Gary Player turned 81 this year. However, the Grand Slam golfer remains young at heart, and, in many ways, in body—he still works out harder than most people half his age. Player holds a number of records that prove that age really is just a number. In his early career he set a few records for being the youngest to achieve various professional milestones.
More recently, he has set several records for being the oldest. Player’s focus on diet, fitness and health have kept him young throughout the years and his longevity and energy are testimonies to a healthy lifestyle.
When Gary Player won the Open Championship in 1959 he was the youngest to win in the modern era. At the age of only 23 Player had captured his first Major Championship win. He continued to add on Majors, winning the 1961 Masters and the 1962 PGA Championship, and just 6 years after winning his first major, Player completed his career Grand Slam at the age of 29 by winning the 1965 US Open. At the time Gary Player was the youngest to have won the career Grand Slam and the only non-American. He was later joined in the Grand Slam club the next year by Jack Nicklaus.
Gary Player started his career strongly and achieved much at a young age. He kept in shape and continued to have success and to set records for decades. Player scored the first ever 59 in tournament play at the 1974 Brazilian Open at the age of 39. Player also credits his physical health and fitness for helping him to be the only golfer to have a career Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours. He was also the oldest player to make the cut at the Masters at the age of 62 in 1998, the second oldest winner on the Champions Tour when he won the 1998 Northville Long Island Classic, and was the oldest athlete to appear nude on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue in 2013. Player bared all at the age of 78, demonstrating that aging is what you make of it.
Player continues to break records on and off the golf course today. Just earlier this year at the age of 80, he became the oldest person ever to ace during the Masters Par 3 Contest. Player made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole, the 31st hole-in-one of his career and his 4th at the Masters Par 3 Contest, another record in itself.
What is Player’s secret to aging so well? The Black Knight maintains a stringent fitness routine that includes doing 1,000 crunches and sit-ups, pushing 300 pounds with his legs, and running on the treadmill. Additionally, Player watches his diet, limiting his intake of meat, dairy, sugar and other junk foods. Instead, Player tries to include as many fruits and vegetables in his diet as possible. Most notably, he begins each day with his green juice which includes spinach, broccoli, kale, and more. He also preaches the importance of not overeating for your activity level: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. You don’t put gas in your car when you park it in the garage at night.”
Player plans to continue to work hard to achieve his goals. His most recent is a dream of raising $100 million for children’s charities around the world through The Player Foundation and the Gary Player Invitational Series of Pro-Am events. With his drive, enthusiasm, health and energy, he’s well on his way to achieving that goal and we wish him the best of luck.