Playboy Bill thanks golf for good health

GOLF: When Bill Conder tells you that long life and golf are a good mixture, you have to listen.After all Bill is now in his 92nd year, still playing the game at least five days a week.


WHEN Bill Conder tells you that long life and golf are a good mixture, you have to listen.

After all Bill is now in his 92nd year, still playing the game at least five days a week.

A member at Ipswich Golf Club ever since it moved to Purdis Heath in 1927, Bill looks a picture of health for his age – and he puts a lot of it down to golf.

"Playing golf in the fresh air makes me feel invigorated," Bill told me as we sat outside the clubhouse at Purdis Heath.

"I play at least five days a week, and sometimes seven, all the year round. I start at 9am and usually play 14 holes on the nine-hole course. It's too long a walk on the main course these days.

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"My regular partner is John Nichols and sometimes one or two others join us. I must say that the older I have got the keener I have become on the game."

Now playing off a 27 handicap, Bill first took the game up when he was just ten years old, but admits it was not his favourite game.

"I mainly played tennis and did some sailing and only came up to Purdis when I had nothing else to do. I was never a very good player, but I'm better now than I was 50 years ago."

The lowest handicap Bill has played off is 14 and the only thing he has ever won is the Bristol Cup at Ipswich GC, but that doesn't bother him.

Bill was one of the members who switched from the original club at Rushmere and he is the only one who is still alive.

Besides playing golf most mornings, Bill is very active for the rest of the day.

"I have an allotment where I grow a lot of vegetables and that keeps me busy. I have a sleep after lunch and in the winter most evenings I go down to the Ipswich & Suffolk Club, hear the early evening news and play snooker and have a drink," he added.

In addition Bill plays bridge and chess, and said proudly: "I'm a playboy! I do nothing else but play games."

There is another string to his bow. For years Bill has done watercolour paintings and in the past used to exhibit them.

"I have rather neglected painting because of golf," he said. But Bill still found the time to write a book about the Conder family that was published two-and-a-half years ago.

Ipswich born, Bill was educated at Ipswich School before going to work in the family business of leather merchants that also had a glove factory and dealt with sheepskin clothing.

"I worked there all my life except for a short spell in London," he said. "My father was the only one in the family that played golf and I used to practice with his clubs on the track at Rushmere that leads to the water tower."

Golf now plays a very big part of Bill's life and every year for the past 20 years or so – except this one – he and his wife Ruth spend the summer months in the Republic of Ireland where they have a farmhouse.

Bill is a member of Crushall Golf Club in Schull deep in the south-west of the Republic.

Life is now one big celebration for Bill. When he reached the age of 90 he promised he would celebrate every subsequent birthday in a big way.

As far as his golf is concerned, Bill is always seeking tips on how to improve his game, while stressing how important it is to have regular exercise.

It certainly hasn't done Bill any harm and he intends to be around for some time yet – and still playing golf.

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