From The Archives

Canada’s most haunted golf clubs

Haunted Lakes Golf Club

Winning the award for the Canadian golf course with the spookiest name is Haunted Lakes Golf Club in Alix, a town east of Red Deer, Alta. It is here an ancient drama plays out every winter along the third fairway, where Haunted Lake hugs the front right of the green. Before Europeans arrived, native groups camped on the lake’s eastern shore. One winter, seven hunters camped there for the night. In the morning, they looked out across the lake and spied the magnificent head and antlers of a deer caught in the ice. The seven headed off and upon reaching the creature, they started to chip away at the ice. The mighty animal, which was very much alive, gave a great heave and smashed through the ice. It swam for shore, breaking a path before it. The deer made it to shore and the safety of the woods, but the men were not so lucky. They plunged through the ice and all seven drowned. It is said the seven hunters have haunted the lake ever since, giving the spot its name. Locals also claim that every winter a mysterious phenomenon can be observed as each year a huge fissure appears in the ice along the path the deer travelled to the shore.

Glen Abbey Golf Club

Several provinces east of Alberta you will find Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont. The story says there is a house on the property which was built in 1937 by a mining engineer as his weekend retreat. The engineer, Andre Dorfman, was a leading figure in the Canadian mining industry at the time. In 1953 Dorfman sold the house to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada as a retreat. The property was sold again in 1963 to businessmen who opened a golf club. In memory of the Jesuits, the course was given the name Glen Abbey. Soon after the club opened, reports of a specter began to surface. Within 10 years, they started talking about a ghost in the building. The story is that the ghost lives in the old mansion and walks up the back stairs and down the main hallway towards the library. The mansion is a good example of the stately homes built in Oakville in the early twentieth century. It is constructed of stone with a red clay tile roof and features a wood-lined library on the second floor. Originally known as RayDor Estate House, the building has been designated as a heritage property. Prior to 1975 it served as the golf course’s clubhouse and currently is home to an investment company. One of the rooms in the basement is actually made to replicate the ship in which the original builder came over from Switzerland. The ghost in the old mansion is said to be male, and eyewitnesses agree that it resembles a Jesuit father.

Victoria Golf Club

Victoria Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., boasts both an impressive course history and a ghost or two of its own. The club is beautifully situated on a rocky point at the southern end of Vancouver Island. The club dates back to November 1893 when local golf enthusiasts negotiated for permanent rights to play the rough fields of Pemberton Farm. Originally, golfers were prohibited from using the grounds over the summer, when cattle grazed what would become today’s fairways. Like Haunted Lakes, the Victoria Golf Club may be haunted by early aboriginal inhabitants. One researcher suggests that some of its phantoms may be the souls of native warriors killed in battle centuries ago. However, these spirits pale beside the club’s other resident, the late Doris Gravlin, possibly Victoria’s most famous ghost. John Adams is an expert on Doris, as she’s affectionately called by locals. A historian and author, Adams is best known as the proprietor of the “Ghostly Walks” tour, which explores historic courtyards and spooky places where spirits like Doris make their presence known. “Doris Thomson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1906 and immigrated to Canada with her parents,” recounts Adams. The Thomson family settled in Victoria where Doris’s mother worked at a private hospital. Doris became a nurse as well, until 1930 when she married Victor Gravlin. Victor was a sports reporter for the Colonist newspaper, spending many happy hours golfing with his brother Walter, head pro at the Uplands Golf Club. The hours Victor spent with Doris would prove to be much less happy. “When her husband began to drink heavily, Doris left him,” explains Adams, adding that Doris found work as a private live-in nurse. “In mid-September of 1936 Victor delivered a letter to Doris,” Adams says. “Its contents were unknown, but are believed to have been a request for her to meet him to discuss reconciliation.” Doris stepped out for a walk at about 7:45 pm on September 22, 1936; Victor left his parents’ house shortly thereafter. One observer saw them together on Runnymede Avenue, but after that, neither was seen alive. Doris and Victor were reported missing. A search ensued and days later, Doris’s corpse was discovered. Her body was later discovered amid the driftwood on the beach near the 7th green by a caddy looking for lost balls. She had been strangled and her shoes, belt and felt hat were missing. Gossips maintained that Victor had escaped. But they were wrong. “One month later a fisherman found Victor’s body floating in the kelp beds off the ninth fairway,” describes Adams. “A length of rope was found in his coat pocket, along with Doris’s missing attire. The police concluded he had murdered his wife then committed suicide by walking into the water.” The discovery of two bodies on the grounds gave rise to the notion the club was haunted, and many sightings have been reported since. “Typical manifestations are a fast-moving figure in white, a feeling of doom, a cold wind and a globe of spectral light,” says Adams. “Doris also plays havoc with motorists along Beach Drive, sometimes flying through open windows and even penetrating windshields as a cold mist.”]]>

From The Archives RBC Canadian Open

Doug Sanders, colourful RBC Canadian Open winner, dies

Doug Sanders

golf fashion ahead of his time, a colourful character known as much for the 20 times he won on the PGA TOUR as the majors that got away. Sanders died Sunday morning in Houston, the PGA Tour confirmed through a text from Sanders’ ex-wife, Scotty. He was 86. Sanders was still an amateur when he won his first PGA Tour event in 1956 at the RBC Canadian Open in a playoff against Dow Finsterwald, and his best year was in 1961 when he won five times and finished third on the PGA Tour money list. But he is best known for four runner-up finishes in the majors, the most memorable at St. Andrews in the 1970 British Open. He only needed par on the final hole of the Old Course to beat Jack Nicklaus, and Sanders was 3 feet away. He jabbed at the putt and missed it, and Nicklaus beat him the next day in a playoff. “If I was a master of the English language, I don’t think I could find the adjectives to describe how I felt when I missed that short one,” Sanders said after the playoff, where Nicklaus beat him by one shot. “But that’s golf, and that’s the fascination of the game.”

Doug Sanders
Sanders also finished one shot behind Nicklaus in the 1966 British Open at Muirfield. He had a one-shot lead going into the final round of the 1961 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills and finished one behind Gene Littler, and he finished one shot behind Bob Rosburg in the 1959 PGA Championship at Minneapolis Golf Club. The loss to Nicklaus took its place with other near-misses in golf, such as Scott Hoch at the 1989 Masters. Sanders once cited Walter Hagen saying no one ever remembers who finishes second. “But they still ask me if I ever think about that putt I missed to win the 1970 Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I tell them sometimes it doesn’t cross my mind for a full five minutes.” But there was never any mistaking Sanders, known as the “Peacock of the Fairways” for his Easter-egg collection of colours he wore on the golf course, even after he was done competing. “The two most frequent questions on tour were, `What did Arnold Palmer shoot?’ and `What’s Doug Sanders wearing?”’ Sanders told Golf Digest in 2007. Tommy Bolt once said of Sanders, “The man looks like a jukebox with feet.” Also overlooked were his 20 victories on the PGA Tour, the last of which was the 1972 Kemper Open by one shot over Lee Trevino. He won at some of the bigger spots on tour, such as Colonial, the Western Open and Doral. When he won the RBC Canadian Open in 1956, it was 29 more years before another amateur – Scott Verplank – won on the PGA Tour. Sanders played in one Ryder Cup, in 1967 in Houston, with Ben Hogan captain of what is regarded one of the best U.S. teams from that era of the matches. He was born in Cedartown, Georgia, and played college golf at Florida. Sanders stayed active after no longer competing, sponsoring the Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic for six years and a junior golf championship in Houston.]]>

From The Archives

Canada’s most haunted golf clubs

With its long history and vast geography, Canada boasts many strange and spooky tales. There are haunted coal mines in Cape Breton, poltergeists in Calgary and even a pair of haunted boots in St. Vincent’s Newfoundland. It is no wonder, therefore, that golf courses across the country are rumoured to be home to some extraordinary spirits.

Haunted Lakes Golf Club

Winning the award for the Canadian golf course with the spookiest name is Haunted Lakes Golf Club in Alix, a town east of Red Deer, Alta. It is here an ancient drama plays out every winter along the third fairway, where Haunted Lake hugs the front right of the green.

Before Europeans arrived, native groups camped on the lake’s eastern shore. One winter, seven hunters camped there for the night. In the morning, they looked out across the lake and spied the magnificent head and antlers of a deer caught in the ice.

The seven headed off and upon reaching the creature, they started to chip away at the ice. The mighty animal, which was very much alive, gave a great heave and smashed through the ice. It swam for shore, breaking a path before it. The deer made it to shore and the safety of the woods, but the men were not so lucky. They plunged through the ice and all seven drowned.

It is said the seven hunters have haunted the lake ever since, giving the spot its name. Locals also claim that every winter a mysterious phenomenon can be observed as each year a huge fissure appears in the ice along the path the deer travelled to the shore.

Glen Abbey Golf Club

Several provinces east of Alberta you will find Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont.

The story says there is a house on the property which was built in 1937 by a mining engineer as his weekend retreat. The engineer, Andre Dorfman, was a leading figure in the Canadian mining industry at the time.

In 1953 Dorfman sold the house to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada as a retreat. The property was sold again in 1963 to businessmen who opened a golf club. In memory of the Jesuits, the course was given the name Glen Abbey. Soon after the club opened, reports of a specter began to surface.

Within 10 years, they started talking about a ghost in the building. The story is that the ghost lives in the old mansion and walks up the back stairs and down the main hallway towards the library.

The mansion is a good example of the stately homes built in Oakville in the early twentieth century. It is constructed of stone with a red clay tile roof and features a wood-lined library on the second floor. Originally known as RayDor Estate House, the building has been designated as a heritage property. Prior to 1975 it served as the golf course’s clubhouse and currently is home to an investment company.

One of the rooms in the basement is actually made to replicate the ship in which the original builder came over from Switzerland.

The ghost in the old mansion is said to be male, and eyewitnesses agree that it resembles a Jesuit father.

Victoria Golf Club

Victoria Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., boasts both an impressive course history and a ghost or two of its own. The club is beautifully situated on a rocky point at the southern end of Vancouver Island.

The club dates back to November 1893 when local golf enthusiasts negotiated for permanent rights to play the rough fields of Pemberton Farm. Originally, golfers were prohibited from using the grounds over the summer, when cattle grazed what would become today’s fairways.

Like Haunted Lakes, the Victoria Golf Club may be haunted by early aboriginal inhabitants. One researcher suggests that some of its phantoms may be the souls of native warriors killed in battle centuries ago. However, these spirits pale beside the club’s other resident, the late Doris Gravlin, possibly Victoria’s most famous ghost.

John Adams is an expert on Doris, as she’s affectionately called by locals. A historian and author, Adams is best known as the proprietor of the “Ghostly Walks” tour, which explores historic courtyards and spooky places where spirits like Doris make their presence known.

“Doris Thomson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1906 and immigrated to Canada with her parents,” recounts Adams. The Thomson family settled in Victoria where Doris’s mother worked at a private hospital. Doris became a nurse as well, until 1930 when she married Victor Gravlin.

Victor was a sports reporter for the Colonist newspaper, spending many happy hours golfing with his brother Walter, head pro at the Uplands Golf Club. The hours Victor spent with Doris would prove to be much less happy.

“When her husband began to drink heavily, Doris left him,” explains Adams, adding that Doris found work as a private live-in nurse.

“In mid-September of 1936 Victor delivered a letter to Doris,” Adams says. “Its contents were unknown, but are believed to have been a request for her to meet him to discuss reconciliation.”

Doris stepped out for a walk at about 7:45 pm on September 22, 1936; Victor left his parents’ house shortly thereafter. One observer saw them together on Runnymede Avenue, but after that, neither was seen alive.

Doris and Victor were reported missing. A search ensued and days later, Doris’s corpse was discovered. Her body was later discovered amid the driftwood on the beach near the 7th green by a caddy looking for lost balls. She had been strangled and her shoes, belt and felt hat were missing.

Gossips maintained that Victor had escaped. But they were wrong.

“One month later a fisherman found Victor’s body floating in the kelp beds off the ninth fairway,” describes Adams. “A length of rope was found in his coat pocket, along with Doris’s missing attire. The police concluded he had murdered his wife then committed suicide by walking into the water.”

The discovery of two bodies on the grounds gave rise to the notion the club was haunted, and many sightings have been reported since.

“Typical manifestations are a fast-moving figure in white, a feeling of doom, a cold wind and a globe of spectral light,” says Adams. “Doris also plays havoc with motorists along Beach Drive, sometimes flying through open windows and even penetrating windshields as a cold mist.”

Amateur From The Archives

Rod Spittle returns to Hamilton for historic career milestone

Rod Spittle

While the 63-year-old St. Catharines native won’t be teeing it up with the best on the PGA Tour, it will mark the first time he’s visited the historic Harry S. Colt layout since winning the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship in 1977.

It’s hard to believe that Rod hasn’t been back, but that will change when he’s inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday, June 4 during RBC Hall of Fame day at the RBC Canadian Open.

When the 22-year-old collegiate golfer arrived at HGCC in the summer of 1977, he was just happy to be playing at the private country club where his dad caddied as a kid in the 1940s. Nobody expected Rod to win, as seasoned BC amateur Jim Nelford was trying to make it three consecutive Canadian Men’s Amateur Championships, but Spittle’s parents watched from the sidelines as their son made a name for himself.

“It was a huge victory for me and so unexpected. I was home from school for the summer looking to play a few tournaments and it all came together,” says Rod, who didn’t play much on the Ohio State men’s golf team in his first two years – that changed after winning our national amateur championship.

“It was the biggest tournament I had won to that point. Looking back over 40-plus years of golf, it remains significant in my journey, because I learned what it felt like to win for the very first time. It gave me some confidence and the drive to take my game to a higher level,” he adds.

”To be able to go out a year later and win the title for a second consecutive time at Laval-sur-le-Lac was another incredible moment. I’m very proud of both trophies,” says Spittle, who won by a commanding 10 strokes in Quebec.

Rod’s victory at HGCC, which was hosting the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship for a fifth time, wasn’t nearly as convincing. Nelford was highly favoured to become the first person to win the championship threeyears in a row since the great George Lyon accomplished the feat from 1905 to 1907.

The opening two rounds of medal play suggested an easy Nelford victory. Jim’s first-round 69 was followed by a brilliant performance on the second day, during which he tied the course record of 64 that had stood since 1930, when the great Tommy Armour established it en route to winning the RBC Canadian Open that year.

Nelford’s 36-hole total of 133 gave him an impressive seven-shot lead over Spittle, but a third round 73 saw his lead reduced to four, before a closing-round 75 left him two shots back of the mark set by Spittle, who posted scores of 72-68-70-69 over the four days of competition.

“After the first two rounds Jim had a seven-stroke lead and all the reporters were writing that it was almost a foregone conclusion that he was going to win the championship, and that the rest of the field was playing for second and third place,” says Rod. “After the first two rounds I just dug in and tried to make every shot count. I was playing well and slowly chipped away at the lead. There wasn’t a lot of pressure on me. Nobody was expecting me to win, but in the back of my mind I believed that I wasn’t out of it.”

The two leaders didn’t play in the same group for the final round, so they only had glimpses of each other over the closing holes. Rod birdied No. 17 after hitting the green in two on the par-5, and then he bogeyed No. 18, but it was enough for the two-stroke win.

In the Willingdon Cup, the Ontario team of Gary Cowan, Ian Thomas, Nick Weslock and Spittle posted a 215 on the first day and a 213 on the second day for a total of 428, which gave them the victory by 11 shots over Alberta.

Rod graduated from Ohio State in 1978 with a degree in Business Administration. After a brief stint as a professional golfer and not enjoying life on the road, he opted to focus on supporting his family by selling insurance for 25 years in Dublin, Ohio, and continuing his passion for the game in amateur golf.

In 2006, Spittle and his wife, Ann, left their regular jobs behind and made a five-year plan to fulfill the dream of playing professional golf. In 2009, four years into that plan, Spittle’s goal of being a full-time Tour professional took a severe hit after he failed to secure his PGA Champions Tour card.

In 2010, the final year of the five-year plan, Rod was forced to Monday qualify into events. Playing with limited status, Spittle got into only five events the entire season. He Monday qualified into the final event of the year, the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, and in a storybook ending, he played stellar golf all week to beat Jeff Sluman in a playoff for his first-ever professional title. Just like that, his dream of playing professional golf, nearly dead and gone, gained new life with a full exemption for 2011 as a PGA Tour Champions winner.

Spittle stats are remarkable! In 195 starts over his 13-year PGA Tour Champions career, Rod missed just five cuts and earned more than $4M in prize money. He never missed more than one cut in any year, and played nine full seasons without missing a single cut. He had a pair of runner-up finishes, a pair of third-place finishes and 23 top-10s. He played his final PGA Tour Champions event on home soil, finishing T17 at the 2018 Shaw Charity Classic.

Rod Spittle

CALGARY, CANADA – SEPTEMBER 1: Rod Spittle of Canada hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the second round of the Shaw Charity Classic at the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club on September 1, 2018 in Calgary, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

On the personal level, he and his wife Ann have three children (Leslie, Steve and John) and seven grandchildren. His mother still lives in Niagara Falls. His father passed away in 2010 at the age of 84, six months before Rod won in San Antonio.

“It’s very exciting thinking about going into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. It’s been very emotional. I’m looking forward to it, and to be able to go back to Hamilton G&CC, where I enjoyed that first win four decades ago, is going to be very special,” Spittle says. “It’s been a great run. I could never have dreamt up a story like this when I won the Canadian Am at HGCC in 1977.”

While he may not have been able to dream it, there is an undeniable symmetry to that national championship of 42 years ago in Ancaster. Rod first took up the game of golf at age 10 when his father became one of 25 original founders of Willodell G&CC in Niagara Falls. The course designer was none other than Nicol Thompson, who, from 1912-1945, was the head professional of Hamilton G&CC.

From The Archives

Lost golf writings of Canadian Robert Weir discovered

Judge Weir, Albert Murray and J.H. Birks on the Kanawaki Golf Club circa 1914, taken from the A. Murray scrapbook.

While researching for a book about his grandfather and great uncle, author Ian Murray came across the prolific golf writings of Robert Stanley Weir.

Weir wrote about golf for 23 years and gained an international reputation in his pursuit of understanding the specific skills needed to become a competent player. Respected by his peers, Weir was recruited as a feature writer and book reviewer for the American “Golf Illustrated” magazine that was launched in 1914.

Weir began writing about the game early in the 20th Century for “Golf Magazine”, the official publication of the United States Golf Association.  His first article in 1902, Pioneer Golf in America, provides the only known description and photos of the course where golf was first organized and played in North America in 1873. The course was located below the slopes of Mount Royal, known as ‘Fletcher’s Field’, in Montreal. It would become the Royal Montreal Golf Club.

Robert Weir

Recorder Weir. Golf Magazine, February 1904

Along with writers and players who were at the forefront of the sport, now legends in the game, Weir continued writing for “Golf Illustrated” until his death in 1926 in his 70th year.

“The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum is happy to bring Weir’s golf writing to life on their website where over 75 articles written by Weir can be read.  “We have no doubt that more of Weir’s writings will resurface with the growing age of digitization,” notes Meggan Gardner, director of heritage services for Golf Canada.  “It was because of such amazing online resources such as our own Canadian Golfer magazine, the USGA Museum and LA84 that golf history has been rewritten with this discovery.”

Robert Stanley Weir was a judge, poet, professor and literary writer. He published two books of poetry and wrote articles for U.S. and Canadian Magazines. He married in 1882 and had 6 children. Renowned as an expert in Municipal law, Weir wrote various Legislative Acts for the Province of Quebec.

The full article along with Weir’s writings can be found here.

From The Archives

Rod Spittle and Herb Page to be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

OAKVILLE, ONT. (Golf Canada) – The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum today announced that amateur and professional golf standout, Rod Spittle, as well as celebrated collegiate golf coach Herb Page have been selected for 2019 induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

Spittle, 63, from Niagara Falls, Ont., will be inducted in the player category, while the 67-year-old Page, who is a native of Markham, Ont., will be inducted as a builder for his accomplishments as a collegiate golf coach with the NCAA Division I Kent State Golden Flashes. With their inductions, the pair become the 82nd and 83rd honoured members of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

“The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame strives to recognize the outstanding achievements of golf’s greatest players and supporters and it’s an absolute privilege to welcome Rod Spittle and Herb Page as our newest honoured members,” said Sandra Post, Chair of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. “Rod was an accomplished player at the amateur level and later as a professional, while Herb has made a significant impact in the lives of countless student-athletes through his long tenure with Kent State’s golf program. I know I speak on behalf of the entire selection committee as well as the honoured members when I say they are both very deserved of their appointments.”

“I am humbled and thrilled beyond words to be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame,” said Spittle. “It is an honour to be recognized and included in this group of golf ambassadors and elite players,  The induction will be even more special for me since the ceremony will be hosted at Hamilton Golf Club, where my dad caddied as a youngster and where I won my first Canadian Amateur in 1977.”

 

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With his induction, Page becomes the 25th person inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame’s builder category and the first-ever coach.

“It’s been an honour and a pleasure to have the opportunity to help so many young student-athletes grow both on and off the course,” said Page from his home in Ohio. “It’s always great to be recognized for your hard work and this nomination is extra special, but the real gratification comes from seeing players mature into outstanding people.”

Spittle and Page officially join the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony that will take place Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 during RBC Hall of Fame Day as part of the 2019 RBC Canadian Open on the grounds of Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

Click here to listen to the media teleconference announcement.

Rod Spittle

Born July 18, 1955 in St. Catharines, Ont., Rod Spittle had a successful amateur career, finishing runner-up at the 1973 Canadian Junior and winning the 1977 and 1978 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championships while playing Division I golf at Ohio State.  Provincially he also helped Ontario win back to back Willingdon Cups (1977-78). During his collegiate golf career, Spittle helped the Buckeyes win the BIG Ten Championship three consecutive years (1976-1978) alongside teammates John Cook and Joey Sindelar, who both went on to enjoy successful professional golf careers that included PGA TOUR victories.

After graduating in 1978 with a degree in Business Administration, Spittle opted to focus on supporting his family by selling insurance for 25 years and continuing his passion for the game in amateur golf. He won a pair of Columbus (Ohio) District Amateur Championships (1989 and 1987) and three Columbus (Ohio) District Mid-Amateur titles (1994, 1995 and 1997). He went on to claim the Ohio Mid-Am Championship three times (2000, 2001 and 2003) prior to turning professional in 2004, shortly before turning 50.

Rod Spittle

Spittle and his wife, Ann, left their regular jobs behind and made a 5-year plan to fulfill the dream of playing professional golf. In 2009, four years into that plan, Spittle’s goal of being a full-time Tour professional took a severe hit after he failed to secure PGA TOUR Champions status and did not play in a single event.

In 2010, the final year of the five-year plan, Spittle was forced to Monday qualify into events. Playing with limited status, Spittle got into only five events the entire 2010 season. He Monday qualified into the final event of the year, the AT&T Championship, and in a storybook ending, he played stellar golf all week and beat Jeff Sluman in a playoff for his first-ever professional title. Just like that, his dream of playing professional golf, nearly dead and gone, gained new life with a full exemption for 2011 as a PGA TOUR Champions winner.

In 195 starts over his 13-year PGA TOUR Champions career, Spittle missed just five cuts and earned more than $4M in prize money. He never missed more than one cut in any year, and played nine full seasons without missing a single cut. He had a pair of runner-up finishes, a pair of third-place finishes and had 23 top-10s. He played his final PGA TOUR Champions event on home soil, finishing T17 at the 2018 Shaw Charity Classic.

On a personal level, he and his wife Ann have three children (Leslie, Steve and John) and seven grandchildren. The Spittle’s proudly support Special Olympics initiatives in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Spittle was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.

Herb Page

Born March 16, 1951 in Markham, Ont., Herb Page has been a fixture on the Kent State University campus since arriving as an undergraduate three-sport student-athlete (golf, football and hockey) in 1970. Nearly 50 years later, now the university’s director of golf, Page has grown to become one of the most respected golf coaches in the world.

For more than 40 years, Page has been an untiring coach to his players and a terrific ambassador for the game of golf. Even after decades of significant accomplishments under his direction, the Kent State Golden Flashes golf program continues to reach new heights. He has built an empire in the Mid-American Conference with a legacy that seems to grow stronger with each passing year. He has led the Golden Flashes to 23 Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles and 28 NCAA Regional appearances – advancing to the NCAA Championship 18 times during that span. Kent State won three NCAA Regional titles (1993, 2001 and 2010) and earned top-10 National finishes in 2000 (9th), 2008 (6th), 2012 (5th)  and 2018 (10th). Page has garnered 24 MAC Coach of the Year awards (1983-1984, 1990-1996, 1998-2001, 2003, 2005-2006, 2009-2010, 2012-2014, 2016-2018) during his distinguished career.

Herb Page & Corey Conners

Herb Page & Corey Conners

He helped to develop countless golfers who have gone on to enjoy successful professional golf careers and opened a pathway for numerous Canadians to pursue NCAA post-secondary golf. Canuck alums who have been coached and recruited by Page include David Morland IV (1987–1991), Bryan DeCorso (1991–1995), Ryan Yip (2002–2006), Mackenzie Hughes (2008–2012), Corey Conners (2010-2014), Taylor Pendrith (2010-2014) and Jon Mills (1998–2002), who now serves as Page’s assistant coach with Kent State. Other notables among the nearly 30 Canadians from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec or New Brunswick to play at Kent State include  Brian Tisdelle, Paul DeCorso, Ron Reycraft, Chuck Crawford, Spencer Dobbs, Josh Whalen, Billy Walsh, Danny Sahl, Mark Bourgeois J.P. Paiement and Dustin Risdon as well as current player Johnny Travale and Chris Vandette who has committed to the school starting next year.

Page, who coached two PGA TOUR winners, also mentored Kent State graduate Ben Curtis, who claimed the 2003 Open Championship as well as a runner-up finish at the 2008 PGA Championship, before retiring from competitive golf to open his own golf academy.

He also played an instrumental role in the 1997 launch of the women’s golf program at Kent State, opening a post-secondary for path for Canadian women from B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec including Jennifer Ha, Kira Miexner, Josee Doyon, Taylor Kim and Kirby Dreher as well as Veronique Drouin who is Women’s Head Coach at Oklahoma and Jan Dowling who is Women’s Head Coach at Michigan.

Among his many career honours and achievements, Page has been inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame (2003), Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame (2005), Northern Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame (2012) and Ontario Golf Hall of Fame (2012). He is a past winner of the Golf Coaches of America Labron Harris Award (2008) and was selected to coach the International team at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup.

Page and his wife, Dr. Paula Treckel, reside in Kent, Ohio.

From The Archives

Q&A with Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Robert Wylie

Robert Wylie
  1. Tell the readers how you got your start playing golf and a little bit about your early development.

I started out with a driver, a 5 iron, a 7 iron, and a putter and some friends took me out to play for the first time at the old Regal Golf Club when I was 17. I played all of the other sports pretty well and a good friend thought I should try out golf. That summer, as a beginner I lost a few dollars to my buddies and that made me a little grumpy. I spent the whole winter after that working indoors with Martin Alred and that changed everything. The very next spring, I won the City Amateur and needless to say I won my money back from my buddies. That’s how I got my start playing golf. I just loved it so much that I just kept at it and worked really hard. Martin and I really hit it off and everything he tried to teach me just made sense. Martin also coached Keith Alexander at the same time so he obviously knew what he was doing as an instructor.

  1. At what age did you know that you had a special talent for the game and that you might want to make it your career?

I think it would have been when I made the Willingdon Cup team in 1951. I played Bill Tate in the final of the Alberta Amateur at the Calgary Golf and Country Club to qualify and that told me that I had the talent to keep at it, shall we say. I went down to California to play some college golf in 1952. I came back to Calgary that summer and in 1953 I planned to turn pro and head out on tour. That didn’t work out so I ended becoming the pro at the Regal before landing at the Country Club in 1954 to work for Jack Cuthbert. In the fall of 1957, a member offered to sponsor me out on tour but that fell through after I had made the commitment to play.

  1. You had a short stint on the PGA Tour. Talk a little bit about that and share a couple of your favourite memories from that time.

In 1958, I joined the tour in Los Angeles and played every week until the tour got to Detroit, which was the week before the US Open. I made every cut and most weeks I was getting cheques for $25. They only paid about 20 spots and the winner was barely making $1000. My best finish was a 5th place at the Phoenix Open. The reality was you really couldn’t make any money out there at that time and by the time I got to Detroit, I was flat broke.

In terms of favourite memories, I had a really good week at the Bing Crosby and was paired with Stan Leonard on the final day. I was on the leaderboard and was going along pretty good until we got to the 6th hole, which was a par 5 (at Pebble Beach) and I hit a 4 wood for my second shot. It was wet, rainy and I caught a flier with that 4 wood that ended up in the Pacific Ocean behind the green and that pretty much did it. Stan Leonard was right in the hunt when we got to 17. After watching me hit driver, Stan got a little cocky, thinking he could get 3 wood there and buried it into the face of the front bunker and made double. Jay Hebert ended up winning.

My Pro-Am partner that week was Amos from Amos and Andy. He invited me to dinner one evening and when we arrived at the restaurant, Ben Hogan was having dinner with Vivian, his wife and one of the Firestone boys. They invited us to join them and I had a very nice dinner with Ben Hogan. He was a nice guy, very different from how he has been portrayed over the years. He told me that if I wanted to play my best golf, I needed to move down to a warm climate and play year round. That wasn’t in the cards but I have no regrets whatsoever. I have had a wonderful life playing golf.

  1. What did competing as an amateur mean to you as a golfer? Would you have made the same decision today?

My amateur status was restored in 1960 and that changed everything for me. I was very fortunate. I was notified in June of that year and that fall I was selected for Canada’s World Amateur team that competed at Merion in Philadelphia. The rest is history. I got to play all over the world representing Canada throughout my career as an amateur.

Would I have made the same decision today with all of the money that the pros are playing for? Probably not. I would love to have had that opportunity. If my game was equivalent to what is was in the 1950s and 1960s relative to the players of that day and was competing today, I think I would have made a bunch of money. In the six months I played out on tour in 1958, I didn’t miss one cut. And I was playing without any financial backing. It was tough.

  1. Few people will know that the Calgary G&CC is the only club in Canada to have three living members (Bob Wylie, Keith Alexander, Doug Silverberg) in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame at one time. Describe what is was like to have played at the Country Club in your time.

It was great; the competition really kept you on your toes and made the golf a lot of fun. It didn’t matter what day you went out to play, you were guaranteed a tough match. The environment made all of us better players, that’s for sure. Between Doug, Keith, and I, we represented Alberta 61 times in the Willingdon Cup, we had 12 national amateur tiles, 36 provincial titles, and we represented Canada internationally 32 times. And we were all pretty much the same age. And it wasn’t just the three of us. There were a half-dozen other guys that could really play too. It was great for us but it was also great for the club, if you think about it. I don’t think you will ever see anything like it again. We were very fortunate, that’s for sure.

As remarkable as our record was as a group, for me personally I could have contributed so much more if I hadn’t gotten into the booze the way I did. In 1972 I finished 3rd in the Canadian Amateur and the RCGA didn’t pick me to go to the World Cup that year because of the drinking. I didn’t really play good golf again until 1980 and if there were any regrets about my career, that would be it. That and not winning the Canadian Amateur.

  1. What was the most memorable victory of your career and why?

It would have to be my victory in the Alberta Amateur up at Mayfair in 1960. In the 36 hole final, I played Keith Alexander and we had a real dinger of a match. I think I beat him 2-up. To beat Keith at that time was real feather in your cap. He won the Canadian Amateur that same year, beating Gary Cowan in the final. That got him into the Masters the next year. Keith was on his game and so was I. We both loved that golf course and there were a lot of birdies between us that day. We had a really special match that day.

Edmonton was a great city for golf at that time. The people really came out to support and watch the players in the big competitions. There was about 5000 spectators for that final. It was quite something.

  1. What is your favourite golf course and why?

I don’t really have a favourite, to be honest. I have played so many great golf courses in my life that it is hard to pick just one. I feel very fortunate to say that. Royal Melbourne, this one (Calgary G&CC), Riviera, Royal Sydney, Royal Mayfair, Southern Hills, Merion, Turnberry, LACC, they are all terrific. I played a British Amateur at Royal County Down and that’s one I would love to see again. Playing those courses in competition was pretty special.

  1. Who was the toughest competitor you ever faced as a player?

Silverberg. He wanted to win more than any other player I competed against. You never got a “nice shot” out of Doug. He was out there to beat you, not to socialize and he’d be the first to admit it. He was intimidating because of his intensity; you could see him grinding the entire round. You could never feel like you had him beat because he never gave up. You could be on the green in two with a ten footer for birdie and he could be in the middle of a bush but you would have been foolish to think you were going to win the hole. He would make pars and birdies from places you wouldn’t imagine. It was remarkable. He just put his head down and tried to beat you. No one was tougher than Doug Silverberg.

  1. You won 7 Canadian Senior Amateur championships in a span of 10 years. What was tougher to win, those titles or the Club Championships at the Calgary G&CC?

The Club Championships at the Country Club, for sure. If you didn’t play your absolute best over three days, you had no chance. In those days, you had to shoot a few under par to win. There was a period of time when the championships were match play and I was never very good at match play compared to stroke play. I just didn’t have the killer instinct I guess; when I got up in a match, I wasn’t the kind of player that wanted to stomp on you and finish you off.

  1. What do you want to be remembered for as a golfer in Canada?

I’ve never really thought too much about it to be honest. Sure, I had a lot of success as an amateur but I think I am most proud of the golf swing I developed through a lot of hard work. I don’t think anyone worked at it more than I did. Over the years, I had a lot of nice things said about my ball striking by other golfers and that means a lot. Not to sound immodest, but in my prime, I don’t think I ever played with anyone that hit it better than I did, especially the irons. I never felt like I was awed by any other player. Even as a senior, I could do anything I wanted with a 2-iron, which is a bit of a lost art.


Courtesy of Fred Teno
Associate PGA of Canada professional
From The Archives

Canada’s most haunted golf clubs

With its long history and vast geography, Canada boasts many strange and spooky tales. There are haunted coal mines in Cape Breton, poltergeists in Calgary and even a pair of haunted boots in St. Vincent’s Newfoundland. It is no wonder, therefore, that golf courses across the country are rumoured to be home to some extraordinary spirits.

Haunted Lakes Golf Club

Winning the award for the Canadian golf course with the spookiest name is Haunted Lakes Golf Club in Alix, a town east of Red Deer, Alta. It is here an ancient drama plays out every winter along the third fairway, where Haunted Lake hugs the front right of the green.

Before Europeans arrived, native groups camped on the lake’s eastern shore. One winter, seven hunters camped there for the night. In the morning, they looked out across the lake and spied the magnificent head and antlers of a deer caught in the ice.

The seven headed off and upon reaching the creature, they started to chip away at the ice. The mighty animal, which was very much alive, gave a great heave and smashed through the ice. It swam for shore, breaking a path before it. The deer made it to shore and the safety of the woods, but the men were not so lucky. They plunged through the ice and all seven drowned.

It is said the seven hunters have haunted the lake ever since, giving the spot its name. Locals also claim that every winter a mysterious phenomenon can be observed as each year a huge fissure appears in the ice along the path the deer travelled to the shore.

Glen Abbey Golf Club

Several provinces east of Alberta you will find Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont.

The story says there is a house on the property which was built in 1937 by a mining engineer as his weekend retreat. The engineer, Andre Dorfman, was a leading figure in the Canadian mining industry at the time.

In 1953 Dorfman sold the house to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada as a retreat. The property was sold again in 1963 to businessmen who opened a golf club. In memory of the Jesuits, the course was given the name Glen Abbey. Soon after the club opened, reports of a specter began to surface.

Within 10 years, they started talking about a ghost in the building. The story is that the ghost lives in the old mansion and walks up the back stairs and down the main hallway towards the library.

The mansion is a good example of the stately homes built in Oakville in the early twentieth century. It is constructed of stone with a red clay tile roof and features a wood-lined library on the second floor. Originally known as RayDor Estate House, the building has been designated as a heritage property. Prior to 1975 it served as the golf course’s clubhouse and currently is home to an investment company.

One of the rooms in the basement is actually made to replicate the ship in which the original builder came over from Switzerland.

The ghost in the old mansion is said to be male, and eyewitnesses agree that it resembles a Jesuit father.

Victoria Golf Club

Victoria Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., boasts both an impressive course history and a ghost or two of its own. The club is beautifully situated on a rocky point at the southern end of Vancouver Island.

The club dates back to November 1893 when local golf enthusiasts negotiated for permanent rights to play the rough fields of Pemberton Farm. Originally, golfers were prohibited from using the grounds over the summer, when cattle grazed what would become today’s fairways.

Like Haunted Lakes, the Victoria Golf Club may be haunted by early aboriginal inhabitants. One researcher suggests that some of its phantoms may be the souls of native warriors killed in battle centuries ago. However, these spirits pale beside the club’s other resident, the late Doris Gravlin, possibly Victoria’s most famous ghost.

John Adams is an expert on Doris, as she’s affectionately called by locals. A historian and author, Adams is best known as the proprietor of the “Ghostly Walks” tour, which explores historic courtyards and spooky places where spirits like Doris make their presence known.

“Doris Thomson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1906 and immigrated to Canada with her parents,” recounts Adams. The Thomson family settled in Victoria where Doris’s mother worked at a private hospital. Doris became a nurse as well, until 1930 when she married Victor Gravlin.

Victor was a sports reporter for the Colonist newspaper, spending many happy hours golfing with his brother Walter, head pro at the Uplands Golf Club. The hours Victor spent with Doris would prove to be much less happy.

“When her husband began to drink heavily, Doris left him,” explains Adams, adding that Doris found work as a private live-in nurse.

“In mid-September of 1936 Victor delivered a letter to Doris,” Adams says. “Its contents were unknown, but are believed to have been a request for her to meet him to discuss reconciliation.”

Doris stepped out for a walk at about 7:45 pm on September 22, 1936; Victor left his parents’ house shortly thereafter. One observer saw them together on Runnymede Avenue, but after that, neither was seen alive.

Doris and Victor were reported missing. A search ensued and days later, Doris’s corpse was discovered. Her body was later discovered amid the driftwood on the beach near the 7th green by a caddy looking for lost balls. She had been strangled and her shoes, belt and felt hat were missing.

Gossips maintained that Victor had escaped. But they were wrong.

“One month later a fisherman found Victor’s body floating in the kelp beds off the ninth fairway,” describes Adams. “A length of rope was found in his coat pocket, along with Doris’s missing attire. The police concluded he had murdered his wife then committed suicide by walking into the water.”

The discovery of two bodies on the grounds gave rise to the notion the club was haunted, and many sightings have been reported since.

“Typical manifestations are a fast-moving figure in white, a feeling of doom, a cold wind and a globe of spectral light,” says Adams. “Doris also plays havoc with motorists along Beach Drive, sometimes flying through open windows and even penetrating windshields as a cold mist.”

From The Archives

Celebrating 50 year milestones

Fifty years ago, in 1968, we celebrated the opening of a number of golf courses from coast-to-coast in Canada.

The list of clubs include:

 

Notable Golf Moments in 1968:

The World Amateur Team Championship was held in Australia, Bob Charles is the first left-handed golfer to win the Canadian Open and the only New Zealander, and Sandra Post wins LPGA Rookie-of-the-Year Award as well as the 1968 LPGA Championship in a playoff. Bob Goalby won his only major championship, one stroke ahead of Roberto De Vicenzo, the reigning British Open champion.

From The Archives

Sandra Post celebrates Canada’s first LPGA major on 70th birthday

Sandra Post
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1978: Women's golfer Sandra Post in action during tournament play circa 1978. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Sandra Post turns 70 this week and celebrates another milestone this month as well – the 50th anniversary of her first LPGA Tour win.

Reflecting back, Post, who has had a lengthy list of accomplishment in her career including winning the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year, twice winning the Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year, and appointed to the Order of Canada, says winning the LPGA Championship, a major in her first try, is what’s been the focal point of her on-course legacy.

But with 50 years now passed, Post realizes she had a greater mission off the course to help promote and advance the status of women in sport.

“It wasn’t just sport,” she says. “I knew that early on. I knew there was other issues to it.”

Post says she hasn’t grasped how monumental her major win was until this anniversary has come up. She won a couple of tournaments later in her career that have since become majors (Post won the ANA Inspiration twice, when it was known as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and not yet a major) but didn’t realize then that majors really define one’s career.

“Those moments live with you,” she says. “If you’re a U.S. Open champion or an LPGA Champion… it really is fabulous.”

Post was just 20 years old when she teed it up in the 1968 LPGA Championship at Pleasant Valley Country Club, about an hour outside Boston.

She finished at 2-over after 72 holes, tied with Kathy Whitworth – one of her idols and who, up to that point, had won 27 times on the LPGA Tour (she would go on to win 88 times in her career, the most ever) – and there would be an 18-hole playoff to decide the champion on the Monday.

Post remembers calling her father back in Toronto to say there was going to be a playoff the following day and he caught the last flight to Boston on Sunday along with some members of the Canadian press corps who had just finished covering Bob Charles win the Canadian Open at St. George’s.

Post wasn’t able to sleep that night, so she jumped in her car and drove to Boston to pick up her dad. The members of the press who were also on the flight couldn’t believe Post, who was about to play the biggest round of her life, was there at midnight to drive the two-plus hours back and forth from Boston, but she says she had nothing else to do so decided to make the trip.

At a dinner earlier that night, she remembers sitting with Mickey Wright (World Golf Hall of Fame member and 82-time LPGA Tour winner) and Susie Berning (four-time LPGA Tour major winner) and asked what would she need to do in order to beat Whitworth the next day.

“I remember Susie saying, ‘fire everything you’ve got at her, right off the top. And I go, ‘Really? Ok.’ I’ll never forget those words,” says Post.

“I didn’t really have a strategy but I was thrilled to death I was going to finish second at the LPGA Championship,” she continues with a laugh.

Huge crowds had showed up for this David vs. Goliath match-up, Post says. She remembers her caddie being a young teenager, maybe 14, and their combined ages barely eclipsed Whitworth’s age of 29 at the time.

Post started the day with three straight birdies, but Whitworth made an eagle and a birdie in the first four holes and they were tied.

“I looked up on the hill after the fourth hole and I saw Susie and I said, ‘That’s all I got! Now what do I do?” says Post. “She just put her hands up.”

As the day chugged along, it looked like a foregone conclusion that Post was going to be the champion, extending her lead to five shots at one point.

But Wright was already one of the winningest golfers on the LPGA Tour, and Post wasn’t going to count her out. However, late in the round it was all but settled Post was going to win.

Post had dunked her approach from 90 yards out on the par-4 15th for a birdie to get to 7-under for the day. When they got to No. 17, Whitworth ended up in the trees with her tee shot. She couldn’t make it out, made quadruple bogey, and Post would go on to win by seven, finishing at 5-under to Whitworth’s 2-over.

Post won a “whopping” US$3,000 in first-place prize money, the most she had ever won at one time. She says she still has a copy of that cheque.

“I had a bonus with Spalding too. I got in my car and went down the road to Baltimore (where the next event was) thinking I was pretty rich,” she says, laughing.

Looking back on that victory 50 years ago, Post says there were a ton of great memories on the course, but it was off the course where she really learned her place in the world.

She knows they were playing for money and needed money to make a living, but all the women on the LPGA Tour at the time were trying to elevate the status of women in sport, and says they were all very conscious of their role in that.

Post says the voting for the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1968 was a big point in her realization that she needed to do more for the advancement of women in professional sport. She finished fifth in the voting that year.

“I took that very seriously. I was Rookie of the Year, I had won a major, and I was the first Canadian woman to really play golf professionally and get to that level. For a woman to play any sport professionally, and to see I was ranked fifth… I didn’t ever think it wasn’t fair, but I knew I had so much more work to do,” she says. “I had to get the message across to our country.”

Post says it was an honour to pass the baton in Canadian professional golf to Gail Graham and Dawn Coe-Jones, and then to see them pass it along to Lorie Kane and A.J. Eathorne, who then passed it to Alena Sharp and Brooke Henderson.

She’s happy to see there has been more done in women’s golf on the scholarship side and with purse increases on the LPGA Tour, and has no doubt Henderson is going to end up passing the baton sooner rather than later, given the talent on the LPGA Tour is getting younger and younger each year.

“I see the social issues and I see so many things we’ve been able to achieve. Absolutely we have a lot of work to do with the disparity of the purses and all that, but I tend to look more on the positive side,” she says.

At 70 Post remains as sharp as ever. Her victory half a century ago was the turning point for Canadian women’s golf and opened the door to many others who followed. And although she was a “young 20” when she found the winner’s circle, she says being a part of that group of women was something she’ll never forget.

“When I look back I have such admiration for those founders of the LPGA Tour and what they accomplished. Talk about pure pioneers of not only golf, but of women. To help move the needle for women,” she says. “I would not trade my time for any other time.”