Byron Bean, 85, of Livermore Falls sits on a golf cart. On Sept. 9, he shot a 68, 17 strokes below his age, at Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton. Submitted photo

Byron Bean has had a simple goal every time he tees the golf ball up.

Shoot his age or better.

On Sept. 9, the 85-year-old native of Livermore Falls had a round of a lifetime at Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton, as he shot 17 strokes below his age with a 68, 2-under on the par-70 course.

For Bean, who has been playing golf for 55 years, this was his first time shooting under par on an 18-hole course.

“It was a mind-boggling round for me, every part of my game was working that day,” Bean said. “I mean the short game, my drives, everything. One time in 55 years (shooting under par).”

Wilson Lake is a course he knows like the back of his hand, as he worked as a caddy at the course in middle school. He has been playing the course since 1966.

The first six holes were mistake-free for Bean as he made six straight pars. He then quickly bounced back after his first mistake of the round.

“I said: ‘Geez, things are going pretty good,’” Bean said. “Then I had a bogey on number seven, which was a (par-3), then I ended up birding eight and nine. After ninth hole I said, ‘Wow, this is the first time I have ever played nine holes under par at (Wilson Lakes).’ I did that one other time down in Turner. That was quite a few years ago. I was a whole lot younger when I did it at Turner (Highlands).”

Byron Bean, 85, of Livermore Falls stands with his golf bag. He shot a 68, 17 strokes below his age, at Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton on Sept. 9. Submitted photo

He finished the front-nine 1-under, shooting a 34.

Bean’s three playing partners — Tommy Cornelio, Bruce Dyke and Peter Benson — knew a special round was in the works. The four were playing partners for the round and they changed partners every six holes while playing for a dollar for each hole.

“All three guys that I was playing with, once they saw how I was going, they were all encouraging me,” Bean said. “’Hey, great shot,’ even though I was playing against them. Everybody was ‘Keep it up, keep going,’ they were encouraging me.”

His playing partners thought Bean had some motivation to play well that day.

“I got married on September 12 and everybody knew I was getting married on September 12,” Bean said. “Everybody kept saying ‘It must be your new bride you are thinking about or something.’ They kept remarking that must be on your mind, that’s why you are playing so well.”

As Bean mentioned, all aspects of his game were working and no better example of that came on the 11th hole with his short game, with not much green to work with.

The scorecard of Byron Bean’s round on Sept. 9 where he shot a 68, 17 strokes below his age, at Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton. His scores are in the second left-hand column, along with the scores of his playing partners Tommy Cornelio, Bruce Dyke and Peter Benson. Submitted photo

“I knew it was going to be a special round after hole number 11 because on hole number 11, I missed the green. I was out in the rough below the sand trap, the pin was quite close to the sand trap,” Bean said. “I hit a good 60-degree wedge and the guy on the green said ‘Hey Bean, that went in.’ So, I chipped it in.”

Bean was 2-under-par thru 11 when he reached the par-5 12th hole, the longest hole on the course. His second shot went into the rough and crossed the out of bounds line. He limited the damage by making a bogey.

He bounced back with birdies on No. 13 and No. 15.

Bean had pars on the final three holes to shoot another 34 on his second nine to give him a 68 for the round.

“When I got to the 18th hole and I was still 2-under par, it was tense on the 18th tee, but I had a really good drive,” Bean said. “When I got up to the 18th (hole, the course) was in the process of aerating the greens so (the 18th green), it was a temporary green and it was closer than normal. When I got up there and saw where (the temporary green) was, it took the pressure off because it was a temporary hole.”

Bean said when he made his par on the 18th hole he was relieved, and his playing partners went up to him to hand him his money.

Since shooting the 68, Bean’s handicap went down from either a 14 or 15 to a seven, and his past 13 rounds have all been under 85, including three rounds in the 70s (75, 76 78).


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