93-year-old ends golfing career in style, records first hole-in-one after playing for 65 years
The 93-year-old, who has hip bursitis, used his 5-wood to make a hole-in-one on the third hole last month at Green Valley.
Ben Bender's final round on the golf course was nothing short of a remarkable confluence of faith and his love for the game.
Using his 5-wood at Green Valley, the 93-year-old who suffers from hip bursitis made a hole-in-one last month on the third hole.
Bender only played a few more holes before walking back to the clubhouse and telling Steve Galloway, the Green Valley manager, that he was finally done.
The 93-year-old Ohioan had made his first ace in seven decades of playing golf at Green Valley (Ohio) Golf Club, according to the Zanesville Times Recorder. Bender's final shot was witnessed by Hearl Cubbison.
"I'd come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in," Bender said. "I was in awe watching it.
I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop. It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-in-one."
Bender knew his playing days were numbered because of declining health and hence announced his retirement from the game shortly after.
Galloway said that Bender, who hails from Zanesville, shot at least a 7 on the other five holes he played and everyone thought that the round wasn't going to end well. However, it took one shot to turn the table, and oh, what a shot it was!
"(Ben) shot 8 on 1 and 7 on 2 so you guessed it, a hole-in-one on 3," he said. "What an amazing feat by Ben (in his final round)."
The 93-year-old has been playing golf since he was just 28. According to Bender, his first round was with some co-workers who used to play Jaycees and casually asked him to join their game. That very moment, Ben bought Wilson clubs and a bag for $50 form the manager of a shoeshine shop and took to the game.
Bender worked as a moldmaker for Hazel Atlas and sold insurance for MetLife. Living in Florida, he played six days a week and got as low as a 3 handicap. Bender admitted his game has struggled as of late, but that made his feat that much sweeter.
He moved back to Zanesville upon retirement and regularly played the Green Valley stretch.
"The second hole I ever played, I hit my drive towards a fence," Bender recalled. "When I got there, I was ready to put my ball on a tee when another guy said you can't do that. You can only tee it up when you drive it. I hit that ball and hopped out of the grass like a rabbit.
"That's how I learned to play the game," he added. "We talked to each other and worked together. I enjoyed the game until the end."
Bender says that golf has given him more than he could ever ask for. His latest feat was the last feather to his cap and a rather fitting end to an illustrious career of passion.
"I was lucky to play golf this long, but I never expected a hole-in-one," he said. "It was the last time I was able to play, and I think God had a hand in this. I loved the game and hate to give it up, but I can't play forever."
The University of Edinburgh conducted a research on the health benefits that come from playing golf. They concluded that spending time on the green trail can significantly increase your life expectancy.
“Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages,” Dr. Andrew Murray, a lead researcher in the study, told CNN.
“One study in Sweden found regular golfers lived an average of five years longer than non-golfers."
“We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy,"
“It can also help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast, and colon cancer.”
Ben Bender is proof that one should never lose faith, especially to those cursed players who have never been able to secure a hole-in-one.
If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again.