Many seniors in the Hickory Hill area participate in programs to stay active, and now they can add golf to the list of available activities.
Retiree Hermon Powers founded the Hickory Hill Senior Golf Club in April of this year.
"It’s a very relaxing and enjoyable game. As seniors we’re trying to stay busy," said club member Morris Brown.
Powers participates in many of the programs at the Hickory Hill Community Center, including the center's senior line dancing group and Hickory Hill Booster Club, which meets at the center.
Related: "Seniors feel the groove at Hickory Hill Community Center"
Through the community center activities, Powers met other seniors with a passion for playing golf. The group saw Powers as both talented on the green and a natural leader so they asked him to put together an official golf club for the neighborhood.
“That's how we started that," said Powers. "I'd been playing golf for a while and decided to help our seniors out."
The club meets at Audubon Park Golf Course every Monday morning. Depending on how many people participate on a given day, the group splits into two or three teams to play.
“We have a drill from eight until nine, and then nine or 10, we tee off,” said Powers, though he also noted that they may adjust their tee time for the winter months.
"It'll be a little cold in the winter time at 8 o'clock for seniors," he said.
Powers said you don't have to be a senior to participate. Younger people can join the game and learn more about golf, while soaking up broader life wisdoms from their elders.
“We have had some young people to come in, but that's OK. We don't turn anybody away,” said Powers.
Powers is enthusiastic about his role as the golf club's drill instructor.
“Anybody that comes out and needs instructions on how to do it, when to do it and what to do, I offer my services," he said. "I have had some extra clubs. I have six small sets of beginners clubs I can loan. They can try it out, and if they don't like it, they can return the clubs."
Powers invites anyone interested in joining or supporting the Hickory Hill Senior Golf Club to call him at 901-210-0574.
Members of the Hickory Hill Senior Golf Club pose for a photo after their weekly Monday morning drills and game play. (Hermon Powers)
The club's members hope to build their skills beyond just recreation. They're looking forward to enter golf tournaments.
“I want to give them a year to get the feel of the game. So June next year we should have the guys in good enough shape where we can enter tournaments,” said Powers.
Powers also said that when the members do begin entering competitions, they hope to do so as representatives of the Hickory Hill Community Center that brought them all together.
Brown, who has been golfing since the 1980s, says the senior games are competitive even if they aren't yet at competitions.
“We’re having a really great time. We’re right there at each other," he said. "We might beat each other by a stroke or two."
Powers moved to Hickory Hill in 1991, but his first exposure to the area was 10 years prior when working as a welder.
“I worked on the Hickory Ridge Mall when they built it," he said. "[I was] associated with the Hickory Hill area [so] when I was looking for a new home to relocate, that's where I ended up. It was growing.”
The Hickory Ridge Mall isn't the only thing he helped build.
“I've done some welding all over the country from California to Pennsylvania to Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Powers.
Powers retired six years ago from Iron Workers Local 167.
“My company pretty much paid for me learning how to play, my golf fees and everything. All I had to pay for was my clubs," he said. "I was able to get with some fellas that really knew how to play. The guys showed me things when I started. I'm one of those Tiger Woods fanatics. Every time he moved, I had the TV on him.”
Powers said now he golfs and line dances for health, in addition to the good times and good friends the activities provide.
"The doctor told me to exercise every day, but that's a little too much," he said. "So I do it three days a week. The doctor said I can't just sit around and do nothing since I retired."