I went to Toronto for 7 days for the RBC Canadian Open, where I had media accreditation, and my first stop was at Mississaugua Golf and Country Club. It was a Golf Journalists Association of Canada event and I caught up with a few journalists I already knew, plus I met a few more for the first time.
I saw Rick Young, from SCOREGolf, who told me he had been following my journey on Twitter, and asked me how Bolivia was. I met Jeremy Kehler (another Twitter friend) for the first time too, so I sat with him and Mike Johnny during the GJAC AGM. I'm not sure why, but they were calling for volunteers, so I put my hand up, and I'm now on their membership sub-committee!
We also got to play Mississagua and I enjoyed a wonderful round of golf with a new golf buddy, Claudio DeMarchi from The Traveling Golfer. He asked us to write a piece for his site, so I got Jeremy to write about our history and Awesome 4somes. Claudio loves what we're doing and published it straight away.
Lastly (but not least-ly), I introduced myself to Laurence Applebaum, the new CEO of Golf Canada, and had a great chat about junior golf and what Fairways is doing to develop it. Hopefully we can work together one day.
On Tuesday, I went out to Glen Abbey Golf Club (the Canadian Open host course), to get my accreditation and go to the official launch. It was attended by multiple golf legends, all of whom have been inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Bob Weeks, an inductee himself, was MC, and the event saw Bob Vokey and Judy Darling Evans announced as the new HOF members for 2017. Jack Nicklaus, a 1995 inductee, was also in attendance, as he designed Glen Abbey with the intention that it become the home of the Canadian Open.
I also got acquainted with the busy media centre at the course. Despite the hustle and bustle, I managed to reconnect with people I met at last year’s event and made some new contacts.
On Wednesday, I was at Glen Abbey again for a meeting with John Norris from the PGA Tour. I'd first met him at the 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii in January, where he had cut a lonely figure in the media centre, so without knowing who he was, I had just started chatting to him. He now wanted an update on Fairways and was quite impressed with our continued growth. We discussed Awesome 4somes and he asked me to email him as he will advocate for us and see if the PGA will support our work and donate tee times from PGA courses. Very cool!
Next, I was off to the Levelwear head office to meet with the Director of Licensing, Jeff Church. I'd met Jeff at the 2016 Candian Open, and he is keen to get involved with Fairways in some capacity. Did you know Levelwear is one of the largest manufacturers of golf apparel in North America? I ordered a few pieces from their latest range for Fairways, then I was given a tour of the factory. What a setup!
The gear arrived really quickly too and is very awesome! If you want some of your own, please get in touch with us.
For my next appointment, I headed north to Settler’s Ghost Golf Club. They had hosted a Dawn 2 Dusk fundraiser on Fairways' behalf and had raised $1240 (CAD). As a result, they had won the 2016 Open Championship flag from St. Andrew's, which had been kindly donated by my friend, Gordon Moir. The flag was still in Australia, so I messaged Jeremy to send it to the new owners (in the end he just mailed it because it was $100 cheaper than shipping by courier - it got there safely).
I played Settler's with members Peter Ashurst (a great supporter of me and Fairways), Guy LeBlanc and the Director of Golf, Mary-Pat Quilty. We had a wonderful golf chat and I am pleased to say that we will be working with Mary-Pat to support underprivileged junior golfers in the local area.
Settler's Ghost is a GolfNorth property, so Mary-Pat put me in touch with Mike Garside, GolfNorth's COO. After hearing Fairways' story and learning about Awesome 4somes, GolfNorth is going to donate tee times with carts at 20 of their Ontario courses. Awesome!
Another person I was looking forward to catching up with in Toronto, was Scott Stevens, from Eat Sleep Golf. Scott and I have been connected on Twitter for a while. We had a great golf chat and Scott promised to help us in any way he could.
In fact, he asked me if I would be happy to do a live YouTube interview with Ricky Potts on his #WednesdayMatchplay show. It happened really quickly too, because Ricky had a cancellation, so I stepped into the breach and four hours later I was live on YouTube!
Ricky and I had a fantastic chat, both on and off air.
Honestly, I love coming to events like these. I got to watch some amazing golf
at the RBC Canadian Open, and I made some fantastic new golf friends, all the while talking about Fairways!
As always, if you can help, please consider becoming a Fairways sponsor, or if you're involved in the industry, donating a tee time to Awesome 4somes. Thank you!