There's a reason Semiahmoo golf pro Jeff Coston continues to excel with age.
He loves what he does.
"Being nearly 57 years old, I feel like I've never been a better player. I'm like Benjamin Button," said Coston, comparing himself with the main character from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - a 2008 movie in which the protagonist becomes physically younger with age.
Coston is, in fact, getting older, but his scorecards and recent tournament victories prove age is simply a number.
He won the Washington Senior Open on June 7 and won the Senior Oregon Open Invitational on Thursday, Aug. 2. During the 2012 PGA Professional National Championships in late June, Coston finished sixth - a place strong enough to qualify him for the 94th PGA Championship, which is Thursday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 12, at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.
Coston's trip to The Ocean Course will be his 16th golf major.
"Not too many guys are in major tournaments nearing 57 years old," Coston said. "If I'm not the oldest, I have to be in the top two or three. I just look back at longevity. In the game of golf, you can always continue to get better and play for a long time. I have been inspired by guys like Tom Watson, Bob Ralston and Lon Hinkle. I just try to savor all my opportunities."
While the The Ocean Course is regarded as one of United States' toughest courses to master, Coston has enjoyed a few of his greatest career achievements there.
During 2007's 68th Senior PGA Championship, Coston fired a 2-under-par 70 to finish in 19th place - a mark earning Coston low PGA Professional honors.
Coston also fared well at Kiawah Island in 2005, finishing in 17th place during the PGA Professional National Championships.
Despite his success, Coston is taking nothing for granted when he faces off against the top players in the PGA.
"I really like the golf course," Coston said. "I'm told it's the No. 1 hardest golf course in the United States. I'm sure the course for the PGA will be longer than the Senior PGA, so, you know, I'm just going to try to play one hole at a time and figure out how to play each hole. I'll work on my speed on the greens, wedge play, driving onto the fairway and being a one-shot player. I'll also have fun and bring a lightheartedness to it."
Coston said, as he ages, he is trying to soak up all the special golf moments he can. The PGA Championship will give Coston more memorable moments and allow him to spend time with some old friends.
"I've known Phil Mickelson since he was 14 years old," Coston said before sharing an old story about an encounter he had with "Lefty" in 1985 during the San Diego Open. "My first year on the PGA Tour, when (Mickelson) was 14, he held the sign (displaying the player's name and score) for me. At the end of my round he said, 'Mr. Coston, I'll never forget you.' Last year he came up to me (at the PGA Championship) and said, 'Mr. Coston, you're still doing it, man. You can play.'"
Though Coston hopes to play throughout the weekend, he's not putting too much pressure on himself.
"I just want to be the same guy and be myself," Coston said. "I want to have fun and play as freely as possible. Usually when I do that, other things fall into place."
Even though Coston is preparing for the PGA's final major of the season, he still finds time to help others improve their game at his Jeff Coston Golf Academy at Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club.
Wednesday, Aug. 1, marked the 18th year Coston has been working at the Blaine resort. He credits much of his success and longevity in golf to the strong partnership he's struck with those at Semiahmoo.
"I think the No. 1 thing in golf is that it has to be something you love," Coston said. "I love Semiahmoo. On Aug. 1, it was our 18th anniversary. That's a milestone for me, being at the same place for 18 years. It's been a great marriage for me, and hopefully that goes the same for them. (Semiahmoo) has really been good to me. I love what I do, and I have a passion for it. I enjoy practice. I enjoy getting better whether it's being a better husband, dad or a friend. I want to live a high quality life."
The entire golf world recently got a glimpse of what makes Coston's world so special to him.
He was profiled on a CBS sports special, "The Road to the PGA Championship," which aired on Channel 7 Sunday, July 29, and on the Golf Channel Wednesday, Aug. 1. The show will re-air once more on the Golf Channel at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6.
The program - narrated by Vern Lundquist - features footage of Coston teaching at his golf academy as well as clips of him at home playing basketball with his son, Kyle Coston. Coston said the TV special is something he can pass down to younger Coston generations.
"They came out here on July 2 and were following me at golf school," Coston said. "They talked with Mike Bender, who was the 2009 PGA Teacher of the Year, and Semiahmoo PGA Golf Director Brett Eaton. They came to my home, and we played some basketball. It's something to have for a long time as a legacy for my kids, grandkids and family to come."
Coston will have another piece to add to his golf legacy when he begins play at Kiawah Island this week.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.