Sport: Ancient & Honorable

An old man of 94 stood on the first tee of New York's Apawamis Club. Nathaniel Vickers cleared his throat, bowed his shaggy white head and socked a golf ball —klonk. Far and true down the fairway flew the ball. "You're not going to play 18 holes, are you?" a bystander asked. "I came here," snapped Oldster Vickers, snipping each word as though he had scissors in his teeth, "with that i-dea."

Golfer Vickers—a British-born architect now living at Forest Hills, L.I.—was understating the case: he intended to play 36. He was one of the 321 veterans competing in the U.S. Senior...