Daily photo by Gary Lloyd|
J.O. Mitchell, 89, can be found during the week at the Point Mallard Golf Course. Recently, he scored an eagle on hole No. 1.
eagle has landed
Retired principal J.O. Mitchell, 89, still finding success on golf course
By Ashley Hargrove
Each morning, Monday through Friday, about 10:30, you can usually find J.O. Mitchell getting ready to tee off for his daily round of golf at Point Mallard Golf Course.
But one particular day a couple of weeks ago was a bit more special than any of the others for the 89-year-old. Mitchell made an eagle using his six iron from 160 yards out on the No. 1 hole, which was playing 375 yards.
“I’ve had a few eagles in my lifetime, including one on No. 6 several years ago,” Mitchell said while getting ready to head to the tee box. “Eagles are nice, but hole-in-ones are better. I can remember it longer.”
During his many years on the course, Mitchell says, he owns eight aces, the last coming in April 2006.
Mitchell was playing with a core group of nine to 10 friends who gather to play five days a week when he made the eagle. His long-time golfing buddy Bull Terry was in the group, along with other friends Gerald Payne and John Broadwell. Mitchell’s friend Milton Sivley is also a member of the group.
“Bull and I have been playing golf together for 42 years,” Mitchell said. “There’s not much that will keep us from playing. This is what keeps me going.”
Sivley said the group doesn’t start playing if it is raining, but if they have already started they will continue unless the weather conditions get too bad.
“He has been and still is a very good golfer,” Sivley said. “He and Bull have been golf partners for years and have won a lot of the Pepsi tournaments because of their talent.”
On April 18, Mitchell finished second in the second flight of the Point Mallard Men’s Independent Golf Association’s monthly tournament.
He shot a net 68.
Mitchell, who retired as principal of Gordon-Bibb Elementary School in
1984 and still makes his home in Decatur, makes his dislike for smoking cigarettes known.
He’s not afraid to approach strangers urging them to stop the habit.
“Whenever J.O. sees someone smoking, he always tells people they need to stop,” Sivley said. “He’s not a fan of it and that’s the reason there is not a one in our group who smokes.”
Sivley says Mitchell is a model for the community, showing that golf can be enjoyed at any age.
“Golf is something that many people are able to play even after retirement age,” Sivley said. “J.O. is a wonderful example. It’s remarkable to be able and go out and play with him every day. Not everyone can say they play golf with an 89-year-old man.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to play with someone that age.”
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