit me when I play my first tournament as a pro, but I’m ready. It’s time. It’s been time.”
“We’re just ecstatic for her,” said Mike Cassaro, who owns Sublime Disc Dyes along with his wife Lanay Cassaro. “We wanted Serenity on our team because of her passion for the sport, integrity and what she wants to do for the community. That’s where we really connected. We are all for getting more women and kids into disc golf, and growing the sport for everybody. … She is always happy and positive, and we are, too, and that’s why we connected and wanted to work with her.”
“Things are moving so fast for me, but I’m so grateful for my disc golf journey and where it has taken me, and where it is taking me,” Madison said. “I’m so grateful that I get to show my family, and inspire people around me, that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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