Last fall, we shared with you that one of our residents and regulars at our Hilton Head golf courses shot his age or better for an amazing 1000th time. Leo Luken, who at the time was 95, came to play golf with us about three times every week. We are saddened to inform you that he passed away in his sleep on August 2 at the age of 96.
Leo made national headlines with his golf feat, showing up on the Golf Channel and PGA.com, as well as in USA Today. You can watch the Golf Channel interview with Leo below:
Leo didn’t even begin playing golf until the age of 45 and didn’t shoot his age for the first time until he was 71. In 2005, he participated in the Shoot Your Age Championship in Florida, which aired on CBS. There he shot his age for the 530th time, actually bettering his age by six shots. Leo won the tournament, besting even Arnold Palmer and Gary Player!
Originally from Indiana, Leo was also an avid baseball player and served as a pitcher in Fort Wayne, Ind. He holds a spot in the Kentucky and Indiana sports halls of fame.
In the Hilton Head Island Packet, our Director of Golf Instruction Doug Weaver said, “As an athlete, he was as intense a competitor as I've ever known. He's the type of guy that if he would have learned golf at 20, he would have been a competitive pro."
“I want people to remember how fortunate we all were to be around him,” said Weaver. “If I played golf with him 20 times in 10 years, it wasn't enough. He had an Arnold Palmer type of charisma."