At age 84, Jim Jones just keeps hitting it down the middle and shooting his age

Updated: November 1, 2013

As I sat across the table from Jim Jones after a round of golf at Riverbend, someone called out his name.

“Hey Jim, you got a couple of skins, we owe you $155,” said the guy running the event. “And we are getting tired of giving you our money by the way.”

I looked at Jones and he looked a little sheepish. Even at the age of 84, Jones is still shooting low scores and taking people’s money. And yes, he took some of mine on this day when I donated to the skins pot.

Jim Jones is the kind of guy I want to be if I ever make it to age 84. He is the kind of guy that everyone wants to tee it up with, shoots his age just every time out, looks fit and trim after daily visits to the gym and plays well enough under pressure to take skins money off guys who are 35 years younger.

Jones is a daily regular at Riverbend. He plays just about every day of the week except on Sunday’s when he heads to church. And he’s not a fair weathered golfer either. He will tee it up rain or shine. You check his GHIN history and he’s not lying. He has so many scores they just roll from one page to another. He plays to a nine handicap. Sometimes he goes low, sometimes the other way. But he’s always out there playing.

Jones has been playing golf for so long that he “doesn’t ever remember when he didn’t play golf.” Growing up in Arkansas he remembers making his own golf clubs as a kid. He would cut down some limbs from a tree and use them as golf clubs. He invented a two or three hole course around his yard and played some golf.

He went to the local course called Camden Golf and Country Club in Camden, Ark. and started caddying at age 11. He worked for 30 cents a round and carried as many bags as he could after school.

With segregation in the south, Jones could only play the course when he could sneak on. That’s when he got hooked on the game – and since then has never given it up. It was a strange time to grow up in the south and play golf. But he got used to it – and kept playing and kept caddying.

He moved to California in 1949 and then made it to Seattle in 1955 after getting a job at Boeing. He was involved with the production of the 707 – the first jet passenger plane that Boeing made. He retired in 1996 at the age of 64 and decided his next full-time job would be on the golf course.

He has played Riverbend since it opened and has worked as a marshal at the course as well as teeing it up almost on a daily basis.

Jones doesn’t exactly remember when he started shooting his age, but it might have been 10 years ago. His best score at Riverbend is a 70 and his best score away from Riverbend is a 73 at Druids Glen.

He has seven holes in one – and the way he plays he will probably get more.

His wife Elmolene passed away in 2008 but not before Jones bought her a set of golf clubs and tried to get her on the course. “She never used them.” he said. “She just didn’t like it like I did I guess.”

Jones also hits the gym just about every day for two hours with some lifting and some other exercises.

Oh, by the way, he also walks every round he can.

Like I said, I want to be Jim Jones when I grow up.