Introducing the CGA’s Golfiest Golfers

The Fall Fitness Finish and season posts made one thing clear: A few of us are always up for a game

By Susan Fornoff

It’s not news to the players who entered the Fall Fitness Finish that Suzie Frenchman (pictured) of South Suburban Golf Course ran away with the grand prize for the third straight year.

“I wanted to give Suzie a little run,” says Wellshire’s Steve Lyons, who knows a few of Suzie’s friends. “Some days I’d play 27 holes because I knew what she was doing. But I could never get close. She knocks it out of the park every year. Just finishing second is an honor.”

Steve’s 47 18-hole rounds in the 55 days from Sept. 22 through Nov. 15 fell short of Suzie’s by only two, but her 23 nine-hole rounds to his six meant that she posted 605,000 steps to his 515,000.

Suzie, texting from the golf course – where else? – says she posted 208 rounds in her GHIN app during the season, all but one of them (at the Ridge at Castle Pines North) on foot. Over the winter, she’ll mix golf in with her usual running and hot yoga routine.

No wonder Steve, 65, is suggesting a senior division for the FFF. And Colorado Springs Country Club’s Tawnya Silloway registered as a walker/rider this year.

“I finished second to Suzie last year,” says Tawnya. “That might have been why I changed categories.”

Tawnya won walker/rider with 12 nines and 42 18s, and Ed Merritt of Loveland Olde Course took the rider category with two nines and 20 18s.

Suzie, 51, still works, mainly evenings, as fractional CFO for an aviation company. “My commitment to golf, running and fitness is not about my work schedule, it’s about prioritizing those activities,” she says. “My passion is being in perpetual movement.”

As for the rest of Colorado’s golfiest golfers, here’s a bit about their lives under the “just say yes to golf” banner.

Steve Lyons, 65, Wellshire (9.6) retired from the railroad five years ago and has been playing tons of golf since then, making wintertime trips to Arizona and California. His sweet spot seems to be about 200 rounds a year, but his efforts in the Fall Fitness Finish gave him this revelation: He could play 18 and then go play another nine in about the same time he usually spent having an adult beverage at the 19th hole. “I don’t think my wife, Donna, even noticed I was playing 27 holes,” he says.

Tawnya Silloway, 55, Colorado Springs CC (17.1) started playing golf at 50 with her golfing husband Steve’s encouragement, and, after retiring two years ago from an ambulance provider, got so seriously hooked that she’s headed for 200 rounds this year. She says golf fits her “extroverted introvert” personality. “Big crowds are exhausting, but golf is perfect,” she says. She’ll put her name on the CSCC tee sheet and play with anyone else who signs up so that she gets to enjoy the company of many different people.

Lori Mitchell (pictured), 59, Omni Interlocken (10.5) started playing golf 11 years ago so that she would see her husband and son again after the family joined Lakewood. Last year she posted 230 scores on 71 different courses, including home courses Omni and Estrella Del Mar, and is hoping to hit 300 by the end of this year. She’s a real estate broker, but says, “I do not think I have made any sacrifices to play this much golf. What makes it all worthwhile is getting to do it with my husband, who is my best friend, the exercise, the beauty you see at different courses in so many locations.” Plus there was her first hole-in-one this summer, at Omni’s No. 2!

Ed Merritt, 70, Loveland Olde Course (8.9) played golf before he retired 10 years ago from IT and tech but says, “When I worked, I loved playing just for the game, didn’t care who I played with. Now that I’m retired, I really enjoy playing with friends. We even have a lunch bunch of golfers which we get together weekly for lunch and golf talk.” These days he plays four to six rounds a week while his wife happily works in her craft room. He warns: “I can tell you that playing more often doesn’t necessarily lead to lower scores.”

Scott Baumgardner, 59, Tiara Rado/Lincoln Park (8.8) has to hustle to get golf in the books after work in sales five days a week. No wonder Scott, the third-place finisher in the FFF walker/rider category, describes the game this way: “The game is so challenging. One night it feels so easy and the next night it can be so hard.” Shorter days will cramp his style in the winter, but he has a Myrtle Beach winter vacation planned and can play weekends in Grand Junction, Delta or Moab as long as the snow stays away. Scott hopes to hit the 150-round mark before the new year.

Jamie Wilkins, 53, The Club at Rolling Hills (8.3) quit the game as a junior club champ because, she says, “I was 16 and knew what was best for me.” Since 2016, she’s been making up for all those years she missed, winning club championships, piling up rounds, taking golf trips – and running the family’s chemical storage business in Arvada, which explains why she’s not joined the 200-round club yet. “I’m always at the office at 5 a.m. and I have a great team, which allows me to leave early enough to get a round of golf in or to have a lesson,” she says. “My dad is 84 and he still plays or practices nearly every day. Back in the ‘90s, he was listed in Golf Digest as having played the most rounds in a year: 240!”

Thomas Frank, 38, The Club at Rolling Hills (8.9) owns a mortgage company, has a 2-year-old and still fits in 70-90 rounds a year. He credits awesome team members for helping him find the time and his dad for giving him his love for the game. “I have great memories of him on the bag for me in junior tournaments,” Thomas says. “I specifically remember him giving me a putter from 40 feet on the fringe, and I made it for birdie on No. 2 at our local municipal course.”

Ed and Christine Mezzoni, 76 and 71, Boomerang Golf Club (12.1 and 24.5) finally started playing together when their kids finished school and they retired to Colorado. Of course, Ed played even when he was in the Navy and when he was director of a cardio unit in Massachusetts. “She’d get mad at me because she’d go to work and I’d go play golf,” he says. Now, married 51 years, they may be Colorado’s golfiest couple, he with about 250 rounds this year and she with about 200. They’re heading for Green Valley, Arizona, for their winter golf. Says Ed, “We schedule everything around golf.”

Finally, Charlie Simpson of Breckenridge sent along an email after he read our interview with Patrick Koenig, the new world record holder for 18-hole golf courses played in a single year. Koenig’s quest struck a familiar chord with the retired U.S. Air Force Colonel. “I have played in all 50 states, played 207 rounds one year while still working full time, 100 holes in a one-day charity event, and I am still, at 85, working on my goal of 1,000 courses before I die,” he writes. According to the records Charlie started keeping 53 years ago, he’s up to 805 courses! But Charlie’s wife, Carol, has Alzheimer’s. She always loved to go off exploring on her own during their travels, but now Charlie can’t leave her alone. She still likes riding along in the golf cart, but now Charlie won’t take her out in bad weather. So new additions are slow to come. Don’t count him out though: When he wrote, he was packing for a trip to Arizona to try to add some more courses.

Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at