Breaking your age is one of club golf’s most revered achievements.
Which pretty much makes Ron Dixon a living legend having just achieved the feat for the 104th time.
Dixon, a long-standing member at Wauchope Country Club in northern New South Wales, has attracted a fair bit of publicity in recent times with stories in the Wauchope Gazette and Inside Golf.
But, like his golfing achievements, the 93-year-old is taking it all in his stride.
“It’s good fun – but I don’t get too carried away with it all,” said the man known to all in the region simply as “Dicko”.
“Some of the boys have given me a bit of cheek about it all, but others come up to me and congratulate me – I think it’s terrific.”
Recent heavy rain has curtailed the use of carts at WCC, so Dixon was happy to talk golf on an unexpected day off from his beloved veterans’ golf competition.
“You’ve just caught me before I do the vacuuming, so it’s pretty good timing,” Dixon joked.
In fact there was a hint of tongue-in-cheek relief about a day off after he and his wife Marjorie celebrated her 94th birthday last week.
“I keep telling her she’s a cradle snatcher,” Dixon, not 94 until July, joked of his wife of 69 years.
“She tried to push me out the door to play this morning, but I can’t play without the cart any more.”
Dixon didn’t take up competitive golf until his other sporting passions waned slightly in the early 1960s.
But he didn’t “get serious” about it until he retired to Wauchope in 1981 and joined with a handicap of 27 at age 59.
“I didn’t like that (mark) much and we had a bit of space at home – about half an acre – so I went out and practised and got a bit better,” he said with great understatement.
“I loved it and kept working on it and things just went from there, really.”
Dixon first “broke his age” on his 75th birthday when he shot a 74. By his late 70s, his handicap had dipped into single figures and remained in the 10-14 bracket until a few health issues brought him back to the pack a little.
Dixon’s playing companions reckon he had a dynamite short game until macular degeneration began to take its toll a decade ago; now he uses yellow balls, white insulation tape on the clubs and “the help of my mates” to get around as best he can visually.
“It’s one of the things I love about it – playing with everyone. It’s the companionship you get down at the club that’s the most important thing, I reckon.
“They still give me a hard time, but I can get pretty cheeky back with them. It’s all good fun.”
And who’s to say how long that fun will go on.
“As long as I keep enjoying it and I can get out there, I’ll keep going,” he said.
“Marjie says it’s a wonder my body’s still going after all the things I’ve done to it over the years, so hopefully it keeps ticking along for a while yet.”