Many professional athletes are considered “old timers” when they continue to play into their late 30s and early 40s. In rougher sports, like pro football, the body begins to sustain too many injuries, so players’ careers are short. In others, the motor skills and reflexes begin to slow down and athletes face competition from young phenoms. But golf is different. Although older pro golfers do sometimes lose their edge, they often play professionally well into their senior years.
This was demonstrated last weekend when Phil Mickleson won his first British Open Tournament at age 45, joining an elite group that have won three of the four major world golf tournaments. Mickleson’s senior, Fred Couples also had a stellar game at age 53, even hampered by chronic back problems. There’s one sought-after goal in golf that challenges amateurs and your age is a definite advantage.
A recent blog post on AARP.org reported on a golf event where you are essentially playing against your age as a competitor – shooting a score that equals your age or better. The post showcased Sid Beckwith, who celebrated his 95th birthday on July 19th by shooting a 95 for his 18-hole round. Not only did Beckwith hit his 95 goal, he is part of an exclusive club of golfers that have shot scores equaling their ages multiple times. He first hit his goal 23 years ago, shooting a 71 at age 72. Since that first achievement, Beckwith has repeated the feat 857 times!
Living longer and maintaining your skills have served these golfers well. The record for shooting your age is held by T. Edison Smith who set the record for shooting his age the most times – 3,359 times before his death at 95 in 2011.