If anyone is left in doubt that golf is a game for all ages, then the remarkable Rosemary Reed, 87, has surely ended the debate once and for all by winning the Central England Mixed Foursomes trophy – 65 years on having played for the first time in the prestigious competition.
The former music teacher made her debut at the Woodhall Spa event in 1957, eventually winning it four years later. And more than half a century later, Reed teamed up with Australian Steve Toyne to go through seven match rounds in four days of sometimes grueling weather to lift the title for the fourth time.
Along the way, the evergreen pair picked up wins 5 & 4 and 7 & 5 before keeping their composure in Sunday’s final to prevail on 18 against husband and wife team Chris and Jo Dyson, to whom they conceded over 60 years of combined age.
Toyne, 64, is zero but the duo averaged five in each round of the 70-year-old tournament at the famous Lincolnshire course, an astonishing number for an octogenarian in the alternating shots format.
Reed, who adamantly refuses to use a buggy, could not be contacted by Telegraph Sport on Monday as she returned to the course to play a club game – her eighth round in five days. But her son Tim has explained how she makes sure her game and fitness stays so sharp.
“Mom played golf for almost 80 years, striving to win county championships in five different decades,” he said.
“Today she plays five times a week, and sometimes more. She still plays with an 18 handicap and can play there, hitting it 170 yards from the tee and being deadly around the green.
“She shot Gross twice her age around the Hotchkin course [in Woodhall Spa] which is a feat in itself. She says she will never use a buggy to get around and attributes her longevity to a “clean life”.
“If you had asked her what her expectations were for this event, she would have said ‘just to have a good week’. That certainly wouldn’t have been the case, however, as she is still very competitive.”
Stephen Vincent played alongside his wife Tracy against Reed in the quarter-finals of an event won in the past by the likes of five-time European Tour winner Guy Wolstenholme and was stunned to be sent off 7&5.
“We knew Rose and Steve were going to be tough when we learned they rode through bad weather on Friday to knock out Rose’s daughter in the second round,” he said.
“But we were always amazed by Rose who nailed drive after drive down the middle before entering on the 11th and then smashing it on the 13th to win the game.
“It was really very inspiring and humbling and we came away smiling but shaking our heads in amazement. We just hope we swing our clubs at something like Rose’s age. And to be as fit and well playing, which represents good players half her age? In bad weather, she was walking 10 miles a day on a wet track. Rosemary is phenomenal and represents everything good about golf.”