‘It was his passion’
Golf tournament held in honour of Ray Thompson
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.
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.
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.
Barbara Thompson sits with her grandson Spencer Grant (right) at her home in Bareneed.