ST. GEORGE — It’s an intricate set of variables that all have to align for a golfer to “shoot their age” in a round of golf.
To score their age, a golfer first needs to be old enough to play to an attainable score, while maintaining their health and golf ability to still perform. All of that precludes the simple playing to your ability on a given day. It’s a rare feat with tough odds.
But local golfer Bill Griffiths beat those odds on Oct. 29 at Green Spring Golf Course in Washington City, finishing up the round with a score of 73. While the feat is rare, it’s been a long time coming in the eyes of Griffith’s sons.
“They’ve been telling me for years that they think I’m going to shoot my age,” Griffiths said. “I’ve had reservations because I’m getting older, and it wasn’t something that was really on my radar, but it’s been on their radars. Every time I talk to them they say, ‘Well, did you shoot your age?’ and I say, ‘No, no.’”
In 2014, ORMS estimated that the best odds for a golfer to shoot their age in their lifetime was about .26% if the golfer averaged a score of 80 at age 66. With the odds stacked against him, Griffiths managed to join the exclusive club.
All it took was probably the best game of golf Griffiths had ever played. He bested his previous best score of 74, which he shot twice. He was under par through the first half and shot 35 on the back end, with the help of 15 out of 18 greens.
Griffiths said it also came on the heels of some of his worst golfing, after scoring 101 three weeks prior, what he called possibly his highest score in 55 years. He retooled his swing at a driving range and made instant improvements.
But he also needed — and got — a little luck in his historic game.
“My first hole indicated that something special was going to happen,” Griffiths said.
On his first shot of the day, Griffiths hit a strong drive, leaving a wedge to a false front. But he fell victim to the false front on his next shot, with the ball rolling back to the fairway. He skulled the next shot into the rough. Working backward, he skulled the shot again, and as the ball rolled back toward the fairway, it caught the flagstick and fell in for par.
After being on his way to starting his day with a +3, he got a clean slate. It was smooth sailing from there.
“I can only think of about four shots that I didn’t hit really well, with two of the shots being on the first hole,” Griffiths said.
It all led to a significant achievement that the Griffiths family, now in its fifth generation of golfers with Bill’s grandchildren, had not seen before. Bill’s grandfather had played on a prosthetic leg, one of his Bill’s sons has toured professionally and even Bill himself has a hole-in-one, which he scored on a course in Ireland in 1999. But none of Bill’s predecessors achieved the feat, which he did on his son-in-law Paul Jaussi’s birthday.
“I think if you ask 100 golfers the concept of shooting their age, I don’t know how many would even be aware that that is kind of a lifetime achievement you could do,” Griffiths said.
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