They said a last good-bye to Charlie Card on Saturday.
Family, friends and golf buddies gathered at the Lombardo Funeral Home on Niagara Falls Boulevard to pay their final respects to one of the best club golfers on the local scene. Card died on Jan. 9 at age 77 after being in ill health for the last year and a half.
Card was a retired school teacher in the Ken-Ton system, a one-time high school golf coach, an Air Force veteran and swimmer, but the lifelong Town of Tonawanda resident was also well-known as one of the best golfers ever turned out at the Sheridan Park Men’s Golf Club.
After coming over from the Brighton Park Golf Club, Card won three Sheridan club championships in the top division, Class AA. The last was in 2003 at age 66, the oldest winner in that division ever. He broke his own record he set in 1999 when he won the title at age 61. He won his first club championship in 1993. He once shot a 66 in the club championship.
When he was a little past his prime, Card turned to the senior division. He won the Sheridan Park seniors title in 2005, shooting a 72 scratch.
Card taught special education in the Ken-Ton schools. He had the teacher’s instincts – to impart knowledge to others. Although a fierce competitor on the golf course, with a unique stroke which was difficult to simulate, he was always ready give a tip to other golfers. Young golfers, especially those physically challenged, were his pet projects.
“He was a very good teacher of the game,” said Jim Mohan, himself a retired teacher, former high school golf coach, a former Sheridan club champion and one of Card’s many long-time friends and traveling companions.
“I can’t tell you how many people he helped in this area,” Mohan said. “He always did it voluntarily, always looking to help people with their game no matter what level they played. That was the thing that impressed me most about Charlie.”
Card was more than a good club player. He was a popular guest for invitationals at other clubs. Many times he teamed with the late Larry Dolloff, an old Buffalo State buddy, to play in the Clete Fox Masters Invitational at Transit Valley. Card was invited to play in the Porter Cup Senior Tournament and played in the prestigious League of the Great Lakes inter-city competition.
Card even gave the Champions Tour for senior pros a brief whirl. He qualified for the 1989 Senior Gold Rush in Rancho Murrieta, Calif., and according to PGA records earned $500.
He retired two years ago after serving many years as on the board of directors of the Buffalo District Golf Association, and he competed regularly in BDGA events.
He won the 62-69 year division of the BDGA Seniors Tournament in 2005. That same year he defeated Steve Sutton to win the Directors Cup at Sheridan Park and shot the 12th hole-in-one of his career. He teamed with Mohan to win the Western New York Public Links two-man best-ball in 2006.
In addition, he coached the golf team at Kenmore East for several years.