96-year-old female golfer has a mean swing
EVERY morning before school a seven-year-old girl practises her swing at Maroochy River Golf Course.
It's the kind of sight that keeps Mary Haddon, 96, passionate about her favourite sport and proud of her club's annual Lady Members Day, which she sponsors.
The oldest female life member of the club, Mrs Haddon has been playing golf for 56 years, and still enjoys a full 18 holes.
She picked up golfing while living in Sydney in her 30s, after a career in competition tennis.
"I...mentioned to my husband one day that sometime I think I would like to play golf," she said.
"The next day he came home with a set of golf clubs for me. That's what he was like."
At 43 she swapped the racket for a set of clubs, which were kinder on her body, and after moving to the Coast in 1982 was actively involved in the former Horton Park Golf Club.
She said there was no secret to a long career as a golfer, but said she believed her good health stemmed from a happy life and loving marriage.
"I'm just a very lucky lady," she said.
"I have very good genes obviously. I don't feel 96 - no way in the world do I feel 96.
"I'm just very fortunate person health-wise."
Mrs Haddon has won hundreds of sporting trophies in her lifetime, but was looking forward to crowning another woman as winner of this year's Lady Members Day, she said.
"I think the women deserve a lady members cup," she said.
"There are some very good players there and they're all really happy to win it, there's much excitement when the winners are announced and I get a great pleasure out of that."
Her club has a number of women in their 80s and 90s, and a strong junior contingent including the young girl Mrs Haddon has spotted at the course every morning.
"She's knee high to a grasshopper and she's there practising every single day, and then she goes off to school," she said. "That's the time to start."
It's never too late to start playing golf, Mrs Haddon said. She urged women considering the sport not to sit on the fence.
"Do it, for goodness sake. Do it," she said. "It's something you can play till you're really old as I've proved."
Maroochy River Golf Club female members will don badges commemorating their wins in any sport for the Lady Members Day on Tuesday, May 9.