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Patsy hailed as ‘a true inspiration’ after gaining golf handicap at age of 81

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Reay golfer Patsy Mackay is looking forward to competing on a regular basis.
Reay golfer Patsy Mackay is looking forward to competing on a regular basis.

Patsy Mackay from Reay is demonstrating that age need not be a barrier to fulfilling personal goals after getting her golf handicap at 81.

Better still, Patsy’s new handicap of 49 comes five shots lower than the maximum allowance – “a truly wonderful achievement”, according to Reay club captain Carol Paterson.

“It has taken Patsy 10 years of playing for fun to grow her confidence level to play 18 holes,” Carol said. “It’s brilliant that Patsy felt it was time to try and achieve this milestone.”

Patsy first got involved at the club when she dropped off her grandchildren for junior golf on a Friday evening.

Her interest grew and she decided, as she lived close to the golf course, that she would take out a winter membership and give it a go.

Carol explained: “With her one club and plastic bag of golf balls, she would venture on to the course when no-one was around and play the 17th and 18th holes. If it was really quiet, she would repeat these holes before nipping back home.

“During Covid-19, she bumped into some female members who tried to encourage her to join them. Patsy really wasn’t confident enough to do this.

“When we introduced our Come and Try sessions, Patsy decided to take a chance and go along as they were for beginners.

“This opportunity put Patsy in touch with others of her own ability. She took out a yearly membership and has never looked back.”

Patsy started by playing three holes of golf twice a week. As the months went by, she was advised that she was capable of increasing the number of holes to six.

Over time she began competing with the other non-handicappers over nine holes most Thursdays and Saturdays.

In the last couple of months Patsy decided it was time to join in with the ladies’ competitions but knew this would only be possible if she got her handicap. Acquiring this would allow her to compete on a regular basis, joining in the weekly draw for all the club competitions.

She has now played in a couple of club competitions.

“Patsy’s achievement is amazing,” Carol said. “All the ladies at the club are in awe of her – she is a true inspiration.

“Walking three to four miles around the golf course twice a week isn’t easy for anyone, never mind for someone in their eighties.

“Patsy just gets on with it and never complains. When the call goes out each week for names for the competitions, Patsy is always first to reply.

“She’s no fair-weather golfer – the conditions never put her off. It just goes to prove that you’re never too old to pick up a new sport. The members at the club adore her.

“Let’s hope this gives motivation to those that want to try something new but feel it’s too late. It is still possible to participate regardless of your ability or age.

“Patsy is an inspirational golfer with many years of competition ahead of her and we are so proud of her journey.”

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