A few weeks ago a West Tisbury resident, John “Bucky” Burrows, did something which, according to golf websites, less than nine out of a million golfers ever accomplish. He shot his age at Farm Neck Golf Club; at 70 years old he recorded a 2-under par 70.
In golf, hitting your age means that over 18 holes, your score equals your number of years alive. Average golfers dream about birdies or breaking 80 or 90, and the always-illusive hole-in-one. But Bucky has always had loftier goals.
He revealed, “At the time it was not that big a deal, but in time it has grown.”
For the last 30 years Bucky could be found at the West Tisbury Farmers Market squeezing lemonade or making citrus coolers. He’s also a charter captain on his boat, Deceiver, working as a saltwater fly-fishing guide out on Lake Tashmoo.
After studying forestry at Syracuse University, he followed his future bride, Suzanne Fenn, to Alaska. His employment resume reads like a chapter from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He worked as a commercial herring and salmon fisherman, fur trader, and bush pilot. He then moved to Utah, working odd jobs to finance his dream of becoming a ski bum.
When asked what he was thinking on the last hole, Bucky said, “I was standing on the 18th tee, two-under-par. I was thinking, ‘I’ve been here three times before, and every time my ball went out-of-bounds, and my round was over.’ But this time I went down the middle. I actually missed a six-foot birdie putt, but by then it didn’t matter.”
Bucky became a member at Farm Neck in 1999. He steadily got better until he did something only .0000089 percent of golfers ever do. Many call it the toughest task in golf.
Ken Rusczyk is a golfer who lives in Oak Bluffs.