Golfer John aims for swinging 60 as a single-figure handicapper in Penwortham

Age is no handicap for golfer John Wilson.

By Brian Ellis
Thursday, 5th December 2019, 6:00 am
John Wilson (left) is congratulated by club captain Henry Hesketh
John Wilson (left) is congratulated by club captain Henry Hesketh

The former bank manager is a member of an elite club after playing off single figures for more than half a century.

John, 73 in February, has had a handicap of less than 10 since he was a teenager in 1963.

And to mark that remarkable 56-year achievement, members at Penwortham Golf Club, where he is President, made a special presentation recently to the man they call “a legend.”

John was awarded a special certificate from the English Golf Union to celebrate his rare record and reward him for 68 years of loyal service to his local club.

“I was shocked - I didn’t expect it,” admitted John, who played off three at his peak and has no fewer than 11 holes-in-one to his name - all of them at Penwortham.

“I’ve been lucky to be able to play regularly enough over the years to keep my handicap down. And for that I’ve got to say a big ‘thank you’ to my wife Jan who has been very patient and understanding.”

John, a left-hander who plays right-handed, still plays off eight and has set his sights on reaching 60 years in single figures.

He started playing at Penwortham with his mother and father who were both keen golfers. His dad played off five, as did his sister and his son Stephen.

“I suppose it must be something in our genes,” said John. “It’s a pity Jan doesn’t play, but she is still very much a part of the club on the social side.

"I started swinging a club as a child and, in my first competition as a 16-year-old, I had a 59 net, so the club cut my handicap from 16 to nine.

"I was still playing off four when I was 60, but I’ve drifted a bit since then.

“I just can’t hit the ball far enough these days. But I’ve no plans to hang up my clubs, I’m still loving it as much as ever.”


John’s love of golf began as a five-year-old when he ‘whacked balls around’ with cut-down hickory shaft clubs’ at Penwortham while his parents played the game.

He officially became a single-figure handicapper at the age of 16 and has played off less than 10 ever since, reaching a low of three at his peak. He was still playing off four at the age of 60. and is currently on eight.

His 11 holes-in-one have all come at Penwortham - he has ‘aced’ all five of the club’s par-three holes at least once.

He was elected Millennium Captain in 2000 and has held the position of chairman for several years and also a director of the club.