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Playing a round with Ron. 90 years young now...

Autumn sees the Scottish countryside at its best.  The low morning sun gives a falsely warm golden glow to the trees as they dress themselves in leaves of yellows, browns, russets and sometimes violent reds. Perth is no different and the north inch provides a superb example of god’s artistic abilities.

Playing golf at this time of year is not everyone’s first choice. The ball doesn’t fly as far in the cold moist air and the fairways have as much run as a shopping loaded granny. These practical hindrances are more than compensated by the aesthetic advantages of autumn.

And as winter draws near and the fallen leaves for a carpet designed to hide your ball the numbers going out in the morning become much more intermittent.

Some things don’t  change with the seasons however and one of these is Ron’s approach to the game. That is not strictly true as the shorts he habitually wears in summer are mothballed from autumn to spring but otherwise his game plan is remarkably consistent. Rain wind or shine he drives down to bells every Monday Wednesday and Friday only to drive away again if the first of these is present. A creature of habit he brings a comforting consistency to a round of golf.

Consistency would seem to be an admirable quality in a golfer unless you are as consistently bad as I am. Ron brings a sameness to each round which is not that of a crack golfer but whose consistency in attitude and performance is remarkable – not always good – but still remarkable.

What is most remarkable is that Ron has reached his 90th birthday and is still capable of doing 18 holes and if his putter is working putting in a creditable score.

As he plays Ron is full of advice for himself which he sometimes listens to. “ Swing the club don’t hit the ball” or “chin chin” are a couple of the phrases you can hear him mutter as sets up to play his shot.

Ron’s short chip game is remarkably accurate but his putting can be a bit temperamental. He will sink a 15 footer and on the next hole miss a 2 foot tap in. He doesn’t drive the ball as far as he would like to but who does!  He is seldom playing his second from anywhere other than the fairway.

Ron is a great advert for the health benefit of playing a stress free round of golf regularly.

Long may he continue

But no one is eternal. It says everything about Ron that though he was just diagnosed with prostate cancer and having started treatment on Thursday he was out on Friday to see if it had improved his game. It hadn’t but he still drove with his predictable accuracy and distance.

The specialist has said that he is unlikely to reach 100 (in age not on shots for 18 holes) but knowing Ron I wouldn’t bet on it.....

George Thomson

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