Golf is just the latest sport Selena Samuela is determined to master. The Rye resident works as a well-followed Peloton instructor and enjoys a range of sports, from surfing and boxing to marathon running, winning her first race in 2019. She took up golf during COVID, she says, “because my fiancé, Matt Virtue, and his family are all golf fanatics.”
In 2020, Samuela started taking lessons with Westchester CC Director of Instruction Gary Weir and spent a lot of time on the range and short-game area. “Gary is the best,” she says. “He built everything from the ground up. My favorite ‘Garyism’ is ‘If you make it look like a golf swing, eventually it will become a golf swing.’” Her goal is to break 90, and she’s come close several times. You can follow her progress on Instagram and TikTok @selenasamuela.
Watch, too, for news about her nuptials. “The most memorable round I’ve ever played was May 27, 2021,” she says, “when I was proposed to on the fourth hole of the South Course at Westchester Country Club.”
Lizzy (left) and Abby (right) Stone were raised in a family of golfers, but the two sisters didn’t take up the game seriously until COVID highlighted the benefits. “When I came home from college in the early spring of 2020, I had some time on my hands before I started my new job in late summer,” says 23-year-old Lizzy.
She jumped into the game with a passion, taking lessons from Lynn Bernstein at Metropolis with her sister and practicing almost every day. Lizzy says, “One of the things that got me hooked is that nothing feels better than hitting a good shot.”
Abby, 26, had dabbled a bit in the game but didn’t really get serious until COVID hit. Then, she embraced the family’s deep ties to the sport. “My grandmother was a club champ, and my mom played a lot with her growing up. Lizzy and I want to continue that tradition, so we play with our mom every chance we get.” Shortly before she passed away, their grandmother gave the two girls new clubs. “Every time I touch my clubs, I think of Grandma Dede.”
Rachel Riendeau put her career on hold when COVID hit. The licensed orthopedic massage therapist had practiced her art for 18 years, but with one of her two sons dealing with remote school and her studio lease expired, she turned to golf and found a new, absorbing pastime.
Riendeau started with lessons from Wykagyl pro Anna Ausanio. “She’s amazing,” she says. “I didn’t know how to stand or even hold the club. Once Anna got me to hold my head steady, she started helping me to swing nice and easy, which is so different from tennis.”
“The first summer of COVID, it was all about my kids and I playing. The next season, it became more about playing with my friends at the club.”
“I had never been on a golf course my entire life,” Sue Gluckman says, “but I gave it a try, and now I can’t play enough.” The mother of two is an athlete who not only plays tennis, swims, and boxes but also competes in Spartan races, which combine marathon running with obstacle courses. When COVID struck, she discovered the multidimensionality of golf.
“It’s different from anything I’ve ever done,” she says. “It’s not just learning the game; it’s learning the etiquette, too, and with golf, it’s up and down, then you plateau. One day you have a great day, and the next day you can’t hit the ball.”
Westchester Hills head pro Brian Giordano talked her into playing with a nine-hole group. “Now I play 18 holes with my husband every week. I also play with the ladies’ interclub team.” She tries to keep her teacher’s positive mindset as she plays. “Brian says as long as you keep advancing the ball, you’ll do fine.”