William Thompson

Dr. William Thompson (left) stands with Coosa Country Club Golf Pro Brian Albertson after shooting an 80 on his 94th birthday. (Kristina Wilder / RN-T)

Dr. William Thompson is thankful for his good health.

As usual for a Wednesday, Thompson was playing golf at Coosa Country Club on Nov. 16, which just happened to be his 94th birthday. He shot an 80 on the par-72 course. Thompson said he usually scores about 90.

“I had a pretty good day that day,” he laughed.

According to club golf pro Brian Albertson, Thompson is quite the golfer.

“He’s been a member here for 60 years,” he said. “He plays on average about three days a week. He’s a strong player in Northwest Georgia. Everyone knows him from his career or from golf. He’s a true gentleman.”

Thompson, a retired doctor who lives in Calhoun, grew up in Fairmount. His love of golf started early.

“I’ve played for 80 years,” he said. “There was no course in Fair­mount, but my uncle was interested in all sorts of sports and he gave me a set of clubs and some balls.”

Thompson found an unorthodox practice method, he admits.

“I would go out in the pasture and hit balls and then go hunting for them,” he laughed. “My uncle would take me to whatever courses he could. I just loved the game. I studied it all my life, like I studied medicine.”

Thompson said he enjoys golf because it is a lifelong game.

“You can play it no matter what age, and you can develop strong friendships with people,” he said. “It’s a great game.”

He has traveled all over the world and played on some interesting courses, he said.

“I’ve played in India, Scotland, France,” he said. “I played in France after World War II. After the war was over, they let soldiers play in France.”

He said he really enjoyed courses in Scotland.

“They were challenging,” he said. “It’s windy there and it’s a cold wind.”

He said he has been truly blessed.

“I have more time to do it now.” I have a group I play with now and you just sign up and play with everyone.”

He admitted he did not expect his windfall score on his birthday.

“I was not thinking I would do that,” he said. “Actually, at the last hole, I thought I’d get a 79, but then I had to putt again.”

He also didn’t do so well the next time he played.

“I guess that 80 was truly my birthday present,” he said.

Thompson said he is also thankful for his wife’s patience.

“If you love to golf, you need a wife who understands,” he said. “Ouida, she just tells me to go on and play. My momma used to do that, too. She’d tell me I couldn’t play on Sundays, but then my uncle would come by and she’d tell me just to ’go on then.’”

Thompson began his practice in downtown Calhoun in the 1950s. He is married to Ouida and they have three sons that went to school locally in Calhoun and Gordon County.