GOLF GAZETTE: Approaching 102, Mr. Levin stays young on the golf course

JAY DEMPSEY PHOTO | Jack Levin of Southold, who will turn 102 in January, still enjoys playing golf.

The poet Kenneth Koch wrote, “You aren’t just the age you are, you are all the ages you have ever been!”

Think about that for a minute. I like it. Maybe next week I’ll be a teenager. On second thought, what does this mean if you’re a centurion?

Jack Levin of Southold will turn 102 in January and you would never know it. Mr. Levin defies the aging calendar. In the world of golf, legendary golfer, Ben Hogan is referred to as “Mr. Hogan.” Jack Levin gets an equally respectful “Mr.” from me in this column.

Mr. Levin drives himself to Island’s End Golf and Country Club in Greenport once a week during the warmer months to meet up with his brother, Art, for a round of golf. I’ve seen Mr. Levin on the course and he’s amazing. “I shoot my age most of the time,” Mr. Levin told me.

An original member of Island’s End, Mr. Levin began playing golf when he was in his 50s. He started his business career operating Jack’s Shack on the North Road in Southold. As a kid, I thought Jack’s Shack had the best food in the world. No offense to mom’s home cooking, but, boy, where those hamburgers good.

Mr. Levin went on to own and operate Soundview Restaurant and Motel which remains in his family today. It wasn’t that long ago, while driving past the motel early in the morning, I would see Mr. Levin carrying sheets and towels, getting rooms ready for the day’s guests. The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Jack Levin.

Attending an awards ceremony at Island’s End this fall, Mr. Levin was surprised when he received an honorary membership to the club.

“I enjoy playing golf,” Mr. Levin said. “It’s good exercise.”

If Jack Levin is an example of what playing golf can do for you, we should all hope to play for a long, long time.

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS I have a few suggestions for those of you looking to find holiday gifts for the golfer in your life. Even with the overwhelming distractions we deal with today, some of us actually still find time to read books. Here is some reading your golfer should enjoy.

“In Golf Sonnets,” by James Long Hale (Thom Ward Publishing). Hale shares amusing Shakespearean sonnets about golf such as, “The nineteenth hole … where any reason to procrastinate is welcomed as a virtue, not a vice.”

Golf legend Gary Player’s book, “Don’t Choke” (Skyhorse Publishing). This book reveals what it takes to achieve success when the pressure is on, in golf and in life. Player explains how and why he became a champion and what it takes to be a winner.

The New York Times best selling author, Tom Callahan, has tackled the tough subject of the Tiger Woods allegations that shocked the sports world. In “His Father’s Son: Earl and Tiger Woods” (Gotham Books) Callahan seeks to know the son by studying the father.

And one last gift idea. How often have you heard your golfer say: “I really should take a lesson. Maybe next year.”? A perfect way to start the 2011 golf season is by taking a lesson. Give your golfer a gift certificate for a lesson or two with his favorite teaching professional. They’ll be thanking you for the rest of the year.

TEE TIMES I bumped into WLNG’s “Morning Man” Gary Sapiane, a few weeks ago in Cutchogue after Gary had just finished a round at the Cedars Golf Club with the Sunday morning crew which included Bob Scott and Rod Stankewicz. Having played little golf this year, Gary was very excited as he told me about his two pars and the good round he had played.

The final holes-in-one for the year at Cedars belong to Carl Auger, who aced hole No. 1; Ted Burks, who holed out on the ninth hole; and Gregory McGann, who made his ace on No. 2. All are now enshrined on the famous hole-in-one wall of fame at the Cedar’s clubhouse.

Happy holidays!