Cross turns back the years

You’re never too old for golf – as South Moor’s John Cross proved when he won two competitions at the age of 85.

John last tasted victory 14 years ago at the Co Durham course and since then he’s had a new hip and a brush with serious illness.

So it was the source of pride for the Ushaw Moor great-grandfather when he won the Alan Scott Cup with 44 points in June.

He followed it up with victory in the Chairman’s Flag Competition last month, winning by three shots. The two victories saw his handicap reduced from 35 to 30, much to his delight.

It underlines the validity to allow the maximum handicap for men to increase from 28 as John pointed out. “A lot of older players were leaving the game, this change allowed us to compete again. It’s fantastic.

“I was so chuffed to win the Alan Scott Cup, I can’t describe the feeling when I found out. I had 44 points in the stableford, it was one of those days where everything goes right. It was a fantastic feeling.”

Winning a second competition has meant his handicap has been “hammered”, he laughed.

John, who has been chairman of South Moor’s senior section for 15 years, took up the game late in his 50s and was an active footballer until 63. Now in the winter he plays indoor bowls and golfs with a buggy in summer.

He had a brush with serious illness in 2013 when he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disorder.

The following year he had a hip replacement and as his golf game suffered his handicap, which had been as low as 16, crept up. But something changed after this season’s winter layoff, leading to his first competition wins since 2004.

John is married to Jen with four children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.