“Golf is what keeps us going!”

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 26, 2023 11:29

Twice a week this summer a fourball met to play at their local club in Cumbria. And, given that the youngest of the quartet was 86, and two are in their 90s, they are evidence that the sport can help people live healthier and longer lives.

Four golfing enthusiasts with a combined age of 357 years met up twice a week to play a round at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club this summer.

Phil Castle, 92, Bob MacKeith, 90, Pat Hanson, 89, and Geoff Hall, 86, say it is a great way to keep fit and socialise with each other.

“We walk around the course rather than use buggies,” said Phil. “You are exercising every part of your body in a gentle sort of way. It is what keeps us going!”

And after completing their round – either the first nine holes or the second – the four visit the clubhouse to enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch.

The four friends, who all live in Kirkby Lonsdale, are keen to stress that their twice-weekly sessions are not competitive. “We play for personal pride,” said Bob, with Phil adding: “It is all about encouragement – we applaud each other’s good shots and commiserate if a shot does not go well. You could call it therapy!”

Phil and Pat, who are next-door neighbours, started the practice of a foursome playing regular rounds back in 1991. There have been various members over the years and the present group has been meeting up for the past five years or so.

Despite their collective ages adding up to more than three and a half centuries, Pat said age was not a subject they discussed very much.

“We don’t think of ourselves as unusual,” said Phil. “How much longer we shall continue playing like this is something we don’t consider.”

Geoff, the youngest of the foursome, said he loved ‘everything’ about golf. “It is just brilliant – you are out in the open and there is good companionship,” he said.

Phil, a former president at the club, highlighted that playing a round at Kirkby Lonsdale was also a great nature walk. “The other day my grandson, who is 12, pointed out a hare on the course and on the next fairway there were swallows flying around everywhere at ankle height. You often spot herons, squirrels and the occasional deer and there is a lovely view from every part of the course.”

The foursome plays all year round but is a bit more cautious these days about the weather. “We don’t start in the rain!” said Bob.

Great-grandfather Bob has been playing golf for 72 years and has been a member of Kirkby Lonsdale for 21 years. Geoff, who was secretary at the club for 12 years, has been a member for 40 years.

Phil, a former headteacher at Queen Elizabeth School in the town, has been a member of the golf club since 1966, while Pat has been a member for more than 50 years.

They stressed that Kirkby Lonsdale was a very friendly and welcoming club.

The Cumbrian venue was established in 1906 and has been at its present site since 1991. The 18-hole course measures 6,594 yards and is laid out in more than 160 acres of spectacular countryside.

The layout provides two nine-hole loops out and back to the clubhouse.

Club captain John Sherlock said: “I was playing a round with a friend when I came across the foursome, after having just seen a group of juniors playing. Bearing in mind the ages of the two groups, it was great to see how enthusiastic they all were about wanting to be out on the course and I felt proud as club captain that we could be so inclusive.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 26, 2023 11:29
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  1. Gill & Co November 8, 11:24

    Golf can be played for a life time.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Holt October 31, 12:03

    It’s so good to see, we have a three ball at SikverstoneGC that is just the same…

    Reply to this comment
  3. Doris October 28, 16:03

    I cannot agree more. “Golf is what keeps us going!”

    Reply to this comment
  4. Golf Yourself To Life October 27, 11:02

    Not unusual for Octogenarians and Nonagenarians to play together in this magnificent sport. Golf Yourself to Life!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Sports Impact October 27, 10:22

    Kudos to them, Golf truly is ageless!

    Reply to this comment
  6. The Stratford October 27, 09:43

    Well done! We have many senior golfers at our club who play twice a week!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Khalid October 27, 08:11

    Well done chaps, keep it up, best exercise for the body and mind ever (providing you keep it on the short stuff) ⛳️

    Reply to this comment
  8. AOT October 26, 12:19

    Really fantastic to see, but still wouldn’t like to be caught behind them

    Reply to this comment
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