Can a 74-year-old fat man with arthritic hands and tired, numb feet make a comeback in the lifetime sport of golf?

To find out, I joined the Senior League at Eagle Trace Golf Course with maestro Gene Norden, another MSU retiree, as my teammate.

Other than an occasional best-ball scramble where I could ride around in a cart, eat a free lunch and sometimes make putts, I’ve been away from the game a long time.

I actually played this week but heat, too much weight and too much walking limited me to six holes.

I enjoyed lots of golf in college and a few years afterward. In fact, I got to the point where I often played in the 80’s but didn’t go out at all in hotter weather. (This may be the worst golf joke ever.)

As for the game’s social benefits, actor Jack Lemmon said the surest way to meet new people is to pick up the wrong ball on the golf course.

The great Ben Hogan said he often recited the words of a golfing minister who asked the Almighty for his ball always to lie in green pastures but not in still waters.

Newscaster Paul Harvey also loved the game, describing it as when you yell “fore,” shoot 6 and write 5 on the scorecard.

A golf pro once told me that my game was so bad that the first thing in my golf bag to need new grips likely would be my ball retriever.

Sadly, I’ve learned on my own that the four ugliest words in golf are “it’s still your shot.”

And I do plan to carry a can of insect repellent in case I spend so much time in the woods that I have to be checked for ticks.

Finally, I’m hoping to refute the rumor that the golf course at Carter Caves State Resort Park was closed because of my return.

(Keith Kappes can be reached at or by telephone at 356-0912)

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