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Senior Living: Super Seniors love to tee it up

Seventy-eight-year-old Jimmy Howard wore a baseball cap on a cold, windy Friday, March 11, and he was eager to play a round of golf with the super seniors at Belle Meade Country Club.

"We're the last hurrah," said Howard, a 30-year member at Belle Meade. "You don't get promoted after this class."

Despite 20-mph gusts that made it seem colder than 50 degrees, eight seniors arrived for the 11 a.m. tee time. They have a regularly scheduled round every Tuesday and Friday.

They may take golf seriously but not themselves. When asked how long he had been playing with the group, Jim Park, 75, said "too long."

Dick Cate, 69, chooses to walk the course, apparently for exercise, but Norris Long, 79, said jokingly that Cate was "too tight" to rent a cart.

Six to 20 play depending on the time of year and the weather.

"We have some wimps who can't play in the winter," said one member standing at the first tee.

Curl Chalker, 62, is one of two currently employed. He works part time with Wilson Realty and Insurance Co., but he said he's semi-retired and plays a lot of golf.

"This is a rowdy bunch," Chalker said.

Asked if his name originated from having curly hair, Chalker said, rubbing his balding pate, "I used to have curly hair."

Chalker is flying to Scotland in May with seven friends to spend a week playing golf. That's a round a day and twice one day. They'll play seven rounds on seven courses, including St. Andrews, where they have played the British Open. Chalker said St. Andrews is a public course, and on Sundays, they allow people on the course to have picnics.

John Stier, whom some thought to be close to 88, was the oldest member of the group, but he died recently. The honor currently goes to Duke Satcher, 86, but he wasn't playing Friday. Jim McGlauflin, 83, was the elder statesman in the group Friday. The group also included Jim Wood, 71, and Clark Willingham, 74.

Willingham runs the pro shop at Belle Meade and had the lowest handicap at six in the group.

The format for the round is described as points to pull: eight points for a hole-inone or eagle, four points for a birdie, two points for a par and one point for a bogie. After nine and eighteen holes, the highest score in each foursome is dropped. They made foursomes by one member tossing balls out of a bucket. Daisy, a light brown dog, is the group's mascot and follows them around the course. Long said he shot a holein- one on No. 5 about a month ago. He couldn't remember the exact date. He said he's shot his age a couple of times.

The stakes aren't high either; the most anyone loses is $3.

Web posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011

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