A Sense of Huber: The Great Errie Ball

By Jim Huber
Published on

I have a very difficult time imagining myself at, say, 70, especially when it comes to walking a course and swinging a club. I have to suspend reality completely to envision such tasks at 100.

But there he stood Wednesday night in the cramped ballroom at the PGA of America Learning Center in Port St. Lucie, leaning on his cane (which he calls "my 5-iron") watching video of himself completing the neatest of swings, the most fluid of turns.

The slight smile seemed full of pride and wonderment.

Errie Ball was about to be inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame just a few days shy of his 101st birthday and he, among the hundreds gathered, was the least impressed.

His claim to fame these last few years, at least, is that he is the lone remaining member of the very first field for the Augusta National Invitation, which later became the Masters.

All the rest are long gone. Jones, Smith, Sarazen, Yates, all of them at peace now for years.

Yet here is this tiny Welshman, invited by Bobby Jones to come to Augusta for that first event, still vibrant, still as sharp as a tack.

"I feel like I just played 36," he chuckled after being helped to the stage.

He had endured a couple hours of dinner and ceremony and, just guessing here, but his legs might have not been quite awake when we called him up. His legs might not have been, but his mind certainly was.

His wife watched on.

"Not too many things excite him any more but this certainly has."

It is men and women such as this who make my journey through this world so worthwhile, so invigorating.

And, frankly, so educational.

I might not be able to imagine 70, let alone 100, but I got a great lesson from Errie Ball Wednesday night on the one true secret to longevity.

He and his wife of 73 years, the 96-year old Maxie, who is a golfer in her own right, began the evening each with a very generous tumbler of Scotch. As folks gathered around to congratulate them and say hello, they both sipped until the glasses were empty.

One a day, every day.


At least I can imagine that.

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