Lindsay Tise, 103
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
It’s an achievement to live to a ripe old age. The real hope is to also have good health, a clear mind and an active lifestyle to go with it. It’s one thing to get there, but quite another thing to BE there.
Lindsay Tise is “there.” At 103, he is still playing golf, working out and participating in church activities. He doesn’t dwell on the past, and in recent years he has overcome the loss of his wife of 71 years and the pain of losing one of his sons to cancer. He says his parents gave him his positive attitude which keeps him looking forward.
His love of golf started early. Lindsay began caddying at a local country club as a kid and was befriended by an assistant pro who often took him to play the back nine in the evenings. He played other sports in elementary school but by his teens he was working at his father’s soft drink bottling facility and fixing up people’s bicycles from a shed in his back yard. Then came World War II and a career in electronics that sidelined his opportunity to play golf until 1966. He’s been prowling the paths ever since.
While he has never scored a hole in one, Lindsay has often been able to score below his age since his 90’s, something that not many get claim. He’s never been motivated by tournaments or even shooting low scores, though. He just loves “being there” out in nature, seeing old friends and getting some fun exercise. He looks forward to going to his third National Senior Games with his son Tim, who describes himself as Lindsay’s “road manager.” He likes The Games because there are more guys close to his age there.
Lindsay Tise has lived almost his entire life in Winston-Salem. His needs are simple and routine, some might say boring. But the quality of life is high and stress is low, and Lindsay likes “being there.” Read the following edited conversation to hear his Personal Best story.
Lindsay, great to see you coming back to National Senior Games! Is your son going to caddy again?
Oh, yes. I wouldn’t come if Tim didn’t handle all the details.
In Albuquerque in 2019 you had competition from another100-year old and you beat him pretty good.
I still play pretty well for an old man. I played him in the national games before that and did better that time too.
I still play golf one day a week when the weather’s good. I work out three days a week too. The oldest person I play with around here is 82 and he is a young guy. National Senior Games gives me people to play with that are closer to my age.
Were you athletic when you were young?
When I was a kid, we all gathered at my house and played sports in my front yard. There was a walkway splitting the yard halfway, the walkway was the goal line. When I was in elementary school, I played sports and was a good baseball player.
When did golf become your sport?
I started when I was a kid caddying on a golf course. I lived close to the Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem and I started playing when I was caddying. I got to be good friends with the assistant pro there, and after everybody left in the evening we would go play the back side. I did that all through my youth. That’s how I really learned to play.
But when I was older, I was always working and didn’t have time for sports for a long time. But I was always active doing stuff. I was usually up and around and never really sitting down. I was healthy all the time.
So the golf bags went into the attic during your career. What kind of work did you do?
I was an electronic technician. When television first started out I went to Philadelphia and got certified as a technician. I was one of the first people to work on TVs.
Wow. How did you become interested in that?
I’ve always liked tinkering with things. When I was a kid, there were no bicycle shops around so I had a little shed in my back yard and I worked on bicycles for the community. That was when I was in my teens.
Also, my dad was a soft drink bottler and headed a bottling plant. I stayed there a lot when I was a kid and drank my share of pop. [Chuckles]
That must have fascinated you to watch the machinery and how the operation worked.
Oh yeah, I got hooked on it. I did maintenance work on them when I was in my teens. I kept the machines going.
World War II came in your early adulthood. Did you serve in the military?
No. During World War II I worked in Newport News helping load Liberty Ships. I got a job with a guy in the beginning of the war and he put me to work right away as a foreman. I had men working on five ships at a time, and I would have to go between the ships and up and down the ladders and into the holds to check the loading. That was my contribution to the war effort. Every time I got a draft notice, I handed it to my boss and he would call the draft board and tell them I was doing something more essential than carrying a gun.
It took thousands of workers to keep supply lines going. So you went into electronics after the war?
Yes, I went to Forsyth Community Technical College in Winston-Salem and then I spent two years in Philadelphia studying to get my certification. I don’t know why I went that way. It was just something new I guess. I made radios and televisions work.
What do you think of TV and technology now?
Well, it seems like you don’t work on them anymore. You just throw them away! [Laugh] They have come a long way.
Many of our athletes had to hang up sports until midlife. Did you pick golf back up after you raised your kids?
I guess that is about right. I was the president of an electronic association in North Carolina and we had a meeting for all of the technicians in 1966. We had a golf match and that got it going again.
Other than National Senior Games, have you been to a lot of tournaments?
When I was caddying, I went to all the tournaments. When I got back into golf, it was more for recreation. I do it for the love of the game. Just getting out and seeing the nature and scenery is a good part of it. All of the golf courses are very scenic.
Who do you golf with now?
There are usually three guys that all get together on Thursdays to play. We started playing when we all were going to the same church.
What are your scores like these days?
We play 18 holes and I usually shoot in the high 90s. I always beat my age. I was able to beat my age when I was in my 90s too. It wasn’t really a big deal because I just enjoy playing.
I think I play pretty good. I can drive as far and play as good as the guys I play with, and they are younger than me. The best part of my game are my drives. I always hit them straight down the middle. I hardly lose any balls. Never had a hole in one though.
Well, your health is your best score, Lindsay. You are not only over 100, but you are also in great shape and have a clear mind. Any ideas why you’ve done so well for this long?
Everybody is surprised when I tell them my age. I do pretty good. I don’t have any problems walking or doing anything else. I just live.
I will tell you I attribute it all to my wife. She fed me properly and on time. Frances and I were married for 71 years! She was a good woman, the love of my life. We married young and stayed together a long time.
At the time I met Frances I was running a machine in my papa’s shop. Along the front of the building was glass windows and the machinery was lined up along that side. I noticed a young lady on the other side of the street walking to the store for her mother. She noticed me, too. All of a sudden she came on my side of the street and looked in on my working. That’s the way we met.
We had two boys, Lindsay Jr. and Tim. Frances passed in 2013, and we lost Lindsay Jr. from a tumor in his brain in 2015. He was the district court judge for five counties in Georgia and was a wonderful guy.
What kind of attitude do you think you need to have good health and a long life, Lindsay?
Think positive. Church is important to me and I have been in the same one since 1942. I am the longest and oldest standing member of Fairview Moravian Church. A couple of months ago, the preacher mentioned in the beginning of his sermon that I was now 103 years old. It got me a bit of applause.
I got my positive thinking from my parents. They were always kind and supportive of me and other people. They were super people.
Have you watched your nutrition all of your life?
I have always eaten well. Frances made sure of it when she was here. About a week ago a lady that goes to the same exercise program where I go suggested I call Meals on Wheels. I called them and they started me on it. They have very nutritional meals that they bring me once a day. I still have to cook a little bit. I always cook a good breakfast. Eggs, bacon and biscuits. I always have something left over for supper.
When you wake up, what do you want to do with your day?
I always have something planned. Three days a week I go out and exercise at Wake Forest University. I do the HELPS program that’s about lifestyle change. What is special is getting to be with the other people. I got to know a lot of them, and the trainers are students. We use almost all kinds of exercise equipment and machines. What helps me most of all is what they call stretch circles or weight circles.
On Thursdays, I go out and golf. And Saturdays I usually mess around the house and do what is necessary like mowing the yard. I live in a pretty big house, three big bedrooms and upstairs. My dad gave the one on the corner to my brother, and I have the house next door that I built. Big yard. [Chuckles]
So you have never had any big medical emergencies?
No I don’t think so. I did get into a car crash when I was 95 but I didn’t go to the emergency room or anything like that. A
young lady pulled right in front of me and thankfully neither one of us was hurt but it tore up my car. It was a 1966 International Scout that I bought not long after it was made. That car is like a member of the family to me.
I fixed it myself after the crash. I got the Scout back to my yard and found the parts. I got it back running. I still drive it.
Well, DNA and luck may have something to do with it, but you have also done the right things to keep going. You don’t seem to dwell on the past. Do you think that’s a waste of time?
I do think it is a waste of time.
It is also a waste to watch all that television. I don’t even look at the regular tv anymore. I try to keep up with the news but that is about it. There is a program that comes on television that just has good music and I just keep that on most of the time.
Any other advice you can offer?
Eat well and exercise. That’s what does it.
Do you ever wonder how you got here?
Yeah, I do because I don’t ever really see anyone else my age. I wonder why I am still here but happy I am.