Golf at 100 – Never Count Anyone Out
I read an article the other day about people who break 100 – years, that is – and without exception, they don’t believe in middle age. They do what they believe they can do. Those who can’t envision such an age, whether we’re in our teens or sixties, are often too tempted to remove these people from the “useful” list, and in so many cases, we are so wrong to do it.
The stories of 100 year-olds and the game of golf are not only inspiring for the subjects, but it speaks to the game as well, how useful it is for exercise, mental calm and sharpness, peace and quiet, lessons to be taught from one generation to another – beats a classroom any day, hands down.
Consider the longest-living player from the inaugural Masters, Errie Ball, who, at 100 plus, spoke to audiences at the Museum in 2011.
The examples are endless. Meet Gus Andreone, oldest member of PGA America, who shot an ace this week on a 113 yard hole…with a driver…a bump and roll of eighty yards and thirty on the ground. Who cares? There’s nothing on the scorecard that says how it has to look, just so you do it with a club and a ball. Incidentally, this is Andreone’s eight ace, the last one coming sixty-five years ago. And double incidentally, he’s also won the lottery three times – hmm, suddenly, I like him a little less.
Larry Packard is over one hundred, and likes to walk around some of the courses he created. Over the years, he has designed over 350 courses, and one of them hosts an upcoming PGA event this month, at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course. He has a lot of memories, and they’re clear in his mind – better not count him out.
Mary Holden is doing something rather unusual – she’s going on tour, the U.S. National Putting Tour, with its next stop at Carlsbad. Anyone over twelve can try to qualify, so I think she’s in the clear. The founder of the tour had to bring her in because of her great love for the game.
Cy Breen (I’m almost sure that’s an Irish name) is doing a variation of the “shoot your age or less” thing. He’s playing one hundred holes for one hundred years at the Cimarron Golf Course to raise money for breast cancer research. So, someone tell me how useless this person is. His wife is a ten year survivor, and his step-daughter died of the disease in 2005. Cy Breen has seen life, and he’s doing something about it wherever he can. His philosophy for moments such as these is not to think of the number, and what it is supposed to mean. Think, rather, of what you are able to do with what you’ve got, then go out and do it.
The stories could go on and on. Robert McGirr is one hundred, and joined the Schuylkill Country Club just short of sixty, and plays every week, rain or shine, never fails.
When it comes the physical, we’re judging age with all the wrong measures. I am already of an age where running a flag route against the secondary of the Green Bay Packers is suicidal (actually, it always was, but you get my point), but the game of golf is a wonderful mirror to age, because as long as you can move your arms. just a little, you’re a golfer. Some things about the game actually get better. We can see this at times on the senior tour – not longer, perhaps, but better, smarter, wiser.