124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

A Course for Seniors-Only

March 30, 2009

Jaime Diaz's column in the March issue of Golf Digest drew a most interesting letter from Stan Bishop, a 78-year-old Ohio retiree. Diaz had argued that to get kids into the game, we need cheap golf. He suggested $2 for 18 holes.

__Dear Editor,>

I read the article from Jaime Diaz and thought it had merit. It is a great idea to promote a low fee golf course for young children to introduce them to golf.__

__On the other end of the spectrum, what about when these tikes grow old, like me? I never picked up a golf club until I was 66 years old (too busy trying to make a living for my family). Now I volunteer at a senior golf course (Bayview Retirees Golf Course). We lease it from the city, have all volunteers run the course (pro shop, maintain the equipment, mow and water the grass, etc.). We charge our customers, who must be 50 years old and retired, $4.00 to play 10 holes (all we have left after the city of Toledo took some of the land to expand the water treatment facility) and $2 for a golf cart. __

This started in 1981 as an old, grown-over (weeds hip high) 18-hole course abandoned by the city. A bunch of people got together with hand-operated sickles, push mowers and hand rakes to create a one-of-a-kind course for old golfers.

__The original 18-hole course was built in around 1932 and run by the city but abandoned in 1978 or 1979. The founders [of our group] got a groundskeeper from Inverness, also in Toledo, to help. We still have two of the founders with us. They are in their late 80s and 90s. __

So when you get the younger players in the game, don't forget the old timers what were born in the Depression era and didn't make big bucks raising a family and don't have corporate jets to fly around on. Thanks.

*--> __Stan Bishop>

Rossford, Ohio__*

I called Stan, who said that as far as the Bayview retirees group can tell, their course is the only one of its kind in the country. He says it measures about 2500 yards and is open only to seniors (though the volunteers can bring their kids as guests if the kids are over 50!) "When I was volunteering behind the counter, I had a fellow who came in who was 48. I wouldn't let him play," says Bishop, a retired Libby Owens Ford mechanic and machinist. Bayview has three par 3s and the rest 4s, with the longest hole about 400 yards. "Old timers aren't as straight and long as they used to be," says Bishop, "so we don't want it too long." The greens are rolled and verticut, according to Bishop, but "pretty slow." About 60 volunteers maintain the place. Bishop didn't start playing until he was 66, when his son gave him a $65 set of used clubs. "Never put em down," he told me.

--Bob Carney