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Old Man Golf

Golf after 70

When I turned 70, I could hardly believe it.  It sounds so old!  My dad died at 59 and it is hard to accept that I’ve lived so much longer than him.

Full disclosure, I am not dealing with aging very well.  Having my physical and mental capabilities in decline is no fun.  I find myself fighting it all the way.  Sometimes I feel like I am just giving in and giving up.

I find that I mention my age to others quite frequently, like somehow that will compensate for my perceived deficiencies. I seemed to believe that I was on the threshold of infirmity and soon to be confined to riding in golf carts.  A full defeatist attitude.  Even though I somehow recorded the lowest handicap of my life at age 70, I was still convinced of my impending decline.

Power golf push carts seemed to offer a transitional solution, so I invested in one.  They really make walking the course much easier for “the aged”.  But keeping track of them can be a bit of a challenge.  Some of my golf buddies have them too, and we often find ourselves following each other’s cart while our own is traveling off into the woods.  Or it runs over me from behind.  More than once I forgot to open the wheelie bar and dumped the whole bag on a hill. Quite embarrassing.

I play much of my golf at The Oregon Golf Club which is known for its significant changes in elevation.  Peter Jacobson designed the course and hosted a PGA event called The Fred Meyer Challenge for several years.  The story goes that Arnold Palmer came to Peter one year and let him know “I’m not walking this course anymore!”  The tournament was moved the next year.

(426 Ft elevation change and 738 ft of Accent – 5.1 straight line miles)

Even though I walked with my power cart at other courses, I always professed I would never be capable of walking OGC.  In fact, I was in awe of the younger people who did.

And then a funny thing happened.  I made a couple new friends at the club that are close to my age.  They invited me to join them for 18 with the caveat that they like to play from the more forward tees.  OK by me!

At our first outing I arrived at the tee box riding in a golf cart and was surprised to see them standing on there with carry bags.  Are you kidding??  These guys were both in their mid-seventies!  But off we went and I watched them managing to get around just fine.

On our next outing, I decided to bring my power push cart and see if I could walk the front nine with them.  OK, so that wasn’t so bad….  I actually did it!  I rode in a golf cart on the back nine that day – cart path only.  At the end of the round, they shared that one of their other buddies did that and found that according to his pedometer, the walk back and forth from the path was nearly as far as if he just walked the whole course.

OK, then. I went home and dug out my light weight carry bag, ditched a couple of clubs, and decided I was going to suck it up and carry/walk all 18 with my new friends.

Amazingly, it went just fine.  And each week it gets easier and easier, and the health benefits are obvious.  I am doing back exercises to make sure it stays strong, but other than that I just keep trucking!

Lesson learned.  Like so many things in life, our dealing with challenges (like aging) are more about our attitude than reality.  I got a new attitude and it feels good!  And I thank Chris and John for inspiring me.



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