Nifty nineties thriving at Whitefield

IT is often said that golf prolongs active life and this is so true in many clubs where the OBE’s (over bloody eighties) and nonagenarians and other golfing organiations (nifty nineties) continue to thrive and grow in numbers.
There must be something in the Whitefield air in Manchester that keeps a group of five golfers all over 90 years of age with a combined age of 454 years going strong.
Founded in 1932 Whitefield Gold Club itself will be 90 years old in 2022!
Some may call golf a good walk spoiled but those that play the game are having the last laugh. The guys all said that golf is a challenging but highly rewarding game in terms of fitness and mental health.
The Whitefield nifty nineties have a great connection with the club with strong family ties as well as roles they have fulfilled in the club
The nifty nineties are Alan Barr (90), joined the club in 1946 and retired as an accountant just four years ago at 86. Alan’s father Samuel was one of the clubs original auditors in the 1930’s.
Irvine Caplan, (90), joined in 1961 and worked in the clothing trade as well as industrial property. Irvine is very well known in golfing circles in the Greater Manchester area. He was not only the club Captain in 1994, he has also been President of the NWMGA (North West Manchester Golf Association), Captain of Golf Club Secretaries, Captain of Manchester Golf Captains as well as having many other positions in the golfing world.
Among these are The Old Manchester Golf Club of which he was very honoured to be Captain in in 2011 – it is the second oldest Golf Club in England based on Kersal Moor and just a bit older than Irvine!
He lives by the side of the course and has his own buggy entrance from his garden!
Ike Alterman, (93), joined in 1972 and worked as a jeweller in Manchester. Ike’s journey into golf is certainly one the most incredible stories of survival. Born in Ozarow in Poland in 1923 as a young man Ike spent his life being transported to 5 different concentration camps, including Buchenwald, Theresienstadt, Birchenau and Auschwitz. Eventually having lost all of his family in the camps, he came to England in 1945 as a Windermere Boy when 300 orphaned young men were airlifted to the Lake District. His story is an inspiration and the members are fascinated and inspired by his resolve. Ike still has regular lessons trying to perfect his swing.
Brian Abrams, (91) joined in 1947 and worked in the motor trade. Brian’s father was Syd Abrams, a founder member of the club. Syd and fellow founder and neighbour Joe Cassel wanted to join a golf club in the early 1930’s. As Jews in the 1930’s they were turned away from every other club in the area. Together with other local Jewish businessmen they bought a plot of land and set up the club that forms Whitefield Golf Club today.
Frank Sheldon (90) joined in 1961 and worked in the clothing business. He set up the senior section at the club which allows the over 55’s to play in their own weekday competitions. Frank is often at the club playing and practising. In July this year he became the over 75’s Champion beating stiffer and much younger opposition playing one of the best rounds of his senior career.
The Whitefield course, having been enhanced in the last six months is now regarded as one of the top courses in the North West of England. Many new members of all abilities have joined and it's not just seniors. Now boasting over 50 juniors and many in other age groups, the club are certainly proud of their Nonagenarians, who are definitely not the slowest players at the club!
Pictured left to right - Alan Barr, Irvine Caplan, Ike Alterman, Brian Abrams, Frank Sheldon

Geoff Garnett