'Life is good': Islander tees off 98th birthday on the golf course

·2 min read
'The competition's not that great so I expect I'll do pretty good,' joked MacDougall, third from right, about his friends playing with him. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)
'The competition's not that great so I expect I'll do pretty good,' joked MacDougall, third from right, about his friends playing with him. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

He was alive before the internet, remembers when humans travelled to space for the first time and believed the television was "a miracle."

"This is my birthday," said Keith MacDougall who grew up in O'Leary.

"Well, they tell me I'm 98. I don't remember," he laughs.

MacDougall has been on this planet for nearly a century — but you would never guess it. He jokes constantly, asks people how their families are and is celebrating his 98th trip around the sun with, well, a round of golf.

"We come here to golf," he said. "The competition's not that great so I expect I'll do pretty good."

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

The staff at Belfast Highland Greens are also eager to celebrate MacDougall — who is clearly well known in the clubhouse. As other golfers walk in they tell them, "It's Keith MacDougall's birthday," and invite them to stay for cake.

With a group of old friends, MacDougall gets ready to golf. They have gathered to hit the links in celebration of him. And hope to keep the tradition going for years to come.

"I have a lot of memories and I can remember a lot of changes in life and I really appreciate all the friends I've accumulated," said MacDougall.

"Life is good."

When asked what moment stands out the most, he is quick to reply:

"When I met my wife," MacDougall said.

"Seen her in a polka-dotted dress on a bicycle ... 'bout 19, 1947. "

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

Although his cheerfulness is infectious, there have been some hard times as well. He said he remembers his home burning down and serving in the Second World War.

"That was pretty rough," said MacDougall after a heavy pause of silence.

"I'm still here."

But Thursday was about celebration.

He said his long game isn't what it used to be.

But MacDougall knows his short game will give his friends a run for their money.

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