Evelyn Haesloop

Evelyn Haesloop looks up before teeing off at Skylinks Golf Course last week. She will be 100 years old on Jan. 30.

Evelyn Haesloop learned to play golf more than 60 years ago, in the late 1950s.

The Long Beach native will celebrate her 100th birthday this Jan. 30, and says she'll likely play golf. After all, she plays two or three full rounds (18 holes) of golf every week.

"I joined the women's club at the South Course (Recreation Park South, the nine-hole executive course) in 1975," Evelyn said last week before teeing off at Skylinks Golf Course, where she also is a member. "I've played pretty much every week since then. I've played more since my husband died in 2000."

Evelyn currently is a member of three clubs — Skylinks, Lakewood and South Course. The nine-hole course turns into an 18 for club members by going around the course twice.

In each club, Evelyn has become an inspiration to the other members. At Skylinks, she has her own reserved parking spot as an "esteemed member."

"They just renewed my (driver's) license for two more years," Haesloop said proudly.

"She's just a hoot," said Gail Wassil, who plays with Evelyn at the South Course and Skylinks. "She's always happy, easy-going. And she doesn't believe in excuses. No excuses around her."

Evelyn was born in Long Beach on Jan. 30, 1921. But her parents were Canadian, and they moved the family back to Alberta when she was 4 years old. She grew up there and graduated from the University of Manitoba before coming back to Long Beach in 1946.

She worked as a dietician at Children's Hospital until she met her eventual husband, Fred Haesloop. They married in 1953. He worked as an aircraft engineer at McDonnell Douglas and enjoyed camping and sailing with Evelyn.

"We used to go to Catalina in our 26-foot sailboat," Evelyn said. "We had fun."

These days, much of her life revolves around golf. She also supports The Rising Tide, a nonprofit helping children in need through her church, Covenant Presbyterian Church.

"She just has this great attitude about life," said Sandi Iverson, another of Evelyn's golf partners. "She says, ‘I'm just happy to be here.' She's definitely changed my attitude about golf."

According to Ann Jenney Burke, another member of the women's clubs, Evelyn broke 100 five times in 2020, and played 96 rounds. She won the trophy for most rounds played with the South Course Women's Golf Club (SCWGC).

Several members said Evelyn's approach to golf — "It's a game. Play it like a game." — has impacted many attitudes.

When asked why she liked golf so much, Evelyn said, "I get to visit people. I get some exercise, and I get to be outside." She waves her arm at the clear blue sky and the green of the course. "Look at this. How could it not be fun?"

Is golf her secret to a long life?

"I don't know, I've just got good genes," she replies. "One of my brothers is 96, and the other brother is 88."

Evelyn currently is co-chair of the SCWGC Club Championship Tournament later this month. Other club members say it will be played in her honor.

Last week, she cut the interview short.

"It's my turn," Evelyn said as she turned and teed up.

"That's about my spot," she added, after hitting her drive around 80 yards down the fairway. "Here we go."

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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