- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - Lloyd Harris is proof that age doesn’t matter when it comes to doing something you love.

At age 91, the Houma resident likes to spend his afternoons doing something near and dear to his heart - playing golf.

It’s not uncommon to find Harris at the Houma Golf Club on Alma Street with his friends.

“It’s a great way to get some exercise both mentally and physically,” he said. “I just love it. It is something that is absolutely relaxing, and it is fascinating. It’s a game that you are constantly learning about no matter how old you are. This is what I do, and this is what I love to do.”

Harris always had time for golf while working in the oilfield and later as a contractor. Since retiring at age 89, he has more time to spend on the course.

“It’s just phenomenal and amazing what he continues to do,” said Wayne Ledet, owner of Houma Golf Club and one of Harris’ golfing buddies. “Many people at 91 years old can’t walk, and there he is out there like a young kid. He had to show me his driver’s license to prove to me that he was that old.”

Harris, a World War II veteran, has been playing golf for 60 years. He was introduced to the game in 1954 while living in New York and quickly became hooked.

“It’s a very fascinating game,” said Harris, who was born in LaPlace and grew up in Houma and Assumption Parish. “When I started playing, I didn’t know anything about golf, but at the point in my life when I started, it was something I took hold of wholeheartedly. I just enjoyed playing it. I became involved with a lot of good golfers, and they took a liking to me. They were able to teach me a whole lot, and from that point on, I’ve been a fanatic.”

Playing in New York, Harris said, also led to some odd experiences.

“I’ve played golf in some strange areas, including the snow,” Harris said. “It was definitely a challenge and puts an extra degree of difficulty in the game. At least I was able to see the ball in the snow because I had very good vision. I could see that ball from 1,000 miles away.”

Over the years, Harris said, he tried to work on his game and became an avid golfer with a handicap as low as four strokes at one time. Currently, he has an eight-stroke handicap.

Harris said he studied the play of some of his favorite professional golfers to improve his game. Over the years, he said, he has enjoyed watching Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Calvin Pete, but his all-time favorites are Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.

Ledet said Harris’ strength is his consistency on the golf course.

“If you go watch him play, he hits the ball down the middle every time,” Ledet said. “He has the yardage. If he is anywhere from 180 yards on in, he can always nail it on the green.”

Golf has also allowed Harris to meet some of the New Orleans Saints’ top players from the late 1980s.

“One of my favorite golfing experiences was when I got to play with Rickey Jackson, Dalton Hilliard and Eric Martin,” Harris said. “They had all taken to me and are now friends of mine. We became friends and golfing buddies, especially with Rickey. When Rickey would come to Houma and wanted to play golf, he always gave me a call. He was a darling, sweet guy.”

Harris’ accomplishments on the course are well known at Houma Golf Club, and he has gained many admirers and new friends along the way.

“To have this guy at his age play as well as he does and shoot below his age every time out is incredible,” said Hilary Domangue, who has been playing golf with Harris for three years. “I would like to make it to 91 years old much less play golf at 91. The fact that he is 91 years old and in the shape that he is in is really great. Being he is able to play golf at such a high level at his age is absolutely incredible.”

Harris said he has no plans of slowing and wants to continue pursuing his three loves: hunting, fishing and golf. If he had to pick just one, though, he said the decision would be easy.

“It would be golf because I will always find time to play. Golf is truly my first love,” he said.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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