85 year old golfer wins club tournament

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams September 14, 2016 07:17 Updated

The theory that golf is a unique sport because it allows elderly people to compete against younger opponents has been given more credence because an 85 year old man has won a tournament.

Even more remarkably, Jim Blakey once feared he would never walk again.

Golfer Jim Blakey, 85 (July, 2016)

He says he owes his victory at Durham club South Moor to a change in golf’s national handicapping system – he now has a handicap of 44 – and the NHS.

Said Jim: “I used to be a bricklayer but I had to quit that trade after I had a badly slipped disc when I was 36.

“I was on traction and in so much agony I thought I would never walk again.

“So I have the University Hospital of North Durham to thank for putting me right, or Dryburn as it was called then.”

After becoming a mature student he, at the age of 42, went on to enjoy a 20-year career as a rates valuation officer in the civil service. He then took up golf.

While a younger golfer, Jim won two club competitions at South Moor.

Widower Jim still plays two or three times a week. Until this season, the maximum men’s handicap was 28.

But under new England Golf rules, Jim signed for 41 Stableford points off a handicap of 45 to win a seniors’ competition: the Alan Scott Cup.

85-year-old golfer Jim Blakey (July, 2016)

He said: “For around the past eight years I have been playing in competitions just for the fresh air and exercise.

“I had no chance of winning anything until this new rule came in. Now I have a lot to play for every time and, God willing, this might put years on my life.

“In terms of milestones, my next target is to win a senior competition at 90.”

Jim’s best ever handicap was 23 when he was in his 50s and his current handicap has been reduced to 44 after his triumph.

The maximum now allowed is 54 for selected internal club events.

But Jim said: “My ambition is to give the lads at the club more reasons to cut my handicap further by doing well in the comps.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams September 14, 2016 07:17 Updated
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