Friday, August 14, 2015

Golf Gypsy: the Secret to Staying Young

Lois Cowles' 80th birthday w/ Carol. 
To this day, I can hear Lois's light pitched voice, her giggle, and stories of life. She was the consummate teacher. Lois knew about life, love, lose, and the Secret to Staying Young.

Lois Cowles, who raised three curious energetic and productive daughters from Miami, Ok, also, taught Kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary in Norman, Ok, for two decades.  She lived by the belief, that the
Jefferson puppeteers.
secret to staying young was to surround yourself with young people. Every spring break she would take a trip to Florida to meet friends from Ohio, and come back talking about how old they seemed to her.  I've never forgotten Lois, nor her words.  Any coach or teacher will agree that children and young people are the secret to living and laughing with glee.  

In my attempt to stay young at heart, I recently played in the 100th celebration of WOGA, and on day two I met and lost to a determined "Flat Belly" (our term of endearment for youthful women golfers.) 
The look of youth.

Kennedy Hudson, who just completed her first year of college at Northeastern State University and will be playing on the women's golf team, impressed me with her focus and ability to pull herself together after this old
Letty and Kennedy
woman had her down at the turn (in other words I could have won the match, but for focus, youth, determination,  and ability).
 She went on to win our flight the next day.  She delighted me with her skills and attitude about golf, so I asked her how she came to be a golfer.  This is her story. 

I started playing golf because my mother forced me into the sport, and our deal was if I went a full year of golf and didn't like it then I could quit.  On the first day of golf practice that January my coach, Ken Morrow, told me to grab my 7 iron, and I was totally confused.  He could see my confusion and told me that it was the club with the upside down L on it. After I took my first swing, I fell in love with the game and realized that I could be someone in this sport.  My first tournament was in March of that year, and I shot a 122.  I was crying by the third hole.  That year I was consistent in the 120's, and by my sophomore year I was consistent in the 90's.  By my Junior and Senior year I was consistently playing in the 80's. My skills were strong enough to be recruited by Northeastern State University where I redshirted my freshman year of college, so I could continue to improve on my course management and shot making. 

What I enjoy most about golf happens when I step on the course and my stress completely melts away.  All I have to do is focus on my swing.  I never realized that golf could teach life lessons, but it has taught me to leave behind whatever is in the past, and focus on what is going on right then and there. If I continue to think about a bad hole or bad shot then I'm not giving my full effort to the shot I'm about it hit.  It has taken me many years to learn that lesson, but I feel like its the most important one.  I love the feeling of competing against myself and the golf course. Sometimes when playing against someone it can bring out the bitterness in me to try a beat another person, that's why it's important to focus on the shot, the course, and the moment. 

Thank heavens for mother's who push their children into life, and for children who keep the adults young at heart.  


  1. I loved your story as well as the others I've read. Thanks for sharing. bd

  2. As usual, an interesting and fun story. I thought she may have found some magic creme to stay young.
    Being around young, middle age or those our age is one key. I tend to shy away from those our age that do nothing but complain about health, family etc. They bring me down!! I have health issues, family problems too, but why bitch. I act like I am in my 20's or even younger and a fool. Sorry Letty, I hate golf, but my release was riding motorcycles and sail boat racing. Both require focus, but also, my cares and problems would melt away. Thank you for sharing your stories. ru

    1. My thought, whatever melts your cares and worries is all that matters. I don't like motorcycles but I do love the fresh air and you certainly get that riding. So there can be good in everything (except maybe the downer type people who do nothing but complain)!!!

  3. Great article. nv

  4. Enjoyed the read. You are always a great storyteller! kt

  5. Thanks for the article. I copied Kennedy's story and sent it to my grandson. I hope he can learn from her how to leave his bad shots behind him. rj

  6. Oh what a great article! I love her outlook on life and the game of golf! What an important lesson for us all, about aging and determination and finding joy in our passionate pursuits. It's remarkable, how she started to play- being forced by her mom and with that first hit, falling in love with the sport. I just love that. :)

    I will tell me kids about her, when they resist my urge to try a new 'thing'... You just don't know how it's gonna play out. :)

    1. I agree, Kennedy's story is amazing and truly reinforces the values and life lessons we hold dear, and she is so young to have already learned these things. Several friends have copied her story and sent it on to their children and grandchildren.

  7. Well said Letty! I could have used that young lady's advice this past week at our state four-ball!!! Guess lessons & LOTS of practice are in my future. dori