Still swinging into their 70s
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:35 PM
"They call themselves the WrinkliesBut member Andy Roby says the name has nothing to do with crows' feet and baggy cheeks.I've never seen anything about it in writing, but I'm pretty sure it's the name of an old English club, and not a reference to our physical appearance, Roby said as he strolled along the green.Meeting several times a week at the Wing Point Golf Course to play 18 holes, the septuagenarian golfing club boasts 21 listed members who play, Roby said, just for exercise and conversation.The only official requirement for entry to the club is age. Nobody under 70 need apply.Jim Young, who moved to the Island in 1975, has been playing with the Wrinklies for almost ten years, but confesses he hasn't seen his game improve in that time.We all know after we become Wrinklies, most of us'll watch our handicaps double, he said. At this point, I don't even mention it anymore. A former electrical engineering professor at the University of Washington, Young also served in the Pacific during World War II as a radar operator, and worked with the United Nations to help Brazil set up its national telecommunications system. He came to Bainbridge because his wife has ancestors that date back locally to the 1860s.The Wrinklies are a group with history.Luke Halvorsen, the oldest active member of the club, still drives the ball at 87 years old, and remembers playing at the old Wing Point club.We used sand for putting, he said. Halvorsen's parents came to the area from what he calls the old country, and he's lived on the island all his life. Norway, he said, then putting on an accent, From Nor-vay, man!In September, Halvorsen will enjoy his 88th birthday and his free slice of pie.That's the other important event, besides golf, Roby said. Each month, we have a birthday party for all the members who have a birthday that month. The rest of us pay, and they get a free slice of pie with ice cream.With a candle! Halvorsen added.That's when the storytelling comes out, Roby said.The Wrinklies have four trophies a year - May Day, the September Morn Tournament, the Roy Pete Peterson Memorial Trophy and the December Polar Bear Tournament. Peterson was the first high commissioner of the Wrinklies.Jim McCarty, a Wrinkly for three years, keeps playing for a variety of reasons. Exercise, social contact and the challenge are important, he said. Always trying to do better. You never can be perfect. It's a frustrating game.Over the years, the Wrinklies have had many favorite golfers. Roby has a ball signed by Fred Couples. Young's favorite, however, is a familiar face.Tiger Woods a very class guy, and a superb player, he said. But we watch him to see how golf should be played, not that we even try to imitate him.Young and Roby both recommended that young golfers just try to have fun with the sport, and not take it too seriously.Halverson, who once had a handicap of 12, also addressed the bare essentials:To me, the most important thing in golf is just hitting the ball. "