Written by Staff Writer
You don’t have to be a star athlete to make an “A” swing on golf’s green course.
A well-placed putt can be the difference between $20,000 and $300,000.
But still, the maverick Melbourne-based golfer Michael Spiteri won’t quit the game when he turns 100 in July.
On his way to becoming Australia’s oldest living professional golfer, Spiteri has played more rounds of golf than anyone else in the country and pocketed around $500,000 in prize money.
If that’s not enough, even his best shot so far has earned him an “A.”
Just over a week before his centenary celebrations, Spiteri made a hole-in-one while caddying at the Australian Cup in Victoria — a late birthday present.
The lucky club member says the memory is still sinking in: “I used to play for years before the car accident to get the balls ready, and when I was caddying to get a handicap of 10,” he said.
Golf helps to keep Spiteri fit. “You get to play and no matter what you’re doing in your life if you’re well-prepared you can always pull that off,” he said.
According to the Melbourne-based golf writer John Kenna , his physique has kept Spiteri playing well as he’s never rested on his laurels.
“He’s prepared better than most of the guys around his age,” Kenna said. “He’s kept himself fit, he’s never even gone to the chiropractor. He must take pride in the fact that he’s one of the oldest professional golfers in the world. He’s got stamina, he’s got a great round-the-clock swing.”
The humble Spiteri ranks fourth on the list of the country’s oldest golfers, with Bernhard Langer and Jack Nicklaus leading the way at 91 and 90 respectively.
Kenna described Spiteri as a player who needed his peers’ respect “to keep him going.”
“He’s made every effort to hang on,” Kenna said. “When the economic situation at home isn’t great, he really looks after himself and spends money on his game, so he’s able to keep going.”
His accomplishments were recognized by the local media in Melbourne.
He has now set his sights on hitting the balls worth a million dollars. “I will get to the point where I can hit one worth $1 million,” he said.