For Betty, golf is a joy at 96


Last updated 11/17/2021 at 8:48am

Betty Davis watches her ball after teeing off at Banks Lake Golf Course. - Scott Hunter photo

For Betty Davis, a day on the golf course isn't about keeping score, it's about getting to a place free of cares.

"When I'm out here, I think of nothing behind me," she said recently beside a tee at Banks Lake Golf Club. "I mean, my house could be burning when I left and I probably wouldn't even think about it."

At 96, Davis still golfs three times a week through most of the year with a group of friends, and there are stories.

There's the one about she and Sally McDowell herding cows off the course in mid-winter with their golf carts, "just like a couple of cowboys." And, of course, there's one about getting stuck in a snowbank in the golf cart.

Not a lot of golfers can say that.

Davis filled out her first scorecard in 2002 after a friend finally overcame her years of objections about being far too busy.

"We owned the bowling alley, we both worked full time, and I had lots of things to do for the for the community. ... Boy Scouts and all that stuff," she explains.

"'Well, Betty,'" Davis recalls her friend saying, "'I work. I come out on my noon hour, and I never lose the ball because I don't hit it very far."

That's an attitude many a frustrated Type-A golfer can't relate to, but Betty can.

"We stop and watch the bunny rabbits, and we stop and talk to a coyote that's friendly," she says about the time a foursome of guys decides they want to play through.

And score keeping is just an unnecessary formality if she bothers at all. "After 20 years, I pretty much know what I'm doing. I can tell you if I've had a good round."

She and Ted owned a bowling alley in Wilbur for six years before buying the one in Coulee Dam. They ran it for 25 years, then sold it in 1997.

Now her challenges have to do with greens and balls and the occasional wild animal.

Like the time she really needed to use the restroom that was occupied - by a rattlesnake. Yes, she went anyway. "I've never been so terrified in my life," she recalls.

"We've done everything out here," she says on a fall day. Leaves are yellow. Grass is green. They rim the bottom of a bright blue sky with a few clouds above a placid Banks Lake. "I think that's why we just keep coming out, because there must be something we haven't done."


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