Centenarian owes golf a debt of gratitude

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He shoots his age: For most golfers, that’s a tall order. For 100-year-old Reynolds Tomter—no problem.

At 100 years old, Reynolds Tomter of Pigeon Falls attributes luck, attitude and civic-mindedness to his good health.

A touch of golf doesn’t hurt either.

“I owe this golf course a big [thanks],” Reynolds said, gazing out at the rolling greens and trees from his perch on Whitehall Public Golf Course’s outdoor porch. “It’s been a big thing in my life to come here, meet my friends and have a good time.”


Reynolds taught himself how to golf on that course in the ’50s, and decades later he still counts himself a regular.

He keeps at the sport for the physical benefits and the people.

“It’s fellowship,” Reynolds said as he walked along the course, his white cap reflecting the midmorning sun. “That’s what it’s about—being with somebody.”

On the course
Reynolds first swung a golf club after a request to go golfing from his then-teenage son. He was soon hooked on the sport, he said, and picked up a set of regular golfing friends. The members of Reynolds’ original golfing entourage are gone now, he said, but he currently plays with another group with members ranging from 80 to 100 years old.

Throughout his years playing on the Whitehall course, Reynolds fondly remembers the time he and a four-person team competed in a tournament that included a new sports car as the prize. His cousin shot a hole-in-one on one of the greens and won the car.

Yet, golfing isn’t about the tournaments, he said.

“Of course you’re going to try and do better,” Reynolds said, “but in the meantime, we’re busy talking, visiting and enjoying ourselves. We’re not so serious that it’s all about golfing.”

Since turning 100, Reynolds said he’s shot a score of 98 for 18 holes on the golf course. He’s “very happy” to shoot below 100 and usually hovers around that number.

Reynolds’ presence at the Whitehall course hasn’t gone unnoticed.

To signal their appreciation for turning 100, course officials gifted him a membership to the course for the year. The cost of a yearly membership is $330.

“It’s an inspiration to see someone who is 100 years old still going strong and golfing regularly,” general manger Jamie Syron said. “He’s an inspiration to golfers in general. No matter how old you get, golf is a sport you can always play.”

When asked how many 100-year-olds frequent the Whitehall course, Syron said with a smile, “He’s the only one I know.”

The people
Since reaching 100, Reynolds had had some rotator cuff problems. He’s taking a rest from golf to let the pain heal. Still, the self-professed people person keeps his days busy, full of friends and family.

“I’m not at home much,” Reynolds said. “I have to be around where the people are.”

Reynolds treks to a local bar and grill for breakfast with anywhere from 12 to 20 people “seven days a week, in all seasons,” he said. There, they spend the morning telling stories and reminiscing.

When snow limits Reynolds’ ability to get to the restaurant, someone from the group drives to his house and picks him up.

“But that’s a small community, you know,” he said. “We care for each other, and we know each other so well.”

On Sundays, Reynolds and cousin Harold Tomter of Whitehall enjoy live entertainment at a tiki bar up Highway 121 in York. The pair also enjoy hopping in the car and driving through the countryside with no particular destination in mind.

“We take all the back roads that we can find, even if they’re hardly drivable,” Reynolds said, chuckling. “We’re always exploring. We can be completely lost, and as long as we have plenty of gas, that’s the most important part.”

“He’s always light-hearted,” Harold, 93, said. “We enjoy sightseeing and the countryside. We just amble along slowly and take in the scenery.”

‘Get involved’
When asked what advice he would give to others, Reynolds advised to keep a positive attitude and be active in civic affairs, noting the personal and community benefits from his involvement in the area’s Lions Club and other organizations.

“Wherever you are,” he said, “get involved with your community happenings. You have to help your city grow.”

TNS

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