Elkhart man continues golfing tradition on 98th birthday

ELKHART, Ind. -- Old Orchard Golf Course has been around for more than 100 years in Elkhart.

For much of that time, one man has become a regular. Now, he’s nearing a century mark himself.

Kermit Booth, who turned 98-years-old on Thursday, teed off like he had most weeks for the last few decades.

 “It’s just something to do,” he said. “Keeps you occupied and something to think about. I enjoy it. I don’t play that well anymore. I used to play pretty decent, but what do you expect at my age?”

A coal miner and military veteran from West Virginia, Booth has lived in the area since the late 1950s and soon after discovered the game of golf.

“I’ve been playing here a long time, I guess back in the 60s when I first started out here,” he said. “I thought there was nothing but work before that. Got settled down and got to playing golf and bowling. I just had a big time. Living it up.”

For the last several years, living it up has meant joining almost 40 other seniors for league play each week.

“We’re out here to have fun. We’re not going to make any money playing golf,” league member Marc Gantt joked.

“Kermit is just one of the guys. He just plays golf. Doesn’t get mad or gripe about his score. He’s just glad to be here. He plays golf like the rest of us should play golf.”

Kermit said he’d keep working on his game as along as possible.

“Oh Lord almighty yes,” he said when asked if he’d be back again next week. “Tearing it up!”

Kermit Booth was asked, but declined to report his score in Thursday’s round.


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