LAKELAND, Fla. — Even though Jean Kettern is 90 years old, she has the younger players chasing after her.
“My husband said ‘Jean is a good player,” Madeline Fostveit, 74, said. “I said, ‘yeah.’ I think she was 89 (at the time), and he said ‘no, she’s not.’”
Kettern first picked up golf when she was 16-years-old.
“I met my husband and he didn’t play,” Kettern said. “So our first Christmas I bought him golf clubs. Then he took up the game and really loved it.”
Her husband passed away ten years ago, but she still uses his driver when she plays the course at Big Cypress Golf Club in Lakeland three times a week.
“It’s like every time you come out to play the ball doesn’t go to the same place every time,” Kettern said.
But on Friday, April 30, the ball went exactly where she wanted it to go. On the north course, second hole, par three.
“I would say about 115 yards.”
Kettern sunk a hole-in-one.
“Oh yeah, it felt good,” she said. “Well, we watched it hit the green. Of course, the flag was in the back. We got in our carts, went down, there it was. This is the ball that went in the hole.”
That was not her first time hitting a hole-in-one. She actually did it once before on the same course on hole No. 14 in 2013.
“That was a thrill. You’re never expecting that. You’re hoping for it. You never know when it might happen.”
After Kettern picked her ball out of the cup, there is a tradition at Big Cypress. If you get a hole-in-one you have to fill up the cups and pick up the tab of your playing partners.
“A couple, some were mixed drinks and some pitchers of beer,” she said.
For Kettern, golf is a lot like life. You never know the direction it will take you.
“I’ve been to places on this course, lived here for 30 years, and I still go to places I’ve never been,” she said. “It’s remarkable. I laugh to myself.”
But wherever she goes, she enjoys the ride.
“She always shows us how to live. How to live life,” Fostveit said. “She’s had a lot of ups and downs. She is not afraid to get in the car and go where she wants by herself, she just takes off and goes. I’m going to be 75 and I’m hoping I’m going to be just like her at her age.”