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In Homage to Really Old Guys Who Can Still Really Play

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

We have a 91 year old guy at our club who plays at least four times a week and will not play unless there is some money on the line. The guy is ultra-competitive, is a past club champion (back in the 60's and 70's), and has won every other club championship flight from A to D as he got older and his game faded. He refuses to tee it forward and has figured out how to play the course even when there are some forced carries that challenge his diminishing length. The thing is, he really knows the game, his ball is always in play right in front of him and he is still as sharp as a tack.

 

I have played a lot of golf with him over the years but I hadn't played with him yet this year. I love the guy (he always regales me with nice stories about my Mom and Dad) but I usually avoid him because, frankly, his money games are a little rich for my taste. The last time I played with him his handicap was 28 and he was very dangerous with all those shots. I decided to get a game in last week, as it was a nice day for mid-November and I didn't see the weather being very good going forward. I got to the club and there were 3 guys ready to go, and my older gentleman friend was one of them. After I negotiated our wager down to a manageable level, we threw balls and he ended up as an opponent. He was now a 33 handicap and I was going to have to give him 23 shots.

 

I played pretty well for not having picked up a club in a couple of weeks, but I soon realized that I could not afford the slightest mistake because he made very few. Our match was tight and we halved the front nine (I had to birdie the short par 3 9th to beat his 4 for the half). The way we play it, if you half the front, everything carries over, so the back nine was for the whole match.

 

I made my worst swing of the day on the 10th tee and hit it OB. I still managed to make a 6 on the tough par 4, but so did he and I was behind right away. We went back and forth, nobody getting ahead by more than one point. I parred four of the next five holes but I was still one down going into 16, a difficult par 3 for him, because it required a high, long shot to get to an elevated green at least 60 feet above the tee level. He played it the only way he can, hitting it forward to the bottom of the hill, and then trying to hit it up the hill to the green with a lofted club. He missed the green with his second shot and made 5, so my par 3 won the hole and we were back to even.

 

I again had an advantage on the short par 5 17th because, while it is a short enough hole that even I can occasionally go for it in two, it is a four shotter for him. We get to the tee and, lo and behold, the staff had put the men's tee forward to the Senior tee on this day, cutting off 40 yards from the length of the hole. I hit a solid tee shot, but pulled it slightly left and caught a bunker that is usually out of my range, forcing me to layup on my second shot. He hit three really solid shots and was on that green in regulation for the first time in years, putting for birdie from about 30 feet. I hit a good approach shot to about 10 feet. He two-putted, and I had to make mine to half the hole, but I never scared the hole.

 

One down, one to go, and I had to give him two on the final difficult par 4. He hit his worst drive of the day, which made the hole a four shotter for him, he was never going to get home in three. I hit a good drive and a really solid second shot with a hybrid and had 35 feet for birdie. He was predictably on the green in four, but was 55 feet away from the hole. His first putt was woefully short by about 10 feet. I two-putted for par and he stepped right up and nailed that 10-footer in the back of the cup to half the hole and win the match. He turned to me and proclaimed, "never a doubt!" I shot a 39 on the back with a double bogey and it wasn't enough.

 

I never had more fun losing a golf match in my whole life. God bless him and I look forward to trying to get my money back next season.

 

If you have any of your own relevent stories, put them here.

post #2 of 37

Good idea for a thread.

 

@david_wedzik's dad isn't "old" per se, but he can still play. He's nearly 70 and is still a legit two or three index. He hasn't shot his age yet but he's closing in on it. Within the past few years he's played nine holes in 29, I believe.

post #3 of 37
Definitely cool thread as there are lots of guys 60+ that can really play (not sure what we are defining as old).

Yeah, my Dad did fire 29 at 66 1/2 years old but backed it with a 39. This was at The Kahkwa Club which is legitimate course for sure! He still hits it 260+ and drives it great overall and putts very well. It's one of the things I love about golf...that I imagine playing well til I'm 80.
post #4 of 37

my father (75) was a legit 5 until july 1st when he had a pretty bad stroke. now he is in the mid 90's...not happy at ALL so he is working very hard at a game that came very easy to him till recent. its a bitch only having full use of half your body..lol.

 

I have no doubt by this coming july 1st, he is back in the 70's. (at least i hope)

post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by david_wedzik View Post

Definitely cool thread as there are lots of guys 60+ that can really play (not sure what we are defining as old).

Yeah, my Dad did fire 29 at 66 1/2 years old but backed it with a 39. This was at The Kahkwa Club which is legitimate course for sure! He still hits it 260+ and drives it great overall and putts very well. It's one of the things I love about golf...that I imagine playing well til I'm 80.

I don't have any stories as I only really started playing this year but am only posting to comment that this is amazing.  A long drive for me is 230.  No doubt I'd be in awe of your father at 66 years old and his 260 yard drives.

post #6 of 37

I was eating dinner with my grandparents last week, and my grandfather was lamenting that he finally shot his age - 86. He's usually low 80's. Pretty good for a guy who had a quadruple bypass just a few years ago. His doctors cut him down to only playing 2 times per week, he can play a 3rd day if he's feeling well and the weather's not too hot or humid for him. My cousin who plays with him regularly said he's lost a lot of distance, but can still move the ball at will.

 

I can only hope to be there at one point, in my late 80's and still able to get out and enjoy playing.

post #7 of 37
A friend of mine turns 79 next year and shot 78 as recently as two years ago. I'm told he was scratch in his fifties, but he's still a single digit handicap today. Pretty good for a guy that started only in his forties.

Oh, and he still works everyday as a plumber.
post #8 of 37

I played with a 94 year old a few seasons ago... and he walked the front nine! He didn't shoot his age, but he broke 100. I was really impressed.

post #9 of 37

I play as a single a lot and get paired with older gentlemen (older than me 53).  They have such a good attitude about playing, which I think is more important than the score.  I played a couple of weeks back with three guys in their 70s.  They were even trash talking.  It was awesome.

post #10 of 37

Me and Barrett (@Bechambo) played yesterday at Glen Eagle and got paired with a guy who was 77 that could still play pretty well. Not long by any means, but was straight off the tee and made a good number of pars. Probably shot in the low 80s I'd guess.

 

There is another guy at our home course who is in his late 70s or early 80s who carries a legit 5 handicap or less.

post #11 of 37

People who don't known much about it run down golf for a lot of different reasons. The fact that it can be played into an advanced age is a great redeeming aspect.

 

My father was consumed with his work. He had many happy years doing it, but then it came time to retire. He didn't know what to do with himself and passed shortly after that. I can't help but think that if he had something like golf, he may have stayed with us a little longer.

post #12 of 37

Played with a 69 year old a few weeks ago that insisted on playing from the regular men's tees. He hit the ball very consistently straight and in the 280 to 290 range off of the tee (on a course that gives almost no rollout). Impressive to me and longer than anyone else I've seen that age. He didn't have the best short game but even without it he didn't have any trouble shooting in the 70s.

post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 

I play with a lot of guys whose games are transitioning with age. Most handle it well, but I find that the guys who have been really solid players most of their lives have to get through a rough patch. It takes them a while to adjust to playing competitive golf with double digit handicaps. They have to learn that, I think it was Byron Nelson who said, "Golf is a young man's game, but it's an old man's pleasure."

post #14 of 37

At our local public track, there was a 93 yr old retired supreme court judge that would play the par 3 course every now and then, and also hit ball on the range. One really hot July day, he was hitting balls, with his old clubs, temps were in the mid 90's, no canopy for the hitters to get shade. Anyway, about 2pm he's finished his med bucket of balls, and starts his walk out to his car, he gets about 30' from the range and collapses, hit his head to where it was bleeding a bit, 2 of us tried in vain rendering CPR.

 

Was a front page story in the paper the next day about it. What I took from it was, and I'm only 65, is that he was lucky to be able to do what he loved for so long, and that he passed doing what he loved. He was a great old gent, I miss him to this day.

post #15 of 37

I've posted this before, but it deserves retelling...

 

More than 40 years ago my two brothers and I decided to play a quick 9 holes at a local muni near our house. A gentleman, 88 years old was playing alone and we asked if he would like to join us. The three of us (17, 17 & 16) had a combined age that was 38 years younger than this man named John. He was about 5'6" and weighed 140 soaking wet. The three of us averaged 6'2" and 180 pounds or more.  John consented to play with us and said that he would not slow us down. All four of us walked the course that day.

 

Well, let me tell you.... John hit the ball about 130 yards max, but it was straight as an arrow, and always in play. My brothers and I could hit it more than twice as far as he could, but we were usually in the trees, creek, or adjacent fairways that were indigenous to the course layout. With the short distances of this muni, he was on every green in regulation or one over, never three putted, and showed us that day that you didn't have to be long off the tee to post a good score and enjoy the game. In addition, the stories he told us about his golfing experiences made our two hours together seem like just a few moments. We thought that we were doing an old man a favor by letting him play with us that day, but in truth, we were the lucky ones.

post #16 of 37

This summer I had the great good fortune to get into a regular weekly game with the Oldest Member at the course I play, who is 91, and the former greenskeeper of the course who is probably about 80.  You could tell by the quality of their hits that they had been very good golfers when younger, and were both still super consistent.  They were a couple of the friendliest, most gentlemenly people I ever played with.  I hooked up with them one day and they invited me to play with them again, and it became a regular thing.  They both still had a passion for the game and needled each other, but you now that these guys were great friends and it was all meant in fun.  And they took me in as one of them even though I am a youngster by their standards (57).  I looked forward to playing with them every Wednesday until the summer ended and I had to return to teaching school.  I hope to play with them over Christmas break, if the weather behaves.

post #17 of 37

My Dad turned 81 this year, he plays every day that the weather permits, he will get in over 200 rounds a year and he has been doing this every year since he retired in 1996.  I don't know how many times he has shot his age, but it's a lot.  He plays on a pretty ugly 9 hole course in central Kansas, but he knows how to play it.  The course only waters the greens and tee boxes, so the fairways will get rock hard and run in the summer time, he knows how to hit the ball 20, 30, 40, even 50 yards sometimes in front of a green and get a ball to bounce and run on the green. 

post #18 of 37

At my father-in-laws club (its in a retirement community) there is a woman who plays there just about every single day.  She hits the ball short and straight all day long.  Probably never loses a ball.  She's the nicest person you could meet.  And depending on who you ask, she is either 98 years old, or 84 years old, or somewhere in between.  Nobody really knows.  But she's clearly old, small, and quite frail, yet she's out there nearly every day playing 9 holes.  And the coolest part is that she walks AND carries every time.

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