At a mere 90 (and a half) years of age, Gerald Baird maintains a golf handicap enviable to golfers a fraction of his age. He’s a husband, father, musician and gold medalist. But perhaps what makes his story unique is his latest medal win was this past July.
Gerry competed at the 2015 National Senior Games in Saint Paul, Minnesota, winning by five strokes over his competition. He’s competed, and medaled, in all the National Senior Games since 2009. Gerry also has won state championships both in Ohio and Florida.
Daughter Barbara Rowland travels with Gerry to each tournament, documenting each event into a beautiful photo album.
His love for golf dates back to childhood, when his father built a nine-hole course for a neighbor near Findlay, Ohio. When Gerry wasn’t working on the family farm, he found time to caddie.
Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons is the only instructional golf book Gerry has ever read. “If you know those five basics, you can play pretty good golf,” he says.
Gerry entered the Navy at age 19. His ship was only 100 miles from Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped. He witnessed the signing of the peace treaty in Japan that marked the end of World War II.
He came home to Findlay and started working for Marathon Oil. He married his wife, Marie, in 1947. He also continued golfing.
Gerry loved the game so much that he purchased Lakeland Golf Course near Fostoria, Ohio, in 1974.
Gerry and Marie sold the course in 1983 then moved to Florida, where they lived a mere two-minute drive (by golf cart, of course) from the first tee.
Gerry continued to compete and win golf tournaments. “If you hit your age, you play good golf,” he said.
They spent more than 30 years in Florida. They came back to Ohio a few years ago to enjoy the lifestyle options and making new friends at Friendship Village of Columbus, managed by United Church Homes.
To keep his game sharp, he plays in a local league and maintains active membership (43 years) with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
“I love the game. I’d play every day if I could. I play golf for fun, but my real fun is winning,” he admits.