Jo Williams inspires Oakwood Lady Niners

Ann Rounthwaite

Jo Williams, at 95 years of age, exemplifies the spirit of the Oakwood Lady Niners Golf Association!

Jo Williams, at 95 years of age, exemplifies the spirit of the Oakwood Lady Niners Golf Association!

Jo Williams exemplifies the spirit of the Oakwood Lady Niners Golf Association. A dedicated golfer, she has won the league’s Developer’s Cup and State Medallion competition and has come within a stroke of being club champion, but her unvarying message to others is to enjoy the company and the game. If you enjoy the company and the game, please join the OLNGA for nine holes in a supportive, fun group on Tuesday mornings. You can call Pattie Wigton 480-895-7123 for information.

In fact, Jo’s cheerful attitude to life and her warm interest in others suggests that this has been her approach to life as well as to golf. The youngest of 11 children, Jo was a “preemie” baby born in Portland in 1918 during the influenza epidemic. She grew up in Portland to manage a neighborhood drugstore, a community resource in those days that offered a soda fountain and accepted utility bill payments in addition to dispensing pharmaceuticals. She worked until her marriage. In 1955, she and her husband moved their four children to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where they established a successful commercial construction company. In 1978 they became snowbirds, building a home in Sun Lakes Country Club and later constructing the home in Cottonwood where she lives today. Jo remained a snowbird for five years after her husband died, taking care of the business in Idaho, and then became a full time Sun Lakes resident. She travels in the summer to visit her children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Jo began golfing in her 40’s, initially with her husband on the Sun Lakes course and then at Palo Verde. When Oakwood opened its first nine hole course, the Palms, she would play it twice to get 18 holes. An early member of the OLNGA, she golfed several times a week in a variety of mixed and ladies’ foursomes. Jo learned by playing. She never used a practice range, but regular play served her well. Today, at 95, she still wins prizes for putting and coming closest to a target and does well in the GEMS division of the Niners where golfers play a shorter game, teeing off from the 150 yard marker. Inspired by Jo’s warm, supportive friendship and her cheerful encouragement of other golfers as well as her longevity of membership, the OLNGA honored Jo by naming its low gross trophy after her.

There were only two scored matches in May. On May 6 in a Lakes game counting two low nets Hazel Ludwig, Edna Joss, Karen Kenyon and Sheila Bossio came first; Julie Schneider, Margaret Johns, Regina Wegman and Pat Stead second; and Bea Cannon, Betty Perry, Barbara Stewart and Susan Meers third. On May 20 in a low gross game using silver tees, Cora Levensky led Flight 1, with Pat Stead second and Kathy Chebuhar third. Barbara Stewart came first in Flight 2, followed by Julie Schneider second and Karen Kenyon third. Hazel Ludwig was first in Flight 3, Dottie Meade and Clarisse Zornes second and Rachel Enloe third.

The IronOaks Golf Committee is in the process of adding forward or silver tee boxes to encourage less experienced golfers by increasing their chances of success and to permit senior golfers like Jo Williams to continue playing as their driving distances decrease. Forward tees have been installed on the Lakes and Sonoran courses and will be part of the Palms course renovation currently underway. This effort to make golf at Oakwood inclusive is consistent with “Tee It Forward” programs being adopted throughout the United States and a scorecard with silver tee yardage is being developed. Oakwood’s golf leagues are deciding whether and how to use the silver tees. Some leagues will have an age requirement for using them; others may adjust members’ handicaps to reflect the shortened distances of play. The OLNGA tried out the silver tees on May 20 as part of its planning process.