‘It was his pas­sion’

Golf tour­na­ment held in hon­our of Ray Thomp­son

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NICHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The Com­pass Ray Thomp­son of Co­ley’s Point was an im­por­tant part of the es­tab­lish­ment at Pitcher’s Pond Golf Course in White­way. He loved the sport of golf. Pick­ing up the game while liv­ing in On­tario, Ray had a de­sire to see the game grow in New­found­land.

It was this love of golf that drove Ray to see the build­ing of the golf course, and drove other mem­bers of the board of di­rec­tors to put off the first an­nual Ray Thomp­son Me­mo­rial Golf Tour­na­ment on Aug. 25. Ray passed away on Nov. 20, 2012.

Omi­nous start

It did not look promis­ing for the tour­na­ment at the start. The morn­ing of Aug. 25 was dark and dreary, with fog set­tling in over the course.

How­ever, as the 18 teams pro­gressed through the day, the fog blew off, the sun came out and the day turned into the per­fect day for golf, just as Ray would have wanted it.

The tour­na­ment was deemed a suc­cess by or­ga­niz­ers and fea­tured two of Ray’s grand­son, Spencer Grant and Ni­cholaus Thomp­son.

For Grant, who lives in On­tario, it was his first time at Pitcher’s Pond since his grand­fa­ther brought him as a young boy.

“It was my sec­ond time golf­ing again, with­out him there. It was dif­fer­ent,” said Grant, an emo­tional hitch in his voice. “It was nice.”

Grant has an in­ter­est­ing story about his choice of footwear for the tour­na­ment. The morn­ing of Aug. 25, Grant was look­ing for golf spikes for the tour­na­ment at his grand­fa­ther’s home in Bare­need.

With the help of his grand­mother, Bar­bara Thomp­son, Grant found a pair of Ray’s spikes. “They looked brand new,” she said. With spikes in hand, Grant set off to play in the tour­na­ment. At the be­gin­ning, it be­came clear his spikes were not go­ing to last the en­tire day. First, the sole on the right shoe fell off and then three holes later, the sole of the left shoe fell off.

All in all, Grant was hon­oured to have the op­por­tu­nity to play in a tour­na­ment in mem­ory of his grand­fa­ther. “It was emo­tional,” said Grant. Ray picked up the game while liv- ing in On­tario, prior to mov­ing back to Bare­need in Oc­to­ber 1987.

“Ray loved golf­ing,” said Bar­bara. “It was his pas­sion.”

Ray loved play­ing all sports, but golf was dif­fer­ent. When the body ages, it pre­vents one from par­tic­i­pat­ing in more phys­i­cally de­mand­ing sports. How­ever, golf al­lows the ath­lete to con­tinue com­pet­ing at an ad­vanced age.

Ray wanted the young peo­ple in his home re­gion to learn the so­called “Sport of Kings.”

“It needs to be ex­posed to the youth; it re­ally does,” said Bar­bara.

Put the ef­fort in

Ray helped de­sign the club­house that over­looks the nine-hole course and served on the board of di­rec­tors as sec­re­tary, chair­man and pastchair­man at dif­fer­ent times.

He owned his own elec­tri­cal com­pany when he lived in On­tario, and do­nated those skills to the build­ing of the orig­i­nal of­fice trailer club and the cur­rent club­house.

“Ray was one of the found­ing mem­bers who never lost sight of es­tab­lish­ing a golf course in the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion area. No mat­ter what ob­sta­cles where thrown in the way, he per­se­vered un­til the dream be­came a re­al­ity,” said Eric Jer­rett.

Once the course was com­pleted, Ray con­tin­ued to push for the suc­cess of Pitcher’s Pond.

He was will­ing to do any job nec­es­sary of him, added Jer­rett.

“(Ray) was act­ing man­ager un­til he could do it no more,” he said. “It is in­deed fit­ting that a me­mo­rial tour­na­ment be held in his name.”

Bar­bara agrees with that state­ment.

She could think of no bet­ter way to hon­our her hus­band’s mem­ory than a tour­na­ment in the sport that he loved.

What would Ray think of a tour­na­ment held in his name that at­tracted so many of his fel­low golfers?

“He’d be very proud,” said Bar­bara.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Golfer Wayne Fa­gan (left) watches his tee shot on the first hole at Pitcher’s Pond Golf Course in White­way on Aug. 25. Fa­gan, along with Corey St. Croix (sec­ond from left), Shel­don Nose­wor­thy and Terry Fa­gan (right) were just four of the some 72 golfers who took part in the first an­nual Ray Thomp­son Me­mo­rial Golf Tour­na­ment.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Bar­bara Thomp­son sits with her grand­son Spencer Grant (right) at her home in Bare­need.

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