Swinging centenarian: Above par Cape Breton golfer aims to shoot his age
If you see Iver Gillis swing a golf club, you'd have a hard time believing his age.
Just to look at the Cape Breton centenarian you'd think he was at least 15 years younger.
But the long-time member at Lingan Golf and Country Club, just outside of Sydney, N.S. will turn 101 on November 28.
"I have my mother's genes," Gillis explains. "She was 103 when she passed away."
Gillis didn’t start golfing until he was 35 years old.
Now, he has spent more than 65 years playing the game he loves in nearly every Canadian province.
Gillis typically tees off at Lingan at least twice a week.
When asked why he still spends so much time on the greens during his golden years, his explanation was simple – and tongue-in-cheek.
“Why not?" Gillis asked. “If I laid around and just stayed in bed, I'd just have a sore back. So I may as well have it while I'm golfing, and enjoy myself."
Earl Leblanc has been golfing with Gillis for more than 30 years and says part of his friend's secret is the calm demeanour he keeps, even when things aren't going so well.
"Oh, I'll be lucky to stand up at 101, let alone play golf," Leblanc said with a laugh.
"(It’s his) even temperament. I've never seen him throw clubs, never seen him slamming clubs on the ground. If he misses a shot, he misses a shot."
Gillis said in his younger years he sometimes scored in the low 80s.
Now, he has a new goal -- to shoot his age.
"At the time that I was 90, I think. I was determined to shoot my age," he said.
Gillis says he still remembers a missed putt on the seventeenth hole that cost him that day.
A couple of weeks ago, he came close once again, shooting 104 at the age of nearly 101.
His friends say he’s not giving up on that goal, or the game he loves, anytime soon.
‘He went out and bought some brand new clubs," said Leblanc. “So I tell you, he's looking forward to another year."
Gillis admits with a wry smile that the longer he plays golf, the easier it might be to reach that elusive goal of shooting his age.