91-year-old golfer still perfecting craft at Ashley Plantation

DALEVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- If you ask Robert Garland, speed is the name of the game.

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It's a game he picked up quickly after his father started him at the age of eight. By 10, he beat his dad by eight strokes.

"He was so tickled," Garland said. "He said, 'I taught this boy how to play.' I said, 'Dad, you did not.'"

Now, at 91, Garland is still at Ashley Plantation Golf Club every day, rain or shine. But knee troubles have him moving a little slower these days.

"[Doctors] finally called it a stress fracture about a year ago and said it'd heal itself," he said. "It never has."

Garland has had to adapt, retiring most of his clubs, save for three, which he uses to chip and putt through his daily routine.

"I used to average about 280 [yards] when I was well, but now it's this," he said. "I have to accept what I can do. This is what I've got left and, if you're only nine years from 100, that's not bad."

In a time of pandemic, the putting green remains a safe haven. Most days, Garland has it all to himself, practicing a game that he says can't be perfected.

"It's a perfect game, played by imperfect people," Garland said. "There's just no way to beat the game, period. Nobody will ever be perfect in golf."

Still, he tries to be, at least as much as he can.

He says keeping a routine, and sticking to it, is what's kept him coming back, eight decades and counting.

"You've got to have some kind of plan. Whether it comes off or not, you should have a plan, and, if it don't work out, make another plan," Garland said. "That's life, I guess. You just make plans and hope they work out. And, so far, they've worked out good."

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