Golfing friends back on course

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Seven friends with a combined age of 629 gathered at the Alexandra golf course on Monday to celebrate a long friendship on and off the golf course.

Before giving up the game, they had played together for decades, coming along every Tuesday to enjoy a round.

Joan Moore, at 88, was “the baby” of the group, 90-year-old Noreen Maclean said.

Margaret Popenhagen, who said she was “90 and a half”, explained the secret of their longevity.

“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

“Why stand up when you can sit down, and why sit down when you can lie down?” Mrs Popenhagen quipped.

Althea Bristow said they had played together for more than 30 years.

“We would look forward to it every Tuesday,” she said.

All agreed Mrs Maclean was the best golfer.

“I played golf for Central Otago,” she said.

“From the time I started playing golf down south, I think I would have more than 60 years [playing].”

Committee member Sue Endicott-Davies said they were doing a count-up the other day and Mrs Maclean had her name on the senior trophy more than anyone.

“She was club champion at Alexandra so many times we have lost count,” Mrs Endicott-Davies said.

“Noreen is our inspiration.”

Mrs Maclean also shot four holes-in-one.

Margaret Popenhagen scored two and Althea Bristow said she almost got an ace only to be robbed by a golf ball with a mind of its own.

“The ball went in the hole and popped out again!” she said, laughing.

“It’s not about gossip, it’s about about friendship and challenge,” Mrs Maclean said.

“I tell you what, I was never hungry after playing a round of golf, but after playing a tournament at bridge, you are starving!” Mrs Maclean said.

“The wonderful thing about playing golf is that I have met all these people,” Mrs Nelson said.

“Look at all these friends we’ve got.”

Mrs Endicott-Davies, who organised the gathering, said the group were mentors for younger members of the club.

“These girls are what golf is all about,” she said.

The friends had only been back to the club once or twice since they gave it up, so they all enjoyed a buggy trip round the course, before stopping in the clubrooms for morning tea.