Like old soldiers, they state that old golf enthusiasts never die they just fade away. Inform that to Tony Vanderklei, 93, and Gord Edwards, who turns 94 on May 23. As they stroll the fairways, dells and greens of Rio Vista Golf Course, Edwards and Vanderklei are continuously reminded of their playing partners who have passed away. 6 plaques celebrate golfers of the past. 2 others passed away of heart attacks on the course while Vanderklei was having fun with them.
But Vanderklei and Edwards soldier on. Vanderklei, who normally plays 125 rounds a year, walks the course and chooses not to use a motorized cart. This keeps me going every day and my video game is still great, says Vanderklei, who shoots in the mid-40 for nine holes.
Next week, Vanderklei and Edwards are saying goodbye to the oldest member of their last threesome Walter Pearce, 96, who grudgingly retired for health factors. Even in 2014, while walking with a walking cane, he might blast a tee shot 200 lawns.
I played golf as long as I could. I knew I needed to keep moving, states Pearce, whose late brother, Denny, and is honored in a stone on the No. 9 tee box. I think golf s a habit, however a good one.
In a video game that lots of people view as time consuming and aggravating, they continue to apply the lessons learned in tough lives throughout the Depression and the war: make every shot count, take responsibility for your own mistakes and shake every hand prior to the post-match beer in the clubhouse.
Vanderklei has had the exact same slim putter since the 1960’s and the same haircut, combed straight back, since he escaped the Nazis two times to join the Dutch resistance and the British Army. Golf is life, he shrugs. It’s fundamentals and regular.
It likewise gets him out of the house every day to keep him physically and mentally fit, says Kathleen, his spouse of 65 years.
Vanderklei, who retired from a 35-year career at Fleet Canada in 1988, often completes in the leading 10 in a seniors league versus much younger guys. The score is not vital, he states.
Pearce and Edwards were boys when the semi-private club opened in 1933.
It’s a much faster world now, states Edwards, a widower and former Canadian Air Force mechanic who began golf in the 1920’s with a wooden-shafted Lady Burk 2 iron, a present from his mom. Everybody’s in a hurry to obtain to their computer. Kids are often throwing ball washers into the creek and stuff like that. And they ride in carts.
Edwards, who was a metallurgist in Buffalo after the war, preparations for golf by doing exercises 30 minutes each morning,
You learn lessons from golf, says Pearce, a Morse code operator throughout the war in Italy. You can often inform a man by his golf game. Rio Vista is holding a retirement luncheon for Pearce on May 25.
A pattern among senior golf enthusiasts these days is to have their ashes spread on their favorite golf course.
In Bellevue, Wash., there’s Memorial Golf Park, which enables duffers to be buried in a permanent golf setting. In Bedminster, N.J., U.S. governmental candidate Donald Trump has actually received area, country and state federal government approval to be buried at his precious Trump National Golf Club.
Of Rio Vista, Vanderklei states, this is like my second home. My type of individuals is here.
When he lastly leaves this world, he may want his ashes spread out on the third hole. It’s a wooded, par three over pretty, meandering Frenchman’s Creek, with a plaque of one of his 20 previous playing partners, Hook Martin.
As Vanderklei prepares to tee off, he stops to pay attention to songbirds, smiles and says, this is my paradise.