Notes from an Old Golfer

0:00 I’m 82. When I moved to Rye and joined Rye Golf Club in 1976, I was 35. I played from the blue tees, the […]

Published July 1, 2023 3:57 PM
2 min read

0:00

I’m 82. When I moved to Rye and joined Rye Golf Club in 1976, I was 35. I played from the blue tees, the farthest starting points from the greens. When I turned 65, I moved to the middle-distance white tees. Ten years later, I played the hybrid course, half-white and half-forward or yellow tees (some prefer to call them gold). For the past few years, I’ve played solely from the forward tees, which are in my comfort zone. My average scores are 45 on the front nine and 42 on the back, if I give myself short putts and a few Mulligans. Since I no longer compete with anyone, I do what makes me happy. 

Walter Roode

When I was young and had high expectations, I would invariably feel optimistic at the beginning of a round and disappointed after eighteen. Now, I’ve learned to accept my limitations. Drives that went over 230 yards now barely reach 180, even when my swing sequence and tempo feel in perfect harmony. Of course, shorter drives result in fewer lost balls; they stay in the fairways. 

  One aspect of being an old golfer is losing golfing buddies. Some have passed. Some have given in to injuries or to the natural progression of age-related ailments. One of the clubs’ favorite old timers had to quit because his kids took away his driver’s license. He was in his late 90s and still playing, by himself, directing his golf cart to holes where he wouldn’t be disturbing anyone else on the course and playing two or three balls to the greens where he putted out. I encountered him on the practice green one day and asked for the secret to his longevity as a golfer. He didn’t know but revealed that he had gone through every sort of ailment in his 70s, including heart disease and cancer. Once he reached 80, it was clear sailing. 

  I’m still playing with guys who make me feel young. One is a former Rye DPW foreman and multiple-time volunteer Chief in the Rye Fire Department. Walter, who will be 92 in August, frequently outdrives me. 

There must be dozens of old golfers at RGC. Golf can be played without running, so it permits us to watch professionals on television and imagine that we are playing the same sport. And that isn’t a bad place to be when you’re 82.

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