Blind golfer records hole-in-one
Robin Wallis, 93, recently aced the 143-yard, par three, fifth hole at Peninsula Lakes using a seven wood. From left: Peter Viveen, Wallis, Neil Clark, Harold Beamer. Photo by: NEIL CLARK.
It takes a lot to keep Robin Wallis off the golf course.
The life-long Fonthill resident will celebrate his 94th birthday later this month and for the last 10 years or so has been battling macular degeneration and is considered legally blind.
But as often as possible, Wallis teams up with buddies Peter Viveen, Neil Clark and Harold Beamer and hits the links.
“My recreation is getting out with my friends and playing golf,” Wallis said. “I live here by myself. My wife (Mary) passed in 2010 so it gets me out of the house and out with these guys.
“I enjoy their company and they’re such a great help. They make sure I get to the course — of course I can’t drive — and they really look after me. I really appreciate that part of it and it’s better than staring at the walls.”
Wallis says he can make out shapes and some colours and needs a yellow ball. He also relies on his buddies to point him in the right direction and help him on the course.
“I’ve been lining myself up for quite a while so I have a good idea how far I have to stand away and they give me a good line usually if I can hit it there,” Wallis said. “Once I hit the ball, I don’t know where it is. They find my ball for me and always give me a line to the pin.”
Wallis recently defied the odds when he aced the 143-yard, par three, fifth hole at Peninsula Lakes using a seven wood.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t see it go in but they all yelled,” Wallis smiled. “I was really surprised and really happy too, of course.”
It was the second hole-in-one for Wallis, who proudly points out the trophy on his mantel from his first ace 20 years ago.
Clark, who has been golfing with Wallis for 40 years, was thrilled for his buddy.
“I’ve never seen somebody so happy. I wish I had a video camera,” Clark said.
Wallis began playing golf seriously 28 years ago when he retired from his job as a cook on an icebreaker in the Arctic. He also found time to be top-notch bowler — he has a 300-game ring from a sanctioned American Bowling Congress tournament in 1963.
“I didn’t play a lot of golf until I retired, just the odd game here and there, and of course you can’t play in the Arctic,” Wallis chuckled.
Wallis, who is a war veteran and spent four years in the Air Force, keeps active apart from golf. He had to give up driving a few years ago, but is still able to use a scooter to do errands.
“I look after myself as much as I can. I don’t like to bother other people. With the scooter, I manage pretty well until the winter,” he said.
Once the bad weather hits, Wallis calls on family — his son Kevin lives in Welland — and neighbours.
“I think I’ve handled it fairly well,” he said proudly. “I was cutting my grass until a few years ago and I still have a garden. I have a really good neighbour who helps. One of the reasons I stay here is because I have such great neighbours. If I need a hand, they’re right there. It’s great.”
Wallis feels keeping busy has been the secret to his longevity.
“I’ve always been fairly active. When you get older, it really feels good sitting down and doing nothing.”
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