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August 15, 2009

 

At 86, Pauldine has new links quest

By ALAN BUTLER
Sports Editor

Because of a tournament being held on his Cortland Country Club home grounds on Friday, Cortland’s Bill Pauldine did not celebrate his 86th birthday with a round of golf.
So the quest anew to shoot his age, a highly respected feat he accomplished four times in the past calendar year, will have to be put on hold for a couple of days.
That’s right, as an active 85-year-old golfer Pauldine shot his age four times. And just two weeks ago at the par 72 Cortland CC — helped out by three birdies and a string of seven straight pars — Pauldine fired off a nifty round of 79.
“I get lucky once in a while,” was how the birthday boy shrugged off those accomplishments.
Golf continues to be a passion for Pauldine, who estimates he has averaged 50 to 65 rounds per year since taking up the game relatively late as a 30-year-old. He joined the Cortland CC in 1951 and made the place his second home. He still plays there regularly and teams up with his brother Nick as a tandem competing against the younger guys in the Men’s Twilight League every Tuesday evening.
“I didn’t care much for the game at the start,” admitted Pauldine. “Once you find out what it’s all about then you get hooked. It still took a while to do the things you have to do to play this game well.”
He certainly plays the game well, age not too much of a factor. And this has been a summer where Tom Watson — who came a final hole bogey away from capturing the British Open title last month at the not-so-over-the-hill age of 59 — had people rooting for the “old guy” while proving age is just a number.
Though experience certainly pays off huge dividends, especially the vast home course knowledge Pauldine has accumlated at Cortland CC, skill is certainly part of the equation, too.
“When it’s working, everything goes well,” said Pauldine, not able to pin-point one particular strength to his game these days. “I’m not long, but I keep it pretty straight pretty good.”
This father of three sons — Bill Jr., Dave and Tom — who has been married for 63 years to bride Diana, is still in good health. The sport of golf has provided a helping hand in that. And since his work days running Cortland Floorcraft and then being involved in real estate for 20 some years, the golf course is a lot more available. He still gets out there three or four times a week these days.
“It’s just a great game and it brings me great pleasure,” he says.