It’s time that Shooting Your Age did a story on, well, shooting your age.
HOW SHOOTING YOUR AGE GOT IT’S NAME
I wonder how many of you have actually, really, legitimately, truly shot your age? Eighteen holes. Every shot counts? How many have been with someone who has? Or even know someone who has?
Shooting your age is up there with the Hole-in-One club. The membership requirements are pretty stiff.
When I first started this website and newsletter, I did some brainstorming with my wife regarding an appropriate name. The market was designed to be, and will always be, the baby boomer and senior golfer. Finding a name that resonated with that age group, and provided the immediate message to anyone who saw it, was a critical first decision.
After batting around a few (Persimmon Woods, While We’re Young, and others) we settled on Shooting Your Age. After all, to realistically shoot your age, you’re going to be in your sixties. And yes, I know, many of you have done it for 9 holes. Me too. I’ve actually made it all the way to the 15th hole a few times! But to do it for all 18 holes is impressive.
Doing it 75 times is even more impressive.
One of the regular readers of Shooting Your Age is 80-year old Dave “Iron Byron” Wells from Memphis. A member at TPC Southwind, Dave has lived a pretty remarkable golfing life; in fact, we will have further Dave Wells adventures in upcoming newsletters. He played in the 1990 Pebble-Beach Pro-Am by virtue of winning the Corporate Executive Open (and has the Deane Beman signed certificate to prove it).
He has some game.
Dave reached out to me because of the newsletter title and mentioned that he had shot his age on numerous occasions. When I wrote back and asked how many, he said, “Around 70.”
The divergent basics involved with shooting your age are what make it rare and newsworthy. It’s also what makes everyone wonder about the possibility as they get older. After all, the older we get, the more shots we have to play with, right?
“I can shoot in the low 80s now, so maybe from the forward tees, I could get down to the high 70’s,” we think. We hope. That assumes we are as accomplished then as we are now. And that we won’t lose flexibility, stamina, strength, hand-eye coordination, and all those other pesky details that seem to settle into the fiber of a…well, someone who is older than I am.
Dave Wells hasn’t had that problem. One of his emails to me says, “As you get older, shooting your age becomes your daily goal on the golf course. Along with breaking par, of course.”
For you maybe, Dave. My daily goal is to not hurt myself, lose all my golf balls, or blade more than two chip shots. Some goals are more reachable than others.
We have emailed each other several times in the past few weeks and have spoken on the phone as well. I asked if he’d be willing to let me write an article and he graciously agreed.
THE FIRST TIME
SHOOTING YOUR AGE: LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING. TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST TIME YOU SHOT YOUR AGE.
DW: It all started for me one spring day, April 21, 2010, at Germantown CC in Germantown, TN. I was 72 when I recorded my very first ‘Shot My Age’ of 72 using a Titleist ProV1X 332 golf ball with the name John Daly insignia on it playing from the Stallion Tees which measure 6,587 yards. I have that ball in my desk drawer.
SYA: WERE THERE ANY NERVES? WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT IT? I KNOW I WOULD HAVE BEEN
DW: I remember the end of the round. I birdied the 15th hole with a long putt to go 3 under par on this Par 72 course, and my brain took over as I started thinking “a 69…I was under my age for my first ‘Shoot My Age’”. I then bogeyed 16, 17 ,and 18…two 3 putts involved, and that was my first ‘Shoot My Age’ round. So you could say I was happy and sad….too many nerves.
SYA: SO YOU WERE 72 THE FIRST TIME. WERE THERE TIMES BEFORE THAT YOU GOT CLOSE BUT DIDN’T QUITE MAKE IT?
DW: I can remember a 69 I shot when I was 68, and there were others. I would guess I missed it by one or two shots 20 or 30 times before it finally occurred in 2010. Once I did it, I had 4 other rounds in 2010 of 72 or better.
SYA: IS IT HAPPENING MORE OR LESS OFTEN AS YOU GET OLDER?
DW: More often for now. I shot my age 27 times in 2017, which was a 79 or better. That’s up from 18 in 2016 and it’s gone up about every year. I guess you could say it pays to get old!
Dave sent me a breakdown of his rounds:
Year #Times Shot Age Dave’s Age
2010 5 72
2011 0 73
2012 1 74
2013 2 75
2014 6 76
2015 16 77
2016 18 78
2017 27 79
MOST MEANINGFUL AND MOST RECENT
SYA: IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ONE THAT MEANS THE MOST?
DW: In March of 2012 I had heart by-pass surgery, but I did come back in August and had my only “shot my age” round at age 74. I had to make a 6-footer for par on number 18 for the first one in two years. Because of the heart surgery and not having done it for so long, that was probably the most exciting round of my golfing life. I kept that scorecard and had my playing companions sign it because it was so meaningful.
SYA: I ASKED YOU ABOUT THE FIRST ONE- WHEN WAS THE MOST RECENT ONE?
DW: The total is up to 75 currently, and I’ve done it in 5 states: Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina, My most recent was on December 3rd from the Club (Senior Tees) at TPC Southwind. [SYA NOTE- speaking of “Senior Tees” read the recent SYA article When to move to the “Senior” tees]
SYA: ANY THOUGHTS OR TIPS FOR THE READER OUT THERE WHO THINKS YOU SHOULD LEAVE SOME OF THESE “SHOOTING YOUR AGE” ROUNDS OUT ON THE COURSE FOR THE REST OF US?
DW: It really keeps you going with a pre-set goal which changes every year. I just turned 80 so get another stroke to play with. As I have said many times, it really comes down to your chipping and putting [SYA NOTE- duh…].
As you get older, just take those 200 yard tee shots and go from there.
SYA: THIS IS PRETTY FASCINATING! ANY OTHER STORIES?
DW: One round I remember was a 75 in the spring of 2013, a week before the U.S. Open qualifying at Germantown Country Club. I was a starter on the Number 10 tee, and Marco Dawson (now on the PGA Tour Champions) heard about my round and made a point to seek me out and congratulate me.
Another one: My son, who lives in Connecticut met David Feherty last year and told him his dad had shot his age many times. Feherty was very kind to sign a birthday card which my son sent to me and is now in my tournament room at home.
Shooting Your Age can be summed up in three words: Health. Talent. Fun.
SYA: A FINAL QUESTION: WHERE DID “IRON BYRON” COME FROM?
DW: I worked for Schering-Plough, and met NBA Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving back in the 1980’s when he became a spokesman for one of Schering-Plough’s product brands. You might remember, ‘Dr. J Prescribes Dr. Scholl Foot Products’, a very creative ad…..little did I know that it was going to lead to a lasting friendship with golf being the introducer.
We played a lot of golf together- sometimes the first ones on the course, sometimes the last ones, just depending on our flight schedules. Julius was the one who gave me the nickname in the late 80s as we stood on the 18th Tee at TPC Stadium Course in Scottsdale, Az. After I hit my tee shot, he said, “You hit your tee shots like that ‘Iron Byron’ golfing machine, always down the middle,” so he complimented me with the nickname ‘Iron Byron’ which is still in existence in my golfing world.
Shooting Your Age will talk further with Dave, “Iron Byron” Wells in a few weeks as he reminisces about playing in the 1990 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Until next week, thanks for reading and Enjoy Shooting Your Age!