GAO Team Essex-Kent Team Niagara Team Ottawa Team Waterloo Team York

GAO Announces 2015-16 Members of Regional Teams

UXBRIDGE — The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) is very pleased to name the 2015-16 rosters for the Under-17 High Performance Regional Team Program.

The program, which debuted in 2013-14, was well received in its initial season and expanded in 2014-15 from three to five teams. Once again in 2015-16, the program will sport five squads from across the province. The team members were selected based on their 2015 tournament scores, 2015 GAO Order of Merit standing, as well as testing results from GAO Skills Combines held earlier this fall.

The five teams in 2015-16 will be Ottawa, York, Waterloo, Essex-Kent and Niagara. The program will see 54 promising young athletes on the various teams, which will include monthly technical and physical training at a regional centre and a five-day camp during March Break in South Carolina. The teams will also compete in the Team Ontario Cup, with members of the GAO’s provincial team, to be played at Grand Niagara Golf Course in Thorold, April 22-24.

“We are extremely excited about the upcoming season for our five regional teams,” said Mary Ann Hayward, GAO Manager of Sport Performance. “The regional teams continue to be a great feeder system for Team Ontario and the Team Ontario Cup is a great culminating event for our high performance athletes.”

Team Ottawa

Team Ottawa is made up of athletes from Ottawa and surrounding areas in Eastern Ontario. Adam Holden coaches the team and Allen Hicks is the team’s strength and conditioning coach. They will train out of the Kevin Haime Golf Centre in Kanata and the Ottawa Athletic Club.

Team Ottawa Athletes:

For more information on the team and its players visit the Team Ottawa page at:

Team York

Team York covers Toronto and the GTA. Jeff Overholt coaches the team and the strength and conditioning coach is Nick Martichenko. Team York will train out of Peak Performance Golf in Vaughan.

Team York Athletes:

For more information on the team and it’s athletes visit the Team York page at:

Team Waterloo

Team Waterloo is made up of players from the Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area. Mike Martz coaches the team and their strength and conditioning coach is Angella Lee. They will train out of the Golf Performance Centre at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge.

Team Waterloo Athletes:

For more information on the team and it’s players visit the Team Waterloo page at:

Team Niagara

Team Niagara is comprised of golfers in the Niagara region, which includes Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and surrounding area. John White coaches the team and the strength and conditioning coach is Wayne Oliver. They will train out of Beechwood Golf & Country Club, in Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Sportsplex.

Team Niagara Athletes:

For more information on the team and it’s athletes visit the Team Niagara page at:

Team Essex-Kent

Team Essex-Kent is made up of golfers from the Windsor and South-Western Ontario area. Randy McQueen coaches the team and the strength and conditioning coach is Ryan Carlone. They will train out of Roseland Golf & Curling Club, On The Green Indoor Golf (OTG), Dominion Dome, Silver Tee, and Tecumseh Golf.

Team Essex Athletes:

For more information on the team and it’s athletes visit the Team Essex-Kent page at:


The Regional Team Program is designed for golfers under the age of 17. A combination of skills combines results, tournament results and current Order of Merit standings, determine the players that are selected for each team. Team members take part in an eight-month training program with a PGA of Canada certified head coach and strength and conditioning consultant. They participate in multiple local winter indoor training sessions before a March break training camp in Myrtle Beach and the Team Ontario Cup competition to be held in Niagara at the end of April.

GAO Grand Niagara Golf Club Team Essex-Kent Team Niagara team ontario Team Ottawa Team Waterloo Team York

GAO teams set for inaugural Team Ontario Cup

UXBRIDGE – The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) U19 Team Ontario and five U17 Regional Teams (Ottawa, York, Waterloo, Essex-Kent and Niagara) are gearing up for the inaugural Team Ontario Cup this weekend, which will see all of the teams compete against one another. The event will take place April 24-26 at the Grand Niagara Golf Club in Thorold.

The athletes will compete in a two-day, 36-hole team-format competition with main emphasis being on team results. Results will be determined by taking the three lowest of four team member scores each day for a team gross total. Low gross individuals will be also be recognized, over the 36 holes, in Juvenile and Bantam age categories for both boys and girls, along with an overall boys and girls champion.

Each regional team will enter two teams of four boys and one team of four girls. Team Ontario will enter one team of three boys (all scores to count each day) and a second team of four boys. For the girls’ team competition, Team Ontario will enter two teams of three girls, each with all three scores counting each day. The regional teams will enter a team of four girls each. At the end of the competition, one boys team and one girls team will be crowned champion.

“This is the first event of it’s kind and we are extremely excited to see all the Team Ontario and Regional team athletes competing in the same event,” said Mary Ann Hayward, GAO Manager of Sport Performance. “They have been training as teams for the past seven months and this is their opportunity to go head-to-head. It is a great kick-off to their competitive season here in Ontario and the preparation they have done leading up to the Team Ontario Cup should help them to be much better prepared for the important event qualifiers that begin in early May.”

The event will also be used to select the team for the Ontario–Quebec Matches that will be held July 27-29 at Smugglers Glen Golf Club in Gananoque. The top two juvenile boys and girls and the top four bantam boys and girls from the regional teams will be selected to the Ontario team that will compete in the matches.

In addition, the GAO will take the opportunity to conduct testing of all Team Ontario and Regional players. Players will go through a trackman analysis, physical combine testing and a putting test. The purpose of this testing is to gage how the athletes have improved over the winter training months.

The highlight of the Team Ontario Cup will be the banquet held on April 25 at Legends on the Niagara Golf Club. All teams will be in attendance and many family members will also attend. Each team has selected their own award winner for Most Valuable Contributor (MVC) and these MVC winners will be recognized at the banquet. The MVC award goes to the person on the team that best exemplifies: leadership, integrity, sportsmanship, team spirit and work ethic.

The Team Ontario Cup will be a great event to kickoff the tournament season in Ontario and will showcase the finest junior golfers in the province. Tee times for the competition will be from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. each day, April 25-26, with play starting on both the first and 10th tees. Trophy presentations are scheduled immediately following the completion of play on Sunday, which will be approximately 3 p.m.

GAO Team Waterloo Whistle Bear Golf Performance Centre

Mike Martz earns The PGA of Ontario Junior Leader of the Year for 2013

By Brent Long

It’s been back to basics for Mike Martz over the past three years and he’s been loving every minute of it.

After nearly two decades as a head golf professional, Martz switched gears in 2011as he left behind the daily grind of managing golf course operations to join the Golf Performance Center at Whistle Bear and work with kids.

Since that time Martz, 50, has found his stride coaching and teaching young golfers while committing himself to becoming a leader in the field by attending and completing several PGA of Canada conferences including Coach of Developing (CDC) training, Coach of New Competitors (CNC) training and certification among other learning opportunities.

As a 12-year-old Martz started shining shoes at Conestoga GC and over a 17-year period worked his way up to being the club’s head professional. From there he went on to spend three years as an associate at Westmount G&CC before spending 14 years as the Head Professional for the City of Kitchener’s two municipal layouts. Now, his commitment to youth golf is paying off as he has been named The PGA of Ontario Junior Leader of the Year for 2013 and is looking forward to a super busy 2014. Martz will coach upwards of 250 young golfers this year – 80 per cent of his clients are junior golfers.

“With my degree in Kinesiology and a love for teaching youngsters, the transition to coaching has been smooth,” says Martz, a former US long drive champion who spent close to two decades doing clinics with legendary Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Moe Norman including Norman’s last one in 2004 at Lionhead G&CC. “So many kids are left on their own to try and figure this game out and it can be a challenging journey. I try to come in there and give them some guidance and create a pathway for them to follow. I have seen a lot of children in the 11 to 13 age group who go through a growth spurt or an awkward stage and we just try to work on other aspects of their games until their growth settles down.”

Martz works with one of his students at the Whistle Bear Golf Performance Centre.
Martz works with one of his students at the Whistle Bear Golf Performance Centre.

He’s entering his third season as coach for the “New Competitors” team at Whistle Bear Golf, which is composed of 12, 9- to 14-year-old boys, and just added the Girl’s High Performance Team to his duties. “Mike is always committed to advancing his skills as a coach and is the first to register for educational opportunities. He has a thirst for all knowledge that will allow him to best progress his young students,” says Dave Smallwood, Director of Instruction at The Golf Performance Center at Whistle Bear.

At the grass roots level Mike runs eight one-week long summer camps for boys and girls aged 7-15 years at Guelph Lakes GC that has expanded to spring and fall sessions. He also leads an introductory program for mainly new to the game participants program for the Cambridge Junior Golf Association that includes 64 children from Cambridge. They receive two lessons from Martz and access to play Saginaw GC.

Mike was named Team Waterloo Regional Under 17 Head Coach for the Golf Association of Ontario in November along with Angella Lee who acts as the team’s strength and conditioning consultant. He’s working twice a month with a team of 12 boys and girls ranging from 10 to 16 years of age. They travelled together for a team competition over March Break in Myrtle Beach against regional teams from York and Ottawa.

GAO Team Ottawa Team Waterloo Team York

Team York captures GAO Regional Team Championship

Team York

MYRTLE BEACH, SC— The Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) three regional development teams (Ottawa, York and Waterloo) were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last week (March 9-14) for the first regional team competition. The teams completed testing while competing against one another. In the end, it was the squad from York who came away as the victors accumulating 23.5 points, just one more than runners-up Ottawa who finished with 22.5, Waterloo finished in a close third with 20.

The teams were at the Barefoot Golf Resort, a facility that features four courses designed by well-known industry professionals: Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye.  The teams took part in range, putting and short game training, at the facility, each day before daily competitions, where they worked in a round on each of the courses.

“The four courses at Barefoot Resort each offered unique challenges to the golfers looking to test all facets of their game,” said Team Ottawa coach Adam Holden. “Barefoot’s practice facility is first class with a huge manicured grass tee, short-game area and most importantly high-quality range balls.”

Each coach in attendance had an area pro with him to assist in training. Team York’s Jeff Overholt had Westmount Golf Club’s Tara Savoie, Team Waterloo’s Mike Martz was assisted by Rob Hannah, from The Rebel Creek Academy and Holden of Team Ottawa was joined by John Haime from New Edge Performance.

Managing Director of the GAO’s Sport Development Mike Kelly and Manager of Sport Performance Mary Ann Hayward, were both with the team early in the week to collect Trackman data on all of the athletes.

Members of Regional Team York train in Myrtle Beach.

Members of Regional Team York train in Myrtle Beach.

In addition, Team Ontario strength and conditioning coach and physiotherapist Andrew Hoermann was on hand to conduct physical testing of the athletes. The teams also got the chance to train with the Team Ontario mental coach Judy Goss.


The competition potion of the week was a combination of round-robin match play (March 11-13) and stroke play (March 14). Points were awarded at the end of each day and the team that accumulated the most points would be crowned the Regional Team Champions.

The match play portion saw two of the regional teams face off each day with the third having a training round. They were played as a two-person scramble on the front nine and two-person best ball on the back, with one point being awarded for the team that won the most holes on the nine.

The stroke play scores were determined after each player played 18 holes. Then, the top five scores for the boys and top three for the girls were counted towards the team score.

In the team matches, it was Waterloo earning the victory on day one with a 9.5-8.5 win over Ottawa. Sparky MacLean hit a 40-foot putt on the 18th to grab the deciding point in the match for Waterloo.  Waterloo was back at it on day two, but took a 12.5-5.5 loss to York. The final day of team competitions saw Ottawa even things out with a 12-6 win over York to set up an exciting stroke-play round.

“The regional team competition was a great way to prepare players for the upcoming competitive season,” said Overholt. “All of the teams were fairly evenly matched which lead to a dramatic finally on the last day of competition. Players really enjoyed the match play portion of the event, which help to develop a tighter bond with their teammates. Many of the younger players had never played in a match play format, so the competition was a great learning opportunity.”

Team York’s boys dominated the stroke play event with the top four scores, helping the team capture the overall championship. David Yoon led the way with a round of 75. On the girls’ side, it was Waterloo’s Madeline March-Sherk who posted the best score of the day with 75.

“I was very happy with the way our team performed in the competition throughout the week,” said Overholt.  “We spent much of our time working with the players on managing their performance state and they all did a great job of applying the skills learned in practice on the course. Coming out on top was a great way to end the week and a great reward for all the players effort and hard work.”

Overall, the camp was a huge hit with the players and coaches who all saw it as a great development tool. “I think the camp provided the opportunity for the athletes to gauge their skill level and direct a plan to move forward with their games,” added Waterloo’s Martz. “It was an invaluable experience allowing the players to witness first hand how much time and effort is required to play at the highest levels. They were then given the opportunity to play in the afternoon and note differences throughout the week in their games. They were also given the tools to practice more effectively and the results showed by week’s end.”