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Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
Lively pensioners enjoy their day on the course
2017-08-28
by Randy Pascal

There is, almost certainly, no sport that is as closely linked to the joys of retirement as is the game of golf.

And in the Sudbury region, few and far between are the gatherings of those enjoy this special phase of their life, with laughs and memories on the links, than the Lively Golf Course Tuesday Pensioners group.

Last week, the clan that have been meeting up faithfully for some four decades now hosted their Wind-Up Tournament, with Bill Dopson earning overall bragging rights, carding a score of 78 to lead all contenders.

There is so much more to this event, however, than the focus on the leaderboard.

"There is a mix of both the competition, but mostly the social aspect," noted tournament and league organizer Dan Draper, sidelined this summer from the game he loves with broken ribs.

"A lot of the time, the guys are competitive within the own foursome. Even during the tournament, they tend to do that." Crossing paths with folks in their sixties and seventies on the local golf courses is hardly unusual. Yet, there is something a little extra special with this particular collection of golfing talent.

"This is the first golf course that I have been at that has the common group of pensioners," said Golf Operations Manager Curtis Tammi. "To get 135 guys on the course before 11:00 a.m., pretty much every Tuesday morning, is awesome."

Though managing any course requires a constant trade-off between ensuring that membership needs are met, while availing the venue to other key users, Tammi resonates with appreciation for the Lively connection with the pensioners.

"Many of these guys come in and have breakfast together, go out and play golf, and then come in and have lunch," he noted. "We really can't complain. If we could have seven days a week of that, we would be laughing."

Even ensuring that the key priorities for this assembly of ball strikers are met is not a terribly demanding task. "For the most part, they are very laid back, easy going, they're actually pretty low maintenance," said Tammi. "They come in, play golf and do their own thing."

Course General Manager Mark Taylor concurs completely, as he continues to focus his attention on understanding the needs of all those who utilize the Lively eighteen with regularity.

"The big thing for the membership is to have an open door policy, let them tell us what they are looking for - and stay in tune with that," said Taylor. "We make sure to get out there, talk to them, sit with them, have a coffee, play a round, that's what keeps me involved with them."

Like all of those involved everywhere with the sport of golf, Taylor and his co-horts are constantly looking to move forward. "This summer, we've tried out a few things to bring in green fees players and different types of golfers," he said.

"It's been a lot of all-around new faces, which is good for the game of golf. To come here and see a full tee sheet with a range of ages, that's nice to see." And what of the elder statesmen of the age brackets, those who descend on Lively each and every Tuesday.

"I love the pensioners' morning, to be honest with you," stated Taylor. "It's a blast. For me, born and raised in Lively, it's kind of neat to see the familiar faces. A lot of these guys, I've gone to school with their kids, some have been my teachers through high school. To see them all here and coming together, the positive energy is a great thing."

In fact, it's a facet of the tournament not lost on the sponsors. Ken Desjardins of Metro Val Est provided the financial backing for the five separate hole in one prizes that were up for grabs, identifying a few key synergies with this group right across his business spectrum.

"It's the age group of the people that are playing, and the non-competitiveness of it, providing retirees with something to do and keep active," Desjardins noted of the attraction that propelled him to support the event.

"It fits nicely with my other business, Comfort Keepers, and a lot of the participants do come from the Valley, which is my market." And of course, there is one other cross-connection with the man behind the entire organization, the one who most ensures that things run smoothly when the local retirees gather for an enjoyable round of golf.

"Dan (Draper) really has a feel for helping out, it's amazing the commitment that he gives once he gets himself involved," said Desjardins. "He loves golf, and he loves organizing. If he comes to me with some sort of idea, I know it's going to work and that he's going to go through with it."

As for the results themselves, following is a quick snapshot of some of the highlights:

Top Five - Low Gross
1st - Bill Dopson - 78
2nd - Pete Stankiewicz - 79
3rd - Brian Crowder - 82
4th - P Manninen - 83
4th - Bob Polano - 83

Low Net - By Flight
1st - John Hill - 60.2
2nd - Don Kolybaba - 64.7
3rd - Ken Hawkins - 66.4
5th - Pat Thompson - 69.2
6th - Marte Houlouka - 70.6

Closest to the Pin
Hole #2 - Neil Feeley
Hole #4 - Ken Hawkins
Hole #10 - Rod MacDonald
Hole #14 - Dave Hodge
Hole#17 - Paul Aloisi

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