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Last updated: February 16. 2013 8:47PM - 241 Views

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EXETER – The tee shots sometimes look more like hockey pucks, barely skimming the top of the grass before settling into a full roll.


They are followed by putts that seem to come up short, when they're not curling awry.


The guys who hit them don't seem to care.


They chuckle and shrug at these misadventures that would have left them livid on the golf course years ago.


But not now.


Not when you are 90 years old.


"To be out here at 90 playing golf," Sam Gelso said, "thank God we're out here playing."


They play about three times a week, Gelso and Lou Mischianti and Howie Rottman and Elmer Clemente – a group of 90-year-old World War II veterans from the Wyoming Valley known around Fox Hill Country Club as the "Super Seniors."


They were out there again Thursday, celebrating Mischianti's 90th birthday with another sunny, laughter-filled day that was par for their course.


"We've been friends," Mischianti said. "We're members here. This really keeps us active. And we get some exercise."


Maybe that's their secret to a long and fulfilling life.


Mischianti said he's been golfing for close to 50 years, and Gelso said he's been at the game for 52 years and once was an eight-handicap.


But none of them really keep score anymore.


"I shot a 42 on the front (nine), about a 49 on the back," Mischianti said.


"I shot about 100," Gelso figured.


Does it really matter?


No, not to this fearsome foursome.


They're more interested in the game of golf for a good time, some socialization and a chance to relive some past sports glory.


"We can't play football," Mischianti said.


"Can't play baseball," Gelso said.


None of them figured they'd be playing anything this long.


Gelso talks about his long list of ailments, starting with past heart operations.


"I'm bionic, really," Gelso said.


But he's got enough mettle to keep making it onto the golf course, even away from his Jenkins Township home.


It turns out Gelso and Mischianti are neighbors at their winter homes in Naples, Fla., and both golf together in that state as well.


"We continue playing golf when we get down there," Gelso said. "I said if I reach 70 I'd thank God. Then I said I'd like to reach 80. Then I said I'd like to see the turn of the century."


With 10 more years, they'll hit their own century mark.


"I went to Florida and said I'll be happy if I could have 10 years," Mischianti said. "I've been there 25."


They've all been long retired.


Mischianti, who was raised in Old Forge and lives in Plains, gave up his pants factory a quarter century ago.


Gelso, who grew up in Pittston and resides in Jenkins Township, made his living in the coal business and ran Brocca Garages until just 12 years ago.


"I got up one day and didn't feel like going to work," Gelso said. "I went to the office and gave the business to my kid brother and my secretary."


But in what they call their bonus years, all four of the 90s crew retains a zest for life.


"We're not couch potatoes," Mischianti said. "We're in pretty good shape."


Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get out of the golf cart.


"I felt my age a few times up here," Mischianti said.


And sometimes their shots veer off course.


But as long as they're out there, every swing feels great.


"When we do miss a shot," Mischianti said, "we always think of the guys who would love to be here and miss shots."


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