Along time ago (60 years) in a land not too
far away (Tampa) I played to a five handicap
on a tough little (6,400 yards) course
named Palma Ceia. That was with a driver with a
Persimmon head, a slightly rusty steel shaft, and a
ball called a Spaulding Dot … or was it a Maxfli?
My putter was a hickory-shafted mallet made by
Odei Crissman in Selma, Alabama. That equipment,
along with a full set of Wilson Staff irons
and a bag, probably cost $400 in1955.
I was fresh out of the Marine Corps and
weighed 135 pounds, and I could hit that rubberwound
ball with a balata cover 240 yards.
My, how times have changed!
Not too long ago I was talking to a local doctor,
bemoaning the deterioration of my golf game,
primarily caused by a loss in distance. He looked
at my chart and said, “Let’s see … over the past
several years you have had five kidney stones
(one with surgery), two hernias, two detached
retinas, two cataracts, two total knee replacements,
lower back surgery and open heartsurgery.
You are 85 years old, you are still here
and still playing golf. What’s the problem?”
Written by Phil Woods
The problem, I said, answering his question,
was that my age has caught up with my golf
“Just be grateful you can still play,” he said.
So I am grateful, but I still remember just
five or six years ago when I regularly shot my
age or better.
Well … it hasn’t happened lately!
But I can tell you that the principal cause of
my loss in distance is loss of flexibility. After
the age of 70 it is very difficult to rebuild
muscle mass, but you can increase your flexibility
with some serious stretching exercises.
There are numerous good books on fitness
exercises, and one of the best is Gary Player’s
“Fit for Golf.” You certainly don’t need to do
all of his suggested exercises, but 15 to 20
minutes a day on a select few can make a
huge difference in your swing and game.
Remember, though, don’t start any exercise
program without first checking with your
Keep it in the short grass!
Boca Grande resident Phil Woods has been a
golfer for the past 40 years. He is a member of
the Lemon Bay Golf Club and has a 19 handicap.
36 GASPARILLA ISLAND July/August 2019