Golf is in Carol Niemi’s blood, and she expects for it to be until her time on Earth is through.
Niemi is almost 75, but not quite. “November,” she said. “My doctor says I should plan on living another 20 years so I’m gonna be golfing another 20 years.”
Her great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle were all head groundskeepers for golf courses in her native Wisconsin dating back to 1906.
“My dad grew up on a golf course,” said Niemi, who now lives in Midland, Mich. “But none of them thought the girl would get the bug, so nobody taught me how to play properly. But I still play.”
She said she plays at least 18 holes, often more, every day — “except today,” she said, referring to her Thursday at the Barbasol Championship. Her son, who lives in Kentucky, at Christmas gave her tickets to the first regular-season PGA Tour event to come to the state since 1959.
Niemi spent most of the day following Brittany Lincicome, the first woman to play in a PGA event since 2008 and the sixth overall. She did not know about her participation until this week but was “pleasantly surprised” to see her competing.
Most of Niemi’s playing partners are men with whom she used to work. She’s treated with ample respect on the course, and was happy to see Lincicome receive the same in her PGA debut.
“I was waiting there by the last hole with a gentleman, he had his cap and he was gonna get her to autograph that,” Niemi said. “Nobody else’s name was there but he wanted her autograph. No sexist comments at all today.”