By Kyle Roberts
Play golf with longtime Ruston resident Mike Walpole, and you can only assume that he’s been a scratch golfer for his entire life.
And after his third place finish in the Super Senior Division at the Louisiana Golf Association Amateur at Tamahka Trails in Marksville, La., where he shot 73 on Thursday, April 27, and 75 on Friday, April 28, his commitment to the game clearly shows.
“I’ve played in this league for the last three years,” Walpole said. “It’s the best golfers basically in your age range across the state; it’s a good way to gauge where you are in relation to other golfers in the state.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s a tight course; you can’t spray the ball off the tee. Thankfully, I drove the ball well, and I was able to turn my drive both ways when I needed to.”
Hearing that and seeing his scores, again you’d assume that he’s had decades to perfect his game. Turns out, the 67-year-old only ten years ago decided to really start taking the game seriously.
“I started golf as a youngster, but I did not get serious about it until I was 57,” Walpole said. “Until then, I had only broken 80 three or four times.”
It was then that he started working on flexibility and more weights in order to improve. A couple of years later, Walpole took some lessons and started to really improve his score at his home course at Squire Creek. He credits the practice facilities and the staff at the course for helping his begin his journey from an 8-handicap to a .5.
Walpole’s trip to Marksville started on Wednesday, April 25, for a qualifying round and then the tournament on Thursday and Friday, April 26-27. Walpole’s age put him in the super-senior category of players 65 years and older.
And no gimmes or improving your lie: standard tournament rules applied, meaning the ball had to be in the cup on every hole.
Walpole certainly had a chance to win the tournament and acknowledged that a few three-putts on the final day of the tournament was what kept from finishing higher.
“You’d like to think you don’t have any three-putts,” Walpole said of the last day of competition.“
Already well-known for his successful architecture business, Mike loves spending time with his family, his grandkids, and when he can, the golf course as well,
And by playing the best golf of his life now, it means there is hope for some us of yet.
Walpole laughed at that in agreement. “Yes. It’s hope for everybody.”