Last year we were fortunate enough to run into Dave “Iron Byron” Wells of Memphis, who had shot his age of 80 an incredible 75 times.
Now, he is a year older and therefore gets an extra stroke. Not that he needs it.
I was confident it was only a matter of time before he hit the century mark. I had asked him to keep me up-to-date on his progress, and on May 2nd at TPC Southwind, Dave’s home course, he carded a neat 77 to reach the magic figure. That landmark event was worth another story, and I talked with Dave last week to get the details on his historic round.
SYA: So, tell me about doing it for the hundredth time. Was there any pressure?
DW: Not really. I was playing well and had shot a 39 on the front nine, and since I’m now 81, I knew I could shoot 42 on the back and still do it. I birdied #11, and after parring 12, I knew I could bogey in and still make it, and I knew I could do that, so there wasn’t any real pressure the rest of the way.
SYA: Tell me about the round. Who did you play with, which tees, etc.
DW: There are a few of us seniors that play there pretty often. I played with a regular group: Bob Schubert was my partner, and we played Richard Lusk and Robert Smith. We play from the forward, senior tees, since none of us are as long as we used to be. I chart about every round of golf I play, and I hit 12 of 14 fairways and had 29 putts. [I had learned from talking with Dave in the past that he received his nickname of Iron Byron from NBA Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving, after playing with Dave and watching him hit fairway after fairway. Dave has said many times his strength is his driver and ability to put about every ball in the fairway. Obviously, this was the case during his special round as well].
I’ve discovered leaving the pin in while putting is a big advantage especially on longer putts. I can just see the hole better with the flagstick in. I had three birdies, all of which were in the 10-15 foot range, all with the pin left in.
SYA: So, anything else you want to share?
DW: It has been almost one year to the day since I had my 80th round when I was 80 years old. So, I had twenty rounds of my age or better in the last year. I have the opportunity to spend winters in Arizona, so getting to play all winter really helps once I come back to Memphis, as I don’t have any winter rust. Something that was unique to me for this round is that I have almost always used a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1X, but for this round I used a Srixon Z-Star.
I live just off the first tee, so after lunch with the guys I was walking back home, and Larry Antinozzi, the head pro, came out and yelled at me to hold up. He ran up and handed me a bottle of wine and said, compliments of the club for the occasion, which I thought was awfully nice of him.
SYA: Any last thoughts?
DW: Well, just this past week, I did it for the 101st time, so there is a new count to keep up with!
CONGRATULATIONS Dave on the historic benchmark!
Thanks for reading and Enjoy Shooting Your Age!