HILTON HEAD, Sc. (WSAV) – They call him “Golf Daddy” and the “Godfather of Golf” because he’s been playing at the RBC Heritage since it started in 1969… but he’s not a pro.
Nelson Carswell is pushing 87 years old, and he’s competed in every Pro-Am at the RBC Heritage for the past 49 years.
“The very first.. I was extremely nervous, at least for the first hole or two,” said Carswell, “Back then if I was playin’ good, to at least see how polished they really were compared to how good I was.”
But today, Carswell says “It feels like I’m just a regular fella and they’re tolerating me,”
From Dublin, Georgia, he’s actually a pediatrician.
His daughter, Edyie Webb says, “If you can’t find him at the office, we call it at home, the other home is his golf course at Dublin Country Club.”
Wednesday he played on Aaron Braddeley’s team, but his real team was on the other side of the rope, his family, who call themselves the Carswell Crew.
“This tournament has been the highlight of his life,” said his wife, Betty Ann Carswell, “I enjoy the joy that he gets.”
Aside from his wife of 63 years, golf is his other longtime love.
“Dad’d find me out with some clubs when I was ten… and anytime he’d play golf, I went out to chip and putt,” Carswell said.
He even played on Arnold Palmer’s team back in the 1980’s.
“He wore cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat, spike shoes,” said his son, Ken Carswell, “And as they were playing, Arnold asked him, ‘You know Doc, do you always play in these?’ And my father turned around and looked at him and says, ‘Well not when I play tennis.”
He was never quite as good as Arnold, but they still call him a legend around this course.
“It just makes me happy…. It makes me feel that I’m lucky at any age to keep pushing the ball around,” said Carswell.
And he says he’s determined to make 50 next year.