Shooting one of the best rounds of his life was the last thing on Bill Chambers’ mind when he double bogeyed No. 5 at Chicopee Woods on June 1. Getting the ball out of a wet sand trap left Chambers, 75, scrambling to get to the green.
“I figured my round was all over then,” Chambers said.
However, a mix of consistency off the tee and a steady day putting left Chambers, a retired computer marketing executive, within range of doing something few have the opportunity to do on the links: shooting their age.
As he approached the green on No. 18, all he needed was to hit a 12-foot putt, which he put right in the hole to complete the round of three-strokes over par (75). Even with a double bogey on his scorecard, Chambers managed such a memorable day with the aid of one birdie.
“Not a lot of people know that I shot my age,” Chambers said. “It was just one of those days when everything was working well.
Particularly his short game.
Chambers only needed 33 putts to complete 18 holes, including a short putt for birdie on No. 10. He set up that shot with a pitching wedge from the fairway to about three feet of the cup. In addition to that, he hit 12 greens in regulation with two shots left to save par.
“He’s never had a round like that before,” said Al Crego, who played with Chambers that day, along with Bill Speed and Tom Wilson. “He had it all under control all day.
“That’s a milestone to be able to shoot your age.”
This marked the first time that Chambers shot his age, even though his best round was a 72 at Apple Mountain about six years ago.
His round of 75 started to turn in his direction when he took stock of the situation after shooting a 37 the front nine on the Village portion of the course. Then on the back nine, he fired a 38 on the Mill. Even though it isn’t an easy layout, Chambers said the open fairways make it possible for a low score, provided you keep it straight.
Chicopee Woods also offers nine holes that are labeled The School.
“I would say the Village and Mill is probably the easiest combination on the course,” Chambers said.
Chambers isn’t a long hitter off the tee. He knows the most shots will be saved around the green. A good tee shot for him will be in the range of 200 yards. However, when he gets to the short irons, he can separate himself with shots that can stick tight to the flag.
“He (Chambers) doesn’t hit it that far off the tee,” said his friend, Reuben Black. “But he has a really good short game.”
Chambers, not quick to brag about his accomplishment, says that it was a byproduct of playing in a window of time where his skill level matches up with his age. If he does have one advantage, it’s that he’s a regular at the course.
He estimates that in a given year, he’ll play in the range of 75-100 rounds. Even Monday, with temperatures topping out in the low 90s, he was still coming off the course in the early afternoon from a round.
Chambers, originally from Toccoa, has been a regular on the course since his retirement in 1996, from a career that carried him to live in places such as London, Amsterdam, Munich, Brussels, and France.
Now, he spends his time relaxing with friends on the golf course, followed by some conversation at the grill afterward. Chambers usually gets prepped for a round of golf by hitting 15-20 shots on the practice range, if time permits, then it’s time to tee it up.
Even though he’s a competitive golfer, Chambers is realistic about the probability of shooting another round of this stature on a regular basis. Golfers shooting their age is a fairly rare feat.
“I’d love to do it again,” Chambers said. “But I’m very happy to break 80.
“I enjoy the game and playing with my friends.”