Bruce Woodard has been working at Martindale Country Club in Auburn for the past 20 years and still going strong at 90 years old keeping the golf carts in order at the Auburn country club. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Bruce Woodard is an early riser and has made a career working early

For 25 years, he worked at Decoster Egg Farm until he retired in 1988. After retirement, he worked a few odd jobs until someone mentioned to him Martindale Country Club was looking for some part-time help.

BJ Wade, Martindale’s golf pro at the time, hired him on the spot. That was 20 years ago, Bruce was 70 at the time. He celebrated his 90th birthday in June.

The job at Martindale fits the bill for Woodard.

“I get up in the morning, 4, 4:30 and get in here between 4:30 and 5,” Woodard said. “I don’t have to work; I don’t have to work until 6:30 in the morning. I always had an early-morning job and I can’t get out of the habit of an early-morning job.”

His duties at the club start with getting the golf carts out of the barn and ready for the day. He’ll then head over to check on the driving range to make sure golf balls were picked up the night before and the machine that dispenses the driving range balls is working properly. Once those tasks are done, an odd job or two usually awaits.

Martindale owner Nick Glicos said Woodard’s work ethic is like the most in Woodard’s generation.

“He is as reliable as it gets,” Glicos said. “If you tell Bruce something he doesn’t forget and he’s organized. He’s a hard worker and he doesn’t stop. Everybody here loves him.”

Glicos said he tries to slow Bruce down thinking he’s overworking himself but there’s no stopping Woodard. Glicos tries to schedule extra help on days where there’s a big tournament to help move the carts, but Woodard insists he can handle it.

Three years ago, Woodard fell in the winter and broke his hip. Three weeks after the fall, he strolled into the pro shop with no assistance to say he was coming into work for the season

Woodard gets his steps in each day working four hours each day, Monday thru Saturday.

“I probably walk four or five miles a day back and forth,” Woodard said. “I had my knees replaced, in (1985) and these are the same knees. When I had my knees operated, (the doctors) told me in 10 years they will last and we will have to do them again.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, no one would have questioned Woodard if he decided he wasn’t coming back for his 20th year given the health risks associated with the virus and older people.

Woodard didn’t think twice about it, and isn’t worried about his job increasing his risk.

“No, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Woodard said.

Glicos admires Woodard’s fearlessness.

“I felt this was a really good story, especially considering the current situation and current circumstances that we are in right now, with a lot of people in his age range or even younger aren’t able to see family, aren’t able to see friends and are very concerned, as they should be,” Glicos said.” Here’s Bruce, who’s going all against those trends and refuses to stay home and refuses to stay inside. He’s going to work. That’s what he knows how to do and loves to do.”

Woodard said he loves what he does and the people he works with, along with the members of the club. That’s what keeps Bruce coming back each year.

He especially enjoys the banter with his co-workers

“That’s what we do around here, we joke around,” Woodard said after firing off a joke as a co-worker walked by him during the interview.

Glicos remembers one joke Woodard played on a newly hired pro shop assistant once.

“I had a new assistant and one day Bruce came in with all the (driving) range tokens — we have two different types of tokens —he said ‘Nick needs you to count these. He needs to know how many tokens we have,’” Glicos said. “I come into the shop later and the assistant goes, ‘You have 413 of these and 274 of these. And I said, “What are you talking about? And he said, ‘Bruce said I needed to count these.’ Bruce came around the corner and started chuckling and kind of laughing around the corner. The guy knew (Bruce) got him.”

There’s no sign Woodard wants to stop the practical jokes or call it a career.

“I keep saying this year is my last year, but I have said that the last five years” Woodard said. “(The job) keeps me going.”


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