After spending the past three school years in Florida, Matthew Felsenfeld is coming home, and he’s bringing his golf clubs with him.
The West Bloomfield resident is a senior at the IMG Academy golf program in Bradenton, Fla., and recently signed his National Letter of Intent to play golf for the University of Michigan next season.
“Going down to high school in the South the past three years has made me mature, and I’ve met people all over the world,” Felsenfeld said. “Now it’s time for me to come back home, and I know my parents are going to enjoy it.”
Felsenfeld spent his freshman year at Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day and led the golf team to a fourth-place finish in Division 3 in 2006. Individually, he finished 21st. Soon after, Felsenfeld made the decision to go to the academy, where academics and his golf game would be stressed.
“He’s a very mature kid,” said Brenda Weingarten, Felsenfeld’s mother. “I don’t think every kid at that age could go away, but he has a desire and wanted to do it. He went there for a summer camp and spring break, and knew that he wanted to be around people with a similar focus.”
“At that time, golfers all around the nation were playing all year around and doing better than me, because I could only play three months a year,” Felsenfeld said. “I think making that move was pretty good, because over the course of the last three years, my game has only gotten better.”
And Felsenfeld’s accomplishments prove it.
The National Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek magazine rank Felsenfeld as the No. 2 junior player in Michigan.
During his time at the academy, he played on the Future Collegians World Tour and was named third team All America in 2009. He was also the medalist at the 2008 Teens on the Green World Championship and was runner-up at the 2009 Leadbetter Classic and 2008 TPC Tampa Bay.
Between 2008-09, he finished in the top 10 of tournaments 13 times, including a fifth-place finish at the 2009 Michigan Junior State Amateur Championship.
“He does have a natural gift obviously, but he’s one of those kids that just liked to watch golf on TV when he was 4 and 5,” Weingarten said. “Then at age 8, we took him to the (U.S. Kids Golf) state tournament, and he won. Then we took him to the world tournament, and he finished fifth. At that point in time, we knew that this kid is good.”
Felsenfeld said he was addicted to the game after his experience at the world tournament.
“Once I captured that moment, I wanted to keep doing it and get better,” he said. Along with capturing titles and top-10 finishes, Felsenfeld said golf has also given him a chance to meet kids from all over the world.
“I get to learn about them and how different I am compared to them, and what they like to do,” he said.
On the course, Felsenfeld said he picks conservative lines but takes them aggressively.
“I kind of hold back a bit, but when in the moment, I usually go for it and hope everything will work out,” he said.
So far, it has.