Close-to-pro golfers Pat McNamara and Bill Smith love to spend their days polishing their new-found skills.
Close-to-pro golfers Pat McNamara and Bill Smith love to spend their days polishing their new-found skills.

Becoming Wii golf pros

IN GOLF lingo their handicaps are a pro-like plus one, which makes Pat McNamara and Bill Smith living proof some blokes just get better with age.

Or the simple fact could be practice makes perfect.

For the past four months the duo have played up to five hours of golf almost every day – bar Sundays of course, and the days after Pat's late night poker matches.

On a good afternoon they can get through 90 holes, a feat even PGA winners would struggle to match.

So these active older chaps reckon it could soon be a case of move over Tiger Woods.

“We're playing pretty good golf,” Pat acknowledged.

“Bill managed a five under par the other day, so he's got the goods on me.”

To put their improvements in perspective, pre-retirement Pat played a reasonable round on the greens at Killarney.

With a handicap of about 20 he once managed to take out the C-grade championships.

Now at 73 – with a little more time on his hands and a distinctly different club in his grip – he has turned around his game.

Meanwhile his (practically) full-time competitor Bill has gone from playing the odd round of golf after coming off the night shift to a handicap comparable with Greg Norman's.

Now could be the time to add that the course in question is as familiar to these two as their lounge room, and the golf game they devote hours to each day is courtesy of Wii Sports.

“We tried ten pin bowling and darts and we were terrible,” Bill explained.

“But I reckon we have found our thing with golf.”

Wii Sport was introduced to Akooramak last year by the aged care centre's diversional therapists.

“Kellie helped us set it up and then she beat us at it,” Pat said.

“No matter how much we practised she kept winning. We started to think she must have had a Wii at home.”

After a few fumbled attempts the pair mastered the game's remotes and became firm friends and fierce competitors.

“I think Wii Sports is the most marvellous concept invented. We can play sport all day. It is just fabulous,” Bill said.

And the 81-year-old advises his contemporaries not to be afraid to embrace technology.

“These games are so easy even kids can play them,” he laughed.

“And you should see me on the golf course (he indicates the youthful player bearing his name on the screen game). I am better looking than ever.”

The pair refute any claims from health experts that two hours a day is a healthy amount of time to devote to electronic games.

“I think the time is extended based on your age, so we should be allowed hours and hours,” Bill explained.

“And we might be getting older, but when it comes to golf we are just getting better and better.”

Akooramak director of nursing Kym Farrell agreed electronic games were becoming increasingly popular with elderly residents.

“The Wii is stimulating and it keeps them active. It's great.”



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