King’s For­est is host­ing Blind Golf cham­pi­onship

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - Garry McKay is a vet­eran, award-win­ning golf jour­nal­ist and former sports­writer with The Spec­ta­tor. Gar­rym­ckay1@rogers.com GARRY MCKAY

For many of us who strug­gle to have any level of pro­fi­ciency in golf it’s vir­tu­ally unimag­in­able to be blind and good at it.

There are great blind golfers, how­ever, and over the years the Hamil­ton area has been home to a num­ber of them.

The late Claude Pat­te­more is in the Cana­dian Golf Hall of Fame for his ac­com­plish­ments. Nick Gen­ovese, who died in 2005, never got quite the spot­light that Claude did but was equally pro­fi­cient in the sport. Be­tween them they won 18 Cana­dian Blind Golfers Cham­pi­onships and 33 On­tario ti­tles.

So it should prob­a­bly be no sur­prise that the On­tario Cham­pi­onship is held reg­u­larly at Chippewa Creek and that Blind Golf Canada and the On­tario Visu­ally Im­paired Golfers as­so­ci­a­tion has cho­sen to bring the Cana­dian Cham­pi­onship to Hamil­ton.

It will be played Aug. 15-16 at King’s For­est and will be fol­lowed on the 17th with a fundrais­ing tour­na­ment at Che­doke with the pro­ceeds go­ing to help blind ju­niors get into the sport.

“For the Cana­dian Cham­pi­onships we have play­ers from all over Canada and the United States as well as two from Italy and one from Ire­land,” says Rick Kush, who is a com­peti­tor as well as be­ing on the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee.

“There will be com­pe­ti­tion in three di­vi­sions, to­tally blind, five-per-cent vi­sion and 10-per-cent vi­sion, which is the le­gal thresh­old for blind­ness.”

The tour­na­ment is spon­sored by Bos­ton Pizza, Mon­tanas, the CNIB, lo­cal Li­ons Clubs and with sup­port from the City of Hamil­ton

Or­ga­niz­ers are still look­ing for vol­un­teers to help out as scor­ers and they are also en­cour­ag­ing spec­ta­tors to come out and get a feel for what golf for the blind is all about.

Kush says the only sig­nif­i­cant rules dif­fer­ences is that blind golfers are al­lowed to ground their clubs in sand traps and have a coach to line them up.

Or­ga­niz­ers are also look­ing for golfers to play in the fundraiser on the 17th. For $100 you get golf, with a cart, lunch and din­ner and you’ll get a chance to play with a blind golfer and see first hand what amaz­ing ath­letes they are. If you’d like to en­ter the fundrais­ing tour­na­ment or vol­un­teer to help in the Cana­dian Cham­pi­onship you can con­tact Kush at rick.kush@agr.gc.ca or call him at 519-4003719.

This past weekend marked the be­gin­ning of club cham­pi­onship sea­son at area golf clubs.

At King’s For­est they were lit­er­ally down to the fi­nal holes on Mon­day be­fore the skies opened up. Af­ter a lengthy de­lay or­ga­niz­ers went out with squeegees to clear the 18th green to get fin­ished.

Wal­ter Wiebe won with a three-round to­tal of 224, two bet­ter than John Bowker.

Bill Pope won B-Flight in a one-hole play­off over Jim Pol­ing. Russ Hunt cap­tured C-Flight. At South­brook Oliver Hunt won both the over­all men’s and ju­nior’s club cham­pi­onships. Shelly Mayo won the ladies ti­tle while Jim Ban­yard took se­nior men’s and John Hor­rocks cap­tured su­per se­nior.

WHOLE-IN-ONE: Aces in the area in­clude two at Wil­low Val­ley, Ron Jef­fery from 102yards with an eight iron on the 15th and Luc Warnock from 167 yards with an eight iron on 17. There were also two sin­gle­tons on the sixth hole of the Gold Ea­gle nine at Chippewa Creek; Paul Cough­lin from 127 yards with a nine iron and Brian Maragno from 144 yards with an eight iron. Glenn Souter aced the 14th hole at South­brook with a five iron.

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