Center Stage is a new series that spotlights individuals who continue to support the GAP Central Series.
The debate of old versus new is timeless.
The question at hand for Boyd Mertz, 94, is what drives smoother: the new Jeep that he drives to Bucknell Golf Club, or the old driver that he bought more than a decade ago?
“Once you start playing golf, it becomes difficult to get away from.”Boyd Mertz
On the course, Mertz is still playing at a high level. A score in the low 80s is typically what he notches. If everything goes right for him, as it did on June 19, 2020 at Bucknell, his home course, then he can pull a score of 73 out of his bag.
It marked Mertz’s lowest in the last two years.
“I hit 99 percent of fairways with this old driver of mine,” the Northumberland, Pa. native said. “On this particular day, I think I hit every fairway, and I followed it up with a solid short game performance.”
Accuracy is an important part of Mertz`s game. Admittedly, he`s not known for hitting missiles off of the tee. However, he thinks his high fairway accuracy affords an advantage over some competitors who are longer.
“There are some guys that I play with who hit the ball somewhere else each time,” Mertz said. “Accuracy has always been so important for me because I like to hit from the fairway as much as possible.”
Mertz’s consistent accuracy caught the eye of Jim Vanbuskirk, a friend and golf compatriot for 48 years.
“It amazes me how good of a ball-striker from tee to green Boyd is,” Vanbuskirk, 77, of Lewisburg, Pa., said. “He has a solid putting and short game, too.”
His high-level play is only part of the reason why Mertz remains active on the golf course. To him, playing each day has simply become a habit.
“Once you start playing golf, it becomes difficult to get away from,” Mertz said. “I started playing when I was 26 years old, and I have loved it ever since.”
“Boyd plays about 250 rounds each year,” Vanbuskirk added. “You can find him on the course every day, rain or shine.”
His commitment to playing golf has impressed those at Bucknell.
“Boyd is a tough old bird who loves to play golf,” Brian Kelly, Bucknell’s golf professional, 60, of Lewisburg, Pa., said. “There are some days where I find him playing rounds of gold in the freezing cold while everyone else is at home in the heat. His passion for the game is remarkable.”
— Justin DeLisio
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.