Golf Ontario Celebrates Women in Golf on International Women’s Day
We caught up with just some of the passionate girls and women across our community recently, and asked them to share what it means to them to be a woman in golf in Ontario, and if there was a moment in their golf experience that made a major impact on them.
We know that sport has the power to change lives. Girls who play golf tend to learn teamwork, self- reliance, resilience and confidence. All powerful skills that can create great leaders. I love watching young women playing golf and I’m very proud to be associated with both Golf Ontario and Golf Canada who provide so many opportunities for both young and older women to learn the sport, compete in the sport and to support the sport. We are so fortunate in Ontario to have many excellent female role models as players, as coaches, as volunteers, as golf course owners and even as golf course architects. And, as we all know, “if you can’t see, you can’t be it”. So on March 8th, let’s celebrate all that International Women’s Day means to golf and to all the opportunities that we have and can continue to create for female golfers. “Play like a Girl”
Growing up, media coverage for the LPGA tour was not very big. Only recently, it started to change and women in golf are beginning to gain the attention and recognition they truly deserve. As a woman in golf, I believe I have the opportunity to represent this community to further develop the game for future generations. The sport has given me many new opportunities to grow and learn invaluable skills. I hope to inspire other girls to become more involved in sports and continue the progress we are making for female athletes today.
I always felt like golf was always a very male dominated sport, I didn’t know many other female golfers and women’s golf was almost never broadcasted on TV. I’m glad to say that female golf is gaining its proper recognition now, and it means the world to me that I am a part of the generation where female golf is growing immensely. Golf means the world to me, and I am so proud that I am able to represent females in golf for Ontario. I hope that my fellow female competitors and I can continue being role models for the female golfers in the making.
Women in Sports have come a long way in the last few years with pay raises, more tournaments/tours, and more recognition on television. One of the sports that I have seen the most improvement in is golf. There is so much talent for women in sports and in golf right now, and I think we can prove to the world that we should be recognized. Women in Golf is an awesome movement to bring more women into this sport and help them feel belonged, and I think Golf Ontario is doing a great job by promoting this event every year and helping it grow. The more we can teach and get women interested in golf, the more we can help this sport grow in all parts of the world for everyone!
In my family tree, I am the only female athlete to have come far enough to play in provincial, national, and international tournaments at a junior age. I have tremendous support from my whole family and our friends. But, the most support I get is from my little cousins! They love to ask me about my tournaments and find out if I have won, and watch me play. They are so interested to learn and play golf when they grow up and go play in these high-level tournaments. When they ask me if I can teach them golf, and they say “I want to be like you when I grow up,” it inspires and motivates me to become better every day. I think to myself that one day I will be inspiring many more little girls to start playing golf, and grow this sport for the girls out there that can truly bring out their talent!
I joined my golf club shortly after graduating and I didn’t know a soul. Over the past 47 years, I have participated in many events, draws and competitions. I started without a handicap and I’m now a single digit golfer. Most importantly, I have met hundreds of people through golf some I include in my family circle. These lasting connections will last a lifetime.
I think it is very important for women in business to participate in golf. Personally I started to golf when I first started at a law firm and the men left to go golfing but the women were not invited. Many women miss out on important business development and mentoring opportunities when they don’t know how to golf. Learning to golf is not only enjoyable but can be very helpful in a woman’s longer term career objectives.
Golf has and continues to play a significant role in my life, in wonderful and meaningful ways. Starting back as a student, I fondly recall enjoying the landscape and sunshine of Ontario summers outdoors on the golf course on a beverage cart. In my professional career as a finance professional, I have had the fortune of occupying leadership roles at member golf facilities, and at present here at Golf Ontario. Our vision of Golf for All and mission to shape lives by connecting people to positive golf experiences are statements that resonate, and are congruent with my personal values and philanthropic desires. Our association’s path forward is exciting!
As a Woman working in Golf, I am driven to be a positive influence and supporter of others in both the accounting profession and in business management, particularly in sport. In my personal life, golf talk continues – my husband also works in the golf industry as a Turfgrass Professional, we met nearly 20 years ago on course, sharing many friends in this wonderful industry. Today we raise our two young children with an active lifestyle, and cherish the memories we make as a family together, often on the golf course.
For me this means so much more than just women playing the great game of golf. I would love to see in future years more women in the business of golf, whether that be reporting, managing or even creating golf courses. I am most excited to see Golf Ontario venture into creating hype over working in golf and all the benefits that come along with the game!
I will never forget the time when we hosted the 2019 University College National Championship and a players parents came up to me to say how their daughter couldn’t believe that it was a woman in charge of running the facility. Throughout the week I had many young ladies ask me about my career path and how I came to hold my position in golf. This was encouraging for me as they now can see someone who they can relate to in a senior leadership position as well as opening the conversation surrounding female empowerment in sport.
This International Women’s Day, Golf Ontario celebrates and acknowledges all the many contributions made by these young girls and women that are just a small part of the fabric of our golf community across Ontario. We thank them for being part of our mission to shape lives by creating positive golf experiences for all.
“Dress Like a Golfer” April 15 to kick off the Ontario golf season
UXBRIDGE – To help build excitement for the first day of the 2016 golf season, the Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) is encouraging golfers and non-golfers alike to dress like a golfer on April 15.
The GAO is encouraging everyone to wear their best golf attire and to take photos and tag the GAO on Twitter (@GAOGolf), Instagram (gaogolf) and Facebook (facebook.com/GAOGolf) or by using the hashtag #DressLikeAGolfer. The best dressed male and female will win a complete golf outfit courtesy of adidas golf Canada. Winners will be selected by the GAO and announced on April 17.
Also, watch for members of the GAO who will be at busy intersections throughout downtown Toronto, during the morning rush hour, wearing their golf gear and helping to search for the best-dressed golfers.
So on April 15 dress in your finest golf attire, snap a picture, tag the GAO on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and help kick off the 2016 golf season for your chance to win great golf clothing from adidas golf Canada!
Team Ontario edged by South Carolina at Can Am Junior Team Matches
Team Ontario edged by South Carolina at Can Am Junior Team Matches
MURRELS INLET, S.C.— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Team Ontario, along with Ontario members of Golf Canada’s National Development Squad, and other top Ontario juniors were in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina at the Wachesaw Plantation Club for the annual Can Am Matches, March 19-20, with the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.
The opening day, which featured team matches, was extremely successful for Team Ontario as they were able to win 72 points, keeping the match all-square heading into the final day of singles matches. While things were close on the second day, the hosts were able to hang on to win by a slim margin of 221.5 to 210.5. South Carolina took the singles matches 149.5 to 138.5.
What makes the matches unique is that unlike traditional match play, all matches are played in full and points are awarded for each hole.
GAO invites industry to be part of new Golf Advisory Teams
UXBRIDGE— In preparation for the spring launch of the Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) new Strategic Plan, significant upgrades to the existing Operational Committees have been announced. Many committees will be eliminated and replaced with Golf Advisory Teams that will help review the tactics outlined in the new strategic plan.
“Our goal is to align our feedback and advisory mechanism with our new strategic direction in an effort to build the sport together,” said Mike Kelly, GAO Executive Director. “We want to focus our volunteers’ time and support towards answering the question ‘how are we doing?’ and then integrate all feedback and recommendations to ensure our implementation plan is effective.”
The new Golf Advisory Team model will aim to support the GAO’s new Strategic Plan. The GATs will help to accomplish the goal of becoming the Best Provincial Sport Organization in Canada; innovate golf by providing industry leading services; drive more people to play the sport and encourage more children to get into the game; support golf clubs/facilities and all people involved in the game by aligning golf organizations, creating positive partnerships and ensuring that golf remains the most popular sport in Ontario.
The GAT’s input on the strategic plan comes at a vital time for the golf industry as it prepares for the return of the sport at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The GAO recognizes how important it will be to capitalize on the exposure of the sport and to channel that exposure into more people playing the game.
In 2016, there will be six GATs:
Golf Communities – local collaboration with all golf industry stakeholders to build the sport together;
Golf Services – designing, marketing and delivering services and benefits for facilities and golfers at all levels;
Next GEN – initiatives to build a stronger and larger base of junior golfers in Ontario;
Communication – how to effectively deliver relevant information to the right people, at the right time;
Championships – Ensure the delivery of world class Championship events;
Course Rating and Handicapping – effective course rating and handicapping services to our members;
Remaining intact are a trio of committees. The Hall of Fame, Scholarship and Team Selection committees will continue to operate in their current structure.
“Ultimately, the goal of restructuring our Operational Committees is to optimize support for our staff in the operation of our golf business as we further the objectives of the Government of Ontario’s Sport Plan,” added Kelly.
The GAO is currently seeking enthusiastic and motivated individuals from the Industry for its 2016 GATs. For more information on the specific GATs or to volunteer click here: https://gao.ca/volunteer/gat
Have a cup of Pipeline Coffee to support junior golf
When Charlie Burke created the Baden Coffee Company in 1997, he had two passions. One was for coffee, and the other for golf. For years he wanted to bring his two passions together and in 2015 he did. The result was Pipeline Coffee.
“The idea with Pipeline and with the name is that we are giving back to the grassroots of golf. Proceeds from every pound of coffee go back to junior golf. We are doing our small part. We love golf as a family and as a business. We sell to golfers, to people in the golf business and we just want to see it have success,” said Charlie.
The Burke family has been involved with golf in the province for a number of years. Charlie’s son Cameron grew up progressing through Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) programs and was the Canadian Amateur Champion in 2008 and 2009. He now competes on the Web.com Tour.
The Baden Coffee Company, located in the town of Baden, outside of Kitchener/Waterloo, supplies signature coffees to over 400 businesses in Southern Ontario. These included restaurants, colleges and universities, healthcare providers, retail outlets, cafes and of course golf courses.
While the Baden Coffee Company offers numerous coffees, there is something special about Pipeline. “We have developed a relationship with a family in Nicaragua that we buy directly from,” said Burke. “We were there twice in 2015 to establish the relationship with this family and make sure we pay more for the raw coffee so that their sustainability is better. Pipeline comes from that one farm, so it is going to be the same every year.”
Now with proceeds from each pound sold going back to junior golf initiatives, through the Golf Association of Ontario, Burke is hoping that he can get more of an on-course presence for the coffee so that it is not only available to drink at golf courses but also to purchase.
Baden Coffee Company has already made a $1,200 donation to the Golf Association of Ontario for the 2015 sales of Pipeline. “I hope the donation we give to the Golf Association of Ontario is only a start. We want to be able to give back to what we feel passionate about,” said Burke.
Pipeline has already made its way onto a handful of courses including: Westmount Golf & Country Club, Deer Ridge Golf Course, Innerkip Highlands Golf Club, The Ridge at Manitou and Cutten Fields Golf Club.
“Since switching, our members have been very complimentary towards Pipeline. The coffee has a much bolder taste that has been well received. We have also set up a donation box that will go to Junior Golf as well,” said Rishi Thakker, Food and Beverage Manager at Cutten Fields.
With that support as the starting point, Burke continues his goal to get more clubs to carry Pipeline for their members and guests to help give back to junior golf. “We are trying to take a passion we have with coffee, and a passion for golf and put the whole thing together,” added Burke.
Team Ontario takes four medals at FCWT Junior Golf Open
Coral Springs, Florida— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Team Ontario was in Coral Springs, Florida, Feb. 4-8, for their second winter training camp of 2016. The team took part in on course, physical and psychological training at the Heron Bay Golf Club before participating in the Future Collegians World Tour (FCWT) Junior Golf Open (Feb. 6-7) also at Heron Bay.
The event turned out to be a good one for Team Ontario as they took four out of the six medals including a clean sweep of the podium on the girls’ side. Richmond Hill’s Monet Chun walked away with the gold, London’s Isabella Portokalis took the silver and Halton Hill’s Alexandra Naumovski earned the bronze. On the boys’ side it was Langton’s Peyton Callens who picked up the bronze medal.
“We were pleased with the approach Team Ontario athletes took in this FCWT event, given the time of the year, and the challenging weather conditions on day two,” said GAO Director of High Performance Andrew Moss. “Seeing where our athletes are at in the middle of winter provides great feedback to the players, and their personal coaches. The strength of our girls’ team was very evident, and sends a great message to young female athletes across Canada. With the strength of our golf development programs, there are great opportunities for young female athletes to access great sport experiences and education opportunities, through golf.”
Chun, 15 from the Summit Golf & Country Club, got out to an early lead during the opening round and never looked back. She finished round one at four-under (68) notching five birdies on the day. She took a one-shot lead into the second round and finished the day at even-par (72) to win the tournament by six strokes at four-under (140).
Portokalis, 14 from West Haven Golf & Country Club, also had a strong opening round finishing at three-under (69). She did fall back on the second day with a four-over (77) but her first round had given her enough of a cushion that she was able to hang on for second at two-over (146).
As for Naumovski, 18 from the Brampton Golf Club, she had a consistent tournament finishing the opening round one-over (73), which included a hole in one at the par 3 11th, and a second round of two-over (74) to finish third with a total of three-over (147).
For Callens, 16 from the Delhi Golf & Country Club, he posted two steady rounds of 72 to card an even par (144) over the two-round event. Callens was the only player to break par in round two, with unusually cold, wet, and windy conditions.
“A big thanks to our Head Coach Reggie Millage, and our support team of Nick Martichenko and Judy Goss, for the work they did with our team members throughout the training sessions and competitive rounds,” added Moss.
Team Ontario will now prepare for the Can-Am Junior Team Matches (March 13-20), an annual competition with the South Carolina Junior Golf Association, in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
GAO partners with Bauder Media Group to provide members more Ontario golf news
UXBRIDGE— The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) and media partner Bauder Media Group are excited to announce the launch of the new Ontario Golf News (OGN) newsletter and website. The new publication, titled OGN Digest, will take the place of the quarterly OGN e-Magazine that GAO members were receiving along with the GAO’s monthly newsletter.
“The GAO is excited to build on our partnership with Ontario Golf News and launch this fresh and impactful Digest edition to the industry and those who love the play the sport across Ontario,” said Mike Kelly, GAO Executive Director. “With a new strategic plan, OGN Digest aligns perfectly with our objective to transform our relationship with golfers, clubs and stakeholders.”
OGN and the GAO’s monthly newsletters have been good communication tools for the past few years. Yet with the change in consumption of media, a new approach was needed. Members will now receive a weekly edition, beginning February 5 and will see it grow to a twice-a-week publication during the golf season from March 16 to September 30. With content being distributed on a timelier basis, readers will be more engaged than they were in the past.
“We’ve enjoyed the relationship we have built with the Golf Association of Ontario and their membership over the last three years,” said Jeff Bauder, President/Publisher of Bauder Media Group. “We’re excited to introduce this new communication platform for the golfers of Ontario. The expanded format will provide more timely updates on golf news and events from all around the province, better serving both the avid and casual golfer who call it home.”
In addition, with more frequent content, the new platform will provide more opportunity to inform members about current events/initiatives right before they are happening as opposed to weeks in advance.
In conjunction with OGN Digest, OGN is launching a new website that will be a hub for all golf stories across the province. The goal of the partnership is to not only have GAO content but provincial golf content available to Ontario golfers.
TORONTO — The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) held its Annual General Meeting on January 23, at Weston Golf & Country Club in Toronto. At the AGM, the 2016 Board of Directors was announced along with President and Vice President.
Returning in 2016 as President is Chris Osborne (Mississaugua G&CC) who becomes just the second president to serve a second term, the first being Past President Jim King (Westmount G&CC). Vice President for 2016 will be John Gallinger (Meadowbrook G&CC).
“It is an honour returning as GAO President for 2016,” said Osborne. “There are a number of important initiatives the association is involved with for the upcoming year including: our grassroots Barrie Initiative, Strategic Plan launch, continued work with Golf Canada on a new membership model and the World Junior Girls Championship to name a few.”
Returning to the Board of Directors in 2016 are: Kent Trainor (GAO Public Player), Ivy Steinberg (Granite GC), Peter Zakarow (Beacon Hall GC), Carol-Ann Goering (Toronto GC), Anthony Dunn (The Marshes), Mark Hayes (Rattlesnake Point) and OVGA Representative Tom Hossfeld.
The GAO welcomes three new members to the Board in 2016: Howard Atkinson (Toronto Hunt Club), Tim Cain (Glen Abbey GC) and Jason Harris (Orr Lake GC).
Also, three board members will be leaving after serving their terms. The GAO would like to thank outgoing Board members Alan Trivett (Glencarin GC), John Turner (GAO Public Player) and Jim King, who remains as Past President but is a non-voting Board member, for their dedication and service to the GAO over the years.
“I am pleased to welcome new board members Tim Cain, Howard Atkinson and Jason Harris while thanking departing members Jim King, John Turner and Alan Trivett for their dedication and friendship. Executive Director Mike Kelly and his staff have a clear mandate and I look forward to supporting them in these efforts. Sincere gratitude goes out to our volunteers, partners, athletes and participants, without them the GAO would not exist,” added Osborne.
GAO Officially Launches Golf Barrie Community Golf Initiative
BARRIE — The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) and its community partners officially launched the Golf Barrie Community Golf initiative on Jan. 20. The day featured a pair of events, beginning with a stakeholders meeting followed by the official launch.
Barrie was selected as the first Golf Community by the GAO because of its diverse number of private and public course, strong community ties, festivals and events, and its engaged golf industry.
The community golf project aims to get individuals of all ages and backgrounds playing golf and creates a bridge between courses, community partners and golfers. The goal is to bring more people to the game and keep them playing for life. The movement also addresses the national need to develop all stages of the Long Term Athlete Development model.
Wednesday’s event began with a stakeholders meeting at Tangle Creek Golf & Country Club, where the golf club owners finalized the foundation for 2016 activities. The event was well received with members from 23 area courses in attendance.
The event then shifted to the Kenzington Burger Bar where the initiative was officially presented to the public. On hand was City of Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman who talked about the benefits of golf and voiced his support for the project and stated that his office will be available to help make the project a success.
GAO Executive Director Mike Kelly laid out the GAO’s goals for the project and stressed that the association is here for the courses to help them execute it to its maximum potential. “This is a special project that is being done for the first time. Barrie as a community should feel extremely proud that they are pioneering such an initiative.”
GAO Director of Marketing and Communications Kyle McFarlane went on to speak about the project itself. “Golf is more than just a game, it builds character, values and life skills while promoting healthy active living. It builds relationships on and off the course and helps to connect family and friends.”
Emphasized at the event was the Try, Learn and Play aspect of the initiative. Golf Barrie will be present at numerous events in Barrie and Simcoe County, beginning in February to introduce people to the sport, with an emphasis on fun. This can be through opportunities such as Golf in Schools, which the local golf industry has already sponsored 24 local schools, festivals and through current programs like She Swings She Scores/ He Swings He Scores, which brings golf into hockey arenas to introduce minor hockey players to the sport.
The Learn aspect is where the clubs will come in and offer their own programming by matching the individual from a Try initiative with a Learn program at a course near them. The aim is to help people take that next step in golf. Finally, the Play aspect is having those people who have now learned to play the game get out to the courses and play.
To help bridge the events and opportunities in Barrie, Golf Barrie will launch a website that will feature a schedule of events that Golf Barrie will have a presence at to Try golf, a list of Learn opportunities at Barrie courses, a course directory and local golf news. However, that is not the only thing that will be set up. Golf Barrie plans to roll out the Commit to Golf Barrie pledge, which golfers will be able to register for, take the pledge as to how many times they hope to play in 2016, and then be entered in draws for prizes for meeting those goals.
An important aspect of the project is its partnership with Georgian College and its Golf Management Program. The college has already committed one of its classes to be trained to help with the Golf In Schools program. This will allow those students to go to schools, with a certified instructor, to deliver programs. A community Golf Coach certification course has also been planned and spots have already been reserved for Georgian students.
“This partnership is extremely important to us,” said McFarlane. “What we have observed in Barrie is that facilities that don’t offer programs for beginners not because they don’t want to but rather because they don’t have someone on staff all season to teach the programs. By training the instructors and having courses in the area share them, more programs at the Learn level can be offered. By having the students take certification programs, more qualified individuals will be available to teach these programs.”
Georgian College also has a capstone project that will develop a consumer behavior profile for Golf Barrie. The group will identify who the golfers are, what they want out of the local industry and any current barriers. This way Golf Barrie will be able to make adjustments for future initiatives.
In 2016, the Golf Barrie initiative hopes to deliver more than 70 golf awareness event days, host a Family Golf Festival, support and promote Learn programs at golf courses and establish community relations to ensure stability. With these objectives, it is hoped that more than 15,000 people can be exposed to golf.
UXBRIDGE— The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) is proud to announce its Championship schedule for 2016. Once again, many great courses have provided their grounds to GAO Championships and will host the best players in the province. Here are some of the notes and highlights for the 2016 season.
The championship season officially begins on May 12 with the Men’s Better-Ball at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf & Country Club. The first junior events will be the Investors Group Junior Spring Classic being hosted by Wooden Sticks Golf Club (Boys) in Uxbridge and Grey Silo (Girls) in Waterloo on the Victoria Day weekend (May 21-23).
Returning in 2016 is the George S. Lyon Team Championship at The Club at Bond Head on May 31. The event was not run in 2015 in order to move the event from the fall to the spring. GAO tournament staff are hoping that by playing the tournament in the spring, more teams will compete.
Also earlier this year will be the playing of the Investors Group Women’s Senior and Mid-Amateur Championship. The 2016 event will be held June 7-9 at The Briars Golf Club in Sutton West. The early season move will only last for 2016, before the event returns to its mid-summer spot on the schedule for future years.
The Men’s Match Play Championship has a new home for 2016, after nine years at the Lake Joseph Club. The event will be held at Huntsville’s Grandview Golf Club, June 7-10.
The Bantam tour for U15 aged players, has been redesigned as a Peewee U13 tour for 2016. This change was made to encourage the development of players as they gear up for the GAO’s Peewee Championship, which made its debut last year. The four-event tour should help to strengthen the field for the Peewee Championship when it returns to the Puslinch Lake Golf Course in Cambridge, July 25-26.
2016 also features the Ontario Sumer Games, as the best U17 golfers will compete for the gold medal and Ontario Juvenile Boys’ and Girls’ Championships. This year the Games are being hosted by the City of Mississauga and BraeBen Golf Club will welcome the golfers Aug. 10-12.
The Investors Group Ontario Junior Girls’ Championship will be held July 4-7 at the Loyalist Country Club in Bath. A note with this event is that since play begins on Monday, the practice round will be held Sunday, July 3.
Another event that will see play on a weekend is the Investors Group Senior Men’s Championship. The event (Aug. 4-6) wraps up on a Saturday from The Marshes Golf Club in Ottawa.
Of course all eyes will be on the Investors Group Ontario Amateur and Investors Group Ontario Women’s Amateur, which will both be contested July 12-15. The men will return to the GTA and take to the Thornhill Golf & Country Club for the first time since 1987. Meanwhile, the women will embark on Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, which will host the event for the first time. With so much history between the two events, it will be interesting to see who hoists the trophies in 2016.
The start of the season is less than four months away. Soon new players will be added to the history books as they are crowned champions in 2016.
For a full list of all GAO tournaments and qualifiers see here.