Parker knew what to do and how to help
Terry Parker is being remembered as a hard-nosed businessman who could have a heart of gold.
The longtime PGA of Canada professional at Hidden Lake Golf Club in Burlington, where he was also part-owner, died last week of cancer. He was 67.
“He was a very, very sharp businessman when it came to dealing with suppliers,” said George Tidd, Parker’s best friend of almost 50 years and co-owner at Hidden Lake. “They say in the restaurant business that you have your guys in the front of the store and the guys in the back, and I was always the guy in the front of the store who knew everybody’s name and was handshaking and backslapping. Parker was behind the scenes doing the buying and bookkeeping and checking invoices. He was the business mind. We always said that we only had half a brain each but together we were pretty good.”
While he was hammering sales reps in the front of the pro shop to get the best deal possible, Parker was always available to help young golfers learn the business.
Canadian National Amateur Team member Blair Hamilton of Burlington, who is playing in this week’s RBC Canadian Open, has played out of Hidden Lake and worked in the back shop since he was a teenager.
“Mr. Parker was always really good to me and Hidden Lake has been huge for my golfing career,” said Hamilton. “He was a straight shooter and everyone who knew him would tell you that. He’s going to tell you exactly what he thinks and he respected people who were straight shooters. I never had an issue with him, not one time. He always helped me out when I needed it and I’ll think back very highly of Mr. Parker.”
Burlington native Michael Gligic, who is now playing the McKenzie PGA Tour Canada, admits he took a while to realize the life lesson he learned from Parker when he worked in the back shop as a teenager. “He was hard to work for at times, but now that I’m older I realize that he just wanted things done right. He was a great guy.”
Tidd and Parker met at the nowdefunct Lido Golf Club in Oakville in the late 1960s, where Tidd was the senior assistant professional and hired Parker. Together they ran a very successful pro shop.
In 1979 when it became obvious that the land Lido was on would be developed, they joined an ownership group that was purchasing Hidden Lake. “It had been closed for three years, so we put that back into operation and opened it in 1980,” said Tidd.
When the group made the decision to expand the 18-hole track first to 27 and then 36, Parker went to Florida to study golf course architecture. When he returned, he did most of the design work on Hidden Lake’s New Course.
WHOLE-IN-ONE: Gligic played in a three-day tournament in Pittsburgh recently. When he and David Bradshaw finished in a tie they went to a three-hole playoff, which also ended in a stalemate. On the first sudden-death hole, a par three, Gligic put it on the green 25 feet from the hole. Bradshaw ended it by making an ace.
With files from Teri Pecoskie Garry McKay is a veteran, award-winning golf journalist and a former sportswriter with The Hamilton Spectator. email@example.com