The Lady Birdies and Rose Bensman (center, dressed in white).ALTON - Rose Bensman spent her 101st birthday the way she spends every Thursday morning: on the golf course.

Bensman has been golfing since she was 18 years old. Now 101, she still golfs three times a week at Rock Springs Golf Course. She has multiple holes in one and she remains the only woman to be inducted into Alton’s Golf Hall of Fame. Her passion for golf is simple; she loves it.

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“If I’m walking, I’m golfing,” Bensman said. “This is God’s world out here. It really is.”

Bensman’s father bought her first set of golf clubs for $15 in the 1940s. She quickly developed a love for the sport. Over the years, she worked at the Robert P. Wadlow Municipal Golf Course and a local drugstore until she was 91.

“It’s just something that my dad gave me the clubs to go try and here I am,” she explained. “I started here when I was about 18 years old and I’m still doing it…I’ve met some wonderful people playing.”

This includes her Lady Birdies golf league. The Lady Birdies meet every Thursday morning for a scramble. On Thursday, June 20, 2024, they were also planning a birthday party to celebrate Bensman’s birthday on June 23.

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Fran Eagan, Bensman’s friend and a member of the Lady Birdies, helped organize the party. As the Lady Birdies prepared to golf, they spoke about how sweet Bensman is. Last year, Eagan created a quilt on which the golfers could write messages for Bensman. She said that all of the messages had a similar theme — Bensman’s kindness.

“Oh my gosh, 101 years old and still golfing. She’s such an inspiration,” Eagan said. “You wouldn’t find anybody any better.”

Every morning, Bensman says a prayer for the Lady Birdies and goes to church before driving herself to the golf course. Her love for the sport and these ladies is as strong as ever.

At 101, what’s Bensman’s secret to a good, long life? Her answer is simple.

“It’s nobody but the Good Lord,” she said.

Happy Birthday, Rose Bensman.

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