Young-at-heart duffers take to the links

Published 4:42 pm Monday, August 11, 2008

The young at heart have the opportunity to showcase their skills at Valley Grande Golf Course.

The golfing portion of the District IV Masters Games of Alabama, a series of competitions for male and female Alabama residents, 55 and older, takes place Aug. 18-19. The event usually brings in 40 to 60 participants, but has had as many as 80.

“Golf is a lifetime sport,” said Elton Reece, director of Selma Parks and Recreation and event coordinator.

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Registration is at 7:30 a.m. both days. Each day carries a $35 fee, which covers golf, breakfast and a noon meal.

Monday’s activities include a pitch-and-putt contest at 8 a.m., followed by the first tournament at 9 a.m. The event concludes Tuesday with a two-man scramble tournament at 8 a.m.

The top three finishers from each age group advance to the state tournament at Blackberry Trail Golf Course in Florence on Oct. 6-7.

Host sites rotate annually, but Valley Grande will serve as host for the second consecutive year.

“It’s a great course,” said Reece. “The hospitality is better here than some other cities.”

Prattville plays host to the other Masters Games activities, which include rook, bowling, tennis and shuffleboard.

The Alabama Aging Consortium began the games to offer activities to aging centers. Selma held the games’ first district and state tournaments at Craig Golf Course in 1995.

Make no mistake; the participants’ age bracket does not diminish the competition.

“It is unreal. It’s competitive,” said Reece. “These people are ex-athletes and competitive, or they wouldn’t be playing.

The participants are also a testament to longevity and good living,

“It’s really a joy to see people at this age get out there and play,” said Reece. “The competitive side comes through.”