OFFBEAT: 61-Year-Old Grandfather Recruited to Play College Golf

Don Byers
Photos of Don Byers and family from the Bellevue University website.

Who says you can’t go back in time?

Don Byers, 61, will play collegiate golf this spring for Bellevue University just outside of Omaha, Neb. Some of his teammates will be more than four decades younger than him.


ESPN.com’s Jason Sobel wrote the story earlier this week, describing the incredible way Byers earned his way onto the Bruins squad:

“As their foursome made the turn last autumn at Champions Run, a former Web.com Tour venue in Omaha, Nebraska, Byers was a few strokes under par, thanks to an early eagle and his usual steady play. That’s when Rob Brown, coach of the golf team at nearby Bellevue and one of his playing partners that day, turned to him and quipped, “Man, I wish you had some eligibility left.”

The two men laughed at the one-liner, hardly taking it at face value.

A few holes later, the idea was broached again. “You know,” Byers told Brown, “I do still have eligibility.”

Back in the 1970s, Byers had attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha on a baseball scholarship, but lost the free ride before ever playing because he hurt his arm.

Year later, Byers golf game got good enough to the point that he was a scratch player.

The school has 12,000 students, but the vast majority are enrolled in online classes. Byers has to enroll in classes — he chose English, communications and history — in order to join the team.

“My academic adviser is younger than my kids,” Byers told Sobel. “He said I ought to take recent history because I lived it.”

His first match will be in Las Vegas this March.

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