21 Mar 2024 | Participation |

A golf passion reignited

by Martin Blake

Doug Lloyd image
Doug Lloyd on his favourite simulator course this week. Photo: Paul Shire

Doug Lloyd enjoys indoor golf like so many people in the modern sporting world. But there’s a difference between Doug and the growing band of devotees of the simulators … he is 93 years old.

He is a member of The Golf Institute, the indoor facility run at the Geelong suburb of Grovedale in Victoria by PGA Professional Brad Lamb and his wife Justine, and he loves every minute of his weekly visits alongside his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

The story of Doug Lloyd’s return to golf after an absence of five years is instructive of how golf is a game for life and also, the notion that golf is for everyone.

Lloyd, a retired Minister of religion, first played golf around 25.

“I had some difficulties with my heart racing, so I gave up football and cricket,” he said.

“I never got better than 18 (handicap, and it was frustrating. I was much better at cricket and football. But I’m still playing golf.”

Around five years ago, when he and his wife Pat moved into a retirement village in Geelong, his golf went by the wayside and his regular games at Barwon Valley public course and the Balyang par-3 course in Geelong ceased.

Then last year he read in the local newspaper about the opening of The Golf Institute, which is modern-age and cutting edge with its Trackman technology.

“I couldn’t fit it golf for a while and then this came up,” said Lloyd. “And it’s almost next door! I bought a club or two extra – I’d got rid of most of my clubs – and started playing.

“It’s fabulous. The point is it’s so suitable for a person of my age and abilities to have the energy and strength to play.”

Brad Lamb acknowledges that simulators skew to a younger crowd, but adds that it does not need to be the case. “We’ve got another 90-year-old who comes down,” said Lamb. “He’s a member at Barwon Heads, and he comes to practise. He can walk 18 holes, but Doug can’t. His family thought it was a good idea, and he really loves it.”

Doug Lloyd is in his element. “I could play 18 holes (on-course), but I’ve got so many other things I’m busy with,” he said. “I have a lot of interests. I deliberately cut down on the game. That (simulator golf) is perfect for me. Plus, I can go anytime. That’s marvellous too.

“I just feel the better for it.”

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