Golfer still in the swing

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AGE is proving no barrier to 90-year-old Winton man Bill Foster’s golf game.

Mr Foster has been playing golf on and off for nearly 50 years, and shows no signs of stopping.

The camaraderie at the Drummond Golf Club, where he was a member, was outstanding and a big part of why he still played, he said.

“I will continue to play as long as I can, until the Lord tells me he wants me for something else.”

He played 18 holes at the Drummond Golf Club once a week, walking the 5239m course and pushing his clubs in a trundler.

“It’s an exhilarating game. I get a tremendous buzz getting a good wood shot.”

He also enjoyed putting and playing the pitching wedge.

“There is an art in putting. I am not good at it, but I do sink the odd 30-footer.”

Mr Foster was introduced to the game of golf in 1968 by friend Tony Goldsmith, a member of the Hedgehope Golf Club, who invited him to go to the club’s open day.

“I had the odd good hit, but I was impressed enough,” he said. “I enjoyed the first day and the camaraderie afterwards.”

After Mr Goldsmith “implored” him to go back, he joined up, he said.

When he started, Mr Foster only had a basic set of clubs including a wood, number 3 iron and a putter, and admitted his ability was somewhat lacking.

One attempt to hit the golf ball was rewarded with the ball trickling backwards and him losing his footing and falling to the ground, he said.

However, his game began to turn around when he was given an instruction book, Byron Nelson on Golf, about six months after taking up the sport, he said.

“I took that book into the paddock and did exactly what the book said.

“I followed everything in that book and in eight weeks’ time my handicap went from 36 down to 26,” he said.

“That is when I learned to play and [his golfing opponents] were howling because I was winning.”

A highlight of his time in the game was about five years ago when he played a low handicappers versus long handicappers match at the Drummond club, he said. He played a golfer, who he declined to name, who had a handicap of eight. Mr Foster’s was 36 at the time.

“I won two up with one to play… the club erupted [in applause].”

The former sheep and dairy farmer, who had once been the greenkeeper at the Roxburgh Golf Club, had retired to Winton, but chose to play at the Drummond Golf Club because the Winton golf course was too long for him, he said.

The land where the Drummond Golf Club was now situated was once used by farmers for communal sheep dipping, he said, and where the course was now, used to be a gravel pit with willow trees, tussocks and scrub from one end to the other.

“To go and see it now, the people that bought that have done a marvellous job. It is a credit to the old hands to see where it is today. The grounds are beautiful.”

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