When golfer Les Thomas asked the question: "Am I the oldest playing member of the Forster Tuncurry Golf Club" it sparked a fact finding mission.
The investigation discovered that at 96 years Les was not the oldest player; that title was owned by 97-year-old Hazel Donaldson who continues to play at least 18 holes twice weekly.
And, the fiercely competitive 97-year-old Hazel continues to play at least 18 holes twice weekly.
But, the sprightly duo are by no means the only nonagenarians who refuse to put aside their precious sticks.
Surprisingly, president Pat Burn discovered there were nine members who continue to play competition golf at least weekly.
There is Tom Champion, John Frost, William Waldock, Ken Flynn, Olga Gerathy, Douglas Dowling, George Hallett, and of course Hazel and Les.
Ninety-year-old former St George rugby league footballer, Ken Flynn is the youngster of the group.
Originally from Bankstown, Ken began playing as a 22-year-old.
He plays twice weekly at his preferred Tuncurry course and only this year began using a motorised cart.
"This course (Forster) is too short for me," he said.
"I've got a lot of good friends here, I like the competition and I like my own company."
Earlier this week (Monday,July 8) the club hosted a special lunch for the nine nonagenarian members.
Between them, the group has played close to 500 competition games, a figure Pat said he was astounded to learn about.
"It is exceptional they are playing golf on a weekly basis," Pat said.
Pat said a fact well worth celebrating.
In 2017 Golf NSW commissioned a community golf impact study which found that in the Mid Coast LGA the total annual economic value of golf was more than $31 million.
Key social findings of the study also found:
- Participation in golf provided regular and cross generational social interaction across the lifespan.
- Golf provided a foundation to build a strong and connected community.
- The game of golf and golf courses provided a strong connection to the outdoors and natural environment.
- Golf teaches valuable life lessons and principles such as respect, honesty, etiquette and self discipline.
- NSW golfers have a life satisfaction score of eight compared to Australian population of 7.3 and OECD countries of 6.6, and
- NSW golfers score 10 percentage points higher for social capital than all Australian sport participants and 18 percentage points higher than non-sports participants.
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