Stockbridge resident Bill Morgan recently shot a 74 on the golf course, which happens to be his age.
Talk about aging gracefully.
Stockbridge golfer Bill Morgan has been frequenting area golf courses since 1997, the year after he retired. Some friends talked him into buying a “cheap set of clubs” and he began playing, compiling results similar to those of most novices.
“I started like everybody else,” Morgan said. “with very high scores.”
As of Wednesday, at Hampton’s Crystal Lake Golf Course, however, that has changed.
Morgan did what few golfers — less than one percent according to PGA Master Professional and instructor Charlie Sorrell — have ever been able to accomplish.
He shot a golf score — 74 — that was commensurate with his age.
“That’s been one of my goals,” Morgan said. “To shoot my age. It’s been pretty rare, and I was afraid when I got to 75 I wouldn’t be able to do.”
Sorrell, a former PGA Tour pro in the mid 1970s and Morgan’s personal instructor for the last five years, was the first person Morgan contacted about his feat.
“I called him and told him and he said he wanted to see the card,” Morgan said. “He told me to hang onto that card because that was rare.”
Since beginning his professional career 46 years ago, Sorrell said he has seen a lot of things and had many experiences on the course, but he said what Morgan did was special because it spoke to the type of focus and determination he brought to the game.
“If all of my students were half as interested as Mr. Morgan, it be a great game for those players,” he said. “Golf is a cruel, tough game. You’ve got to have patience. You’ve got to know that you’ll have ups and downs. All the years I’ve had opportunity to play, you think you’ve got it mastered and the game turns around and slaps you in the face.”
Morgan has been feasting from Sorrell’s expertise for the last five years. And he attributes this milestone to his teacher’s tutelage.
“That’s the best score I’ve ever shot,” Morgan said. “Really I owe it to Mr. Sorrell. Charlie has helped me so much with my game. When I started with him, I had already been playing golf. Really I thought I was playing. He started me from scratch.”
Morgan said he was one under on the back nine and he shot a 39 and a 35. He then knew he had done something special.
But for Morgan, his love for the game is not about competition as much as it is his own improvement.
“I always tell my friends, I’m not out there to beat them or anything like that. But I just want to play the best I can play,” Morgan said. “If I can shoot a 35 once a month, I’ll be happy.”
Sorrell said Morgan’s triumph serves as motivation for him.
“I’m 72,” Sorrell said, “and I’m hoping that I can shoot my age as well. I have some good opportunities to do it.”
And even with this achievement under his belt, Morgan said he won’t be looking to hang up his clubs and rest on his laurels any time soon.
“As long as I can swing the club, I’ll be trying to get better,” he said.