Tiff Does Toronto - Part 2


Not caught up? Read Part 1 first, in which, amongst other things, I talked golf science with Bryson DeChambeau.

Thursday rolled around and after watching the elite golfers wield their clubs for a while, I headed to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, for a Q&A session with some former inductees. After the session I ended up speaking with champion golfer Gary Cowan. We talked about his golf, my golf and Fairways. He wanted more information and asked who at the Hall of Fame knew what I was doing. I admitted probably nobody so he grabbed Karen Hewson, the Managing Director for Membership and Heritage Services and gave her an outline of what I am doing and had me explain further. Karen took one of my business cards and told me she was going to ensure the rest of the senior managers at Golf Canada were informed about what we are doing at Fairways.

Later that afternoon I finally caught up with Peter Ashurst, who is a golf connection from Twitter. He has been following what I have being doing with Fairways and we had a great golf chat. He wanted to know how he could help us and I told him that we will have a Become a Sponsor button on our website by the end of the week, which in actual fact, is functioning now.

On Friday morning, I introduced myself to Dan Pino, the Director of Corporate Communications at Golf Canada, and apologized for being remiss by not doing it sooner. We chatted about golf in Canada and I told him about Fairways and he wanted to introduce me Andrew Foscarin, the Managing Editor of Golf Canada Magazine, as he thought they may be interested in writing an article about us. Andrew wasn't around, but I hope to meet him another time.

Perhaps at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open? I told Dan about my second application for media accreditation, on Terry Lenyk’s urging, for the Open in Calgary. My initial application had gone missing somehow, but I still hoped to be in attendance for the week, August 22-28. Dan said he'd make sure it was processed when it was received.

Later on, I got an email from Mike Johnny, who I'd played a round with two days earlier at The Ladies Club of Toronto. During the round, I'd told him about the Summer Solstice Golf Challenge, which Belfast Highland Greens had hosted to help raise funds for Fairways. Mike wants to have other clubs in the greater Toronto area hosting events next year. The more the merrier, I say.

At lunch I met and chatted with Kevin Spangler, who works for Golf Channel. As he wasn’t doing any live feeds, and didn’t have to work until later in the day, we decided to head out to watch the golf together. When Kevin had to head back to the truck to transmit footage, I went and sat beside the 16th green and watched numerous groups come through.

I had a golf chat with a volunteer, Phil, whose mate John happens to be in PEI for four weeks holidaying and golfing and I have given him instructions to get John to hunt me down for a round when I return. Any excuse to play golf.

Phil headed off, so I watched another group come through before a woman came and plopped down on the ground near me. I smiled and asked if she was having a good day. She wasn’t, as her son, Michael Johnson, who was in the playing group, was having a hard day in the tough conditions. It was very hot. She noted my accent and asked where I was from, so we got to know each other better. Her name was Shari. She told me she had a charity, and I told her I had one too, so she shot over to sit beside me.

Shari's son Bradley, who was a talented golfer, had died tragically ten years earlier, after which the family started the Bradley Johnson Memorial Foundation, to honour his memory and support junior golfers.

We swapped junior golf not-for-profit stories, and our contact details then Shari took my hand and thanked me, saying it was the first time she had smiled today after watching Michael struggle with his golf. We briefly discussed how we could work together to develop junior golf and as she headed off to watch Michael on the next tee, she was happy with my assurance I would stay in contact. Little meetings like that feel very serendipitous, don't they?

Saturday saw me head to Robo Golf Pro in the Spectator Village as they had tweeted me to come and visit them. I introduced myself to the girls and had a play on the machine. They set up Vaughn Taylor's swing and I felt what a real pro golfer's swing is like. Clearly I've still got some work to do.

Bradley Axon from SFGolfAdvisor was there, and you know me, I had to have a golf chat. We spoke about what Fairways is doing grow the game by sponsoring junior golfers globally. He wanted to put me in touch with lots of people in California as I told him I will be heading there when I leave Prince Edward Island in September. At his request I gave him a handful of business cards, whic he said he would pass on to numerous people in the industry. Cool!

I headed back to my favourite spot beside the 15th green, on birdie watch. There were plenty made, but the most excitement was reserved for a Ken Duke chip-in on the 14th.

I was wishing for a radio again like they had at the Australian Open, where I'd had media accreditation in November last year. I'd actually had spoken with one of the PGA Tour Radio guys earlier in the week about why there weren't any radios, as it was fantastic being tapped in to the live feed and knowing what exciting things were happening all over the course.

He said they didn't have a radio sponsor for this tournament. Perhaps I will just arrange it for next year and do a Toonie donation for Fairways to buy one. A Toonie is a Canadian two dollar coin. Surely I can get them branded and in bulk from Ali Baba? My COO, Jeremy, will be groaning as he reads this.

On Sunday I was in before most of the media turned up and was out and about watching the golf and spending a bit of time watching them warm up and do their practice drills.

At lunch, I was sitting beside Ted McIntyre, who writes for Travelling Golfer. We chatted about golf and his world golfing travels. I told him about my two year golf journey and what I am doing today in the golf industry. We swapped contact details, with promises of meeting again and I'm sure we'll tee it up somewhere in the world.

While I was watching all the action on the screens in the media centre, Terry Lenyk stopped for a minute and we had a chat about the amazing week of golf. I told him I love watching, tweeting and writing and told him I had been writing every night about my golfing adventures at the Open. He told me I should join the Golf Journalists Association of Canada, nodding in the direction of a gentleman sitting nearby and told me to speak to him about it.

I headed over to introduce myself to Grant Fraser, who is a member of the Association (Mike Johnny is also a member), and I told him what I am doing in golf. He told me I should definitely apply to join their ranks and I will be doing exactly that.

I cannot believe the contacts I made at the RBC Canadian Open. So many people want to help Fairways and what we're doing. I had no expectations except for watching some great golf and chatting with fellow golf lovers, but my week turned out beyond my imagination. People just kept falling in front of me, and if you know me, I do love a chat, so stories were swapped and ideas were shared. Everyone who loves golf wants to see the game grow and that is exactly what we are doing at Fairways. Ensuring juniors who want to golf can golf. It is pretty simple.

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