Golf Ontario is pleased to announce the 2023 inductees to the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place at Wooden Sticks Golf Club in Uxbridge, Ontario on May 2nd. There will be two inductees in the Builder category, one in the Player category, and one recipient of the Lorne Rubenstein Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has been associated with a recognized Ontario media organization for major contributions to golf in Ontario.
Newly appointed CEO Kyle McFarlane, no stranger to this important celebration shared his thoughts on the 2023 inductees saying, “The OGHF induction ceremony is such a special event to kick off the golf season in Ontario each year, and we are pleased to return to Wooden Sticks in early May to celebrate the occasion with members of our community. The contributions and accomplishments of Audrey, Bob, Garry and Rick to the sport of golf here in Ontario are each extraordinary in their own way. I look forward celebrating Hall of Fame members, past and present, and the history and tradition of our great sport.”
Bob grew up in Victoria B.C. and enjoyed playing many sports including Baseball, Soccer, Hockey etc., but became “hooked on golf “at age 12. Within a few years he became a champion at the Junior, Amateur (at the Gorge Vale G.C.) and Collegiate (at the University of Oregon) levels, winning numerous events before turning Professional in 1975 to “follow the dream”.
Bob played numerous Tours around the world for the next 11 years, including the Canadian; Australian; NZ; Asian; South American Tours, as well as events in the US, winning The Windsor Charity Classic (Canadian Tour 1981) and The Vermont State Open (1984) as well as numerous other professional events. The culmination of his playing career came when he successfully qualified (earned his card) to become a member of the PGA TOUR in 1981.
In 1985 the members of The Canadian Tour’s Player Association elected Bob as President. After a year in this volunteer position, the Board of Directors asked him to become the first Executive Director and as the Tour developed he became the first commissioner after he incorporated The Canadian Tour in 1989. After 8 years of building the Canadian Tour to an internationally respected level, he then asked Dick Grimm to become his replacement in 1993.
Bob then pursued the educational side of golf by conducting clinics; exhibitions; golf schools; golf exercise programs; sport psychology programs, individual and group lessons. He wrote the “Educational Program” for the Canadian Tour and during his 25 years as a Professor and Director of Player Development for Humber College, he wrote the Professional Golf Management, Manual/Textbook for his classes.
Bob is enjoying his 24th year as The Director of Golf Instruction at the Oakdale G&CC. Apart from developing and executing the numerous teaching programs for the Juniors, Men and Women members, Bob, with the enthusiastic support of the Oakdale membership, also conducts a number of First Tee programs, designed as community outreach programs to help children learn life skills by learning to play golf.
Some major accomplishments are:
-Voted “Top 50 Canadian Golf Instructors” by The National post 2005
-Honoured as a “Life Member” by The Canadian Tour 2007
-Received the “Lori Kane, Community Leader Award” from Golf Canada 2022.
Garry has been covering golf for The Hamilton Spectator since the mid 1970s and covered his first Canadian Open for Radio station CKOC in 1968.
He has also written articles for ScoreGolf, Golf Canada, Pro Shop, Ontario Golf, Hamilton Golf and for magazines in the United States and Germany.
He has served on the selection committee of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, PGA of Canada Hall of Fame, and Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.
He was a founding director of the Hamilton Halton Junior Golf Tour which began in 1984. He is currently on the board and works events doing, registration, scoring, spotting and even rules.
He was a founding director and currently sits on the board and is treasurer of the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year award which choses the Athlete of the Year for the Hamilton-Halton area.
He was a founding director and is currently the chair of the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame.
He was a past director of the Stanley Thompson Society and previously sat on Golf Canada’s Heritage Committee.
Garry was a founding director, a past president and past secretary/treasurer of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada and is currently on the board as an advisor.
In 2015 Garry was honoured with the Lorne Rubenstein Award by the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.
He won the American Hockey League’s James H. Ellery Memorial Award for media coverage of the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2001-2002.
He won a Score award for golf coverage in 1981.
Garry is also a three-time winner of Gymnastics Ontario’s media award for coverage of gymnastics.
The Golf Journalists Association of Canada gave him their 2021 Dick Grimm Award for ‘significant lifetime achievements to Canadian Golf.’
Garry was also a recipient of Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award in 2022.
And his golf game has never improved.
The late Audrey Bendick-Akins (1967- 2022) of Windsor enters the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in the Player Category. She captured many titles provincially, nationally and internationally throughout her career and is truly the definition of not only a champion, but a hall of famer.
Audrey Bendick-Akins began her competitive career at the age of 8 under the mentorship of her father, John Bendick, and coach Nick Panasiuk of the formerly known Hydeaway Golf Course. She won her first tournament, the Little People’s Golf Championships, at age 8 and many others followed. A few years later she was awarded the Marlene Stewart Streit Golf Award (age 12), and the Burnett award (age 13). In 1980 she won the Canadian Junior Golf Championship as the youngest player to ever do so at age 13, followed by another victory in 1985 at age 18.
Bendick-Akins represented Ontario at the Canadian Junior Championships where she claimed victories from 1980-1982, received the Ontario Achievement Award for Sports three times, and was awarded Windsor’s Kinsman trophy which is presented to the Athlete of the Year (1983). Throughout her time as a junior she steadily ranked in the top ten within the country. Internationally, she won the Michigan Junior Girls Championship (1981 & 1982) and competed in the World Junior Golf Championships in San Diego, CA finishing second in the international division and 10th overall.
In 1986 and 1988 she claimed the Ontario Amateur title where her talent led her to representing Canada on the global scale. In 1986 she was a member of team Canada at the British Amateur Championships, in 1987 she went on to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand as a member of team Canada, and in 1988 she played in the World Amateur Golf Team Championship in Stockholm, Sweden where she was Canada’s lowest scorer.
From 1984-1989 Audrey accepted a full ride scholarship to the University of Oklahoma where she majored in education. She served as captain of the golf team and had a standout career at OU where she remains the 4th ranked overall golfer in school history. She had multiple top ten finishes in the Big 8 conference, played herself into the top 40 of the NCAA individual rankings and was a medalist at many tournaments throughout her time as a Sooner. She excelled in school as she did in golf, being named a two time Academic All-American while at OU. After obtaining her Bachelor of Education degree she returned home to further her credentials with a Master’s in Education at the University of Windsor. Following her studies she became a golf professional teaching out of Tecumseh Golf Centre. She went on to compete in a few Futures Tour tournaments between 1990-1992. She retired a couple years later as she became a beloved mother and secondary school teacher. During her time in education she acted as the golf coach for both the girls and boys teams for over 13 years and volunteered at numerous local and provincial tournaments.
As a Windsor-Essex pioneer of golf, Audrey Bendick-Akins was inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Hall of Fame in 2001. Years later she made her return into the golf world, placing third in the Ontario Ladies Amateur while shooting the lowest gross score, and finishing fifth in the Canadian mid-am in 2015. She won multiple Michigan Mid-Amateur Championships (2016 and 2019), and she was nominated for the prestigious Windsor- Essex WESPY award in 2016 and 2017.
In February of 2020 Audrey was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer by the name of Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML). She battled into remission on multiple occasions, however she continually relapsed; another form of the cancer, Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia (AML) ultimately claimed her life on November 24th, 2022. During her battle she used the mental fortitude, resiliency and patience that she learned through the game of golf. In her sickness she wrote and published two books, Drive: How to Become an Elite Junior Golfer and Thrive – A Guide for Parents: How to Raise Elite Athletes, to encourage more youth to join and excel in the sport. She was incredibly honoured and appreciative of her induction into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.
Lorne Rubenstein Award
A founding member of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC) Rick Young is one of the country’s trusted voices on the game and matters relating to the golf industry’s equipment and business sectors.
Young’s 40 year career as a golf writer began in his hometown of Woodstock, Ontario on May 5, 1983 with his first column for the Daily Sentinel-Review. One of the newspaper’s longest tenured contributors his weekly column ran for 26 years.
An affiliation with Golf Ontario began in 1987 when Ken Mackenzie acquired Ontario Golf News and retained Young as a freelance writer to provide profiles and features. Since then his work has appeared in numerous publications across Canada and the United States including SCOREGolf Magazine, MyGolfSpy, Toronto Star, Golf Business Canada, GreenMaster Magazine, Golf Canada Magazine, Pro Shop Magazine, Maclean’s, LINKS Magazine, Golf World, Golf Journal (USGA), Ontario Golf Magazine, GolfStyle, ClubLink Life, Fairways Magazine, London Free Press, the National Post and the Globe & Mail. He has also provided content for Golf Town, Matchplay Golf Marketing, RBC and the Province of New Brunswick.
Young has covered the Ryder Cup, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Presidents Cup, U.S. Amateur, RBC Canadian Open, CP Women’s Open as well as multiple Canadian and provincial amateur events. This year marked his 24th PGA Merchandise Show.
Recognizing his passion for golf equipment, Bob Weeks hired Young in 1999 to provide industry coverage as SCOREGolf’s equipment and business analyst. He continues in that role for the national publication and has been a panelist for SCOREGolf’s Top 100 and Top 59 public course rankings since inception.
A past member of the Golf Writers Association of America, Young’s belief in a national association of golf media helped form the foundation for the first incarnation of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada (1995-2000). Resurrected in 2006 Young assumed duties on the GJAC Board of Directors as President (2008-2011) followed by a third term in 2021-2022. He remains on the GJAC board as Immediate Past President and Vice-President of Outreach and Industry Relations.
Young is a six-time GJAC Writing Awards recipient and was recognized by Golf Ontario in 2009 for his contributions to the game. He has written two books – From Fifth to 59 to 2009: The 100 Year History of the Oxford Golf & Country Club and the 100 Year History of The Briars Golf Club – and is a frequent guest on golf talk radio shows and podcasts.
An advocate and supporter of municipal and public golf he was introduced to the game by his dad at the former Woodstock Golf Club when he was nine years old. He spent 41-years as a member of Craigowan Golf Club and now plays regularly at Tarandowah Golfers Club.
A graduate of the Business program at Fanshawe College in London Ontario Young, his wife Carol, and their daughters, Kirsten and Madisen continue to live in Woodstock, Ontario while frequenting Miramichi, New Brunswick during the summer.
About Golf Ontario
Golf Ontario is Ontario’s Provincial Sport Organization focused on enhancing participation, elevating performance and supporting the passion of golfers in Ontario. With over 100,000 individual members and 500 member clubs, Golf Ontario is one of the largest golf associations in the world. From rating courses and keeping the integral rules of the game intact, to growing the game at the grassroots level and hosting the best amateur tournaments in Canada, Golf Ontario is a passionate group dedicated to shaping lives through Golf.
About the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame
The Ontario Golf Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of extraordinary contributions and accomplishments in the game of golf in Ontario. Founded in 2000 by the Ontario Golf Association and the Ontario Ladies’ Golf Association, the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame is housed at Wooden Sticks Golf Club in Uxbridge.
For more information please contact:
Nick Taylor, Chief Marketing & Development Officer, Golf Ontario;