Most people begin their golfing days at an early age. Not so for Bob and Joan Bartlett of Delta. At ages 82 and 76, Bob and Joan can boast about their playing time spanning only 20 and 12 years respectively.
The Bartletts have an unusual story of how their love of golf began.
Prior to living in Delta, Bob, and his first wife Debbie, lived in Flagstaff, Ariz., and worked for CF Trucking. Bartlett retired from CF in 1992 and would soon move to Delta.
Right after his retirement, Bartlett and wife Debbie were driving around Lake Montezuma near Camp Verde, Ariz (Verde Valley). They stopped at a garage sale and bought a set of golf clubs for themselves. Keep in mind neither had ever played golf before.
Not long after, the Bartletts relocated in Delta to begin a new phase of their lives as retired folks.
Bob, being a truck driver for most of his life, was overweight and wanting to do something about it. After settling into their new home, Bob began a strict Slim Fast diet plan that he adhered to and in six months had lost 60 pounds cutting his weight to 187.
The Bartletts began golfing at the same time and played faithfully at the old Cottonwood Golf Course in Delta. They usually played 18 holes together with Bob going an extra 18 for good measure. And, there was no taking a cart either. The Bartletts walked. "We learned how to play golf the hard way.....no lessons," notes Bob.
Even after losing all his weight, the Bartletts continued their daily regime.
There were two reasons for golfing as much as they did according to Bob. One was to lose weight and to keep it off, and the other was to get lots of exercise.
There were dark days ahead for the Bartletts however, as Debbie was diagnosed with lung cancer on Sep. 10, 1998. She passed away two months later on Nov. 11.
"Needless to say, after being married to Debbie for 48 years, golf became my soul mate as I had never been alone in my whole life. So, I played morning and afternoon nearly everyday to help me overcome my grief," explained Bob.
There was another interest for Bob that further helped him cope with his loss. He had taken up trap shooting in his 40s and that eventually led him to his first visit to Delta and the Delta Trap Club in September of 1972 (Labor Day). Bartlett was quick to note that he has been to every Labor Day Shoot since that time making him a fixture at the event.
With two leisure time recreations in place, Bartlett looked to a good friend of Debbie's, Joan Huckett, to help further fill the emptiness. A call to Flagstaff, and Joan, in Dec. of 1999, eventually led to their marriage on June 17, 2000.
Joan was now ready to begin her journey into the golfing world with a simple beginning. She was more than content to just walk with her husband to keep him company. Bob would allow her opportunities to hit onto greens in an effort to entice her into playing more. It evidently worked as in the fall of 2000, Joan was ready to do more and got a set of clubs of her own.
As in the beginning for Bob, it was play every day with Joan at his side, with occasional extra rounds for himself. There are no more days of 36 holes of play but both are content to have the opportunity to play every day. Their usual round consists of teeing off on number 10 of the back nine at Devil's Thumb Golf Club.
If the Bartletts aren't the first golfers on the tees, they are among the first handful of avid players to hit the links. They are usually there by 7 a.m. or shortly after that ready to begin their day.
According to Joan, "Unless there's an emergency, God willing and the creek don't rise, we'll be here (Devil's Thumb) to play."
As the weather turns cooler in the fall months, the Bartletts venture to Douglas, Ariz. where they spend three or four months of the year with opportunities to play golf five days a week all winter long.
Cottonwood Golf Course was a favorite of the Bartletts. When it closed and Devil's Thumb opened for play, the Bartletts began playing at DeerCreek Village in Cedaredge where the fees were less expensive. After several years, DeerCreek became more expensive and it was back to Delta and play on the local course and save gas.
Living only three miles from Devil's Thumb was another plus as the close proximity provided more playing time to take advantage of the early morning's cooler temperatures.
Bob completes the story with heartfelt thoughts. "So, we do pretty good for old folks, huh? We are the love of each other's life and we know God put us together. Golf is just an added bonus."blog comments powered by Disqus