Rightfully, the golf community is mourning Peter Haime, with news that the lifetime golf professional passed away on Friday.
Haime was a staple at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club for some 42 years, from 1960 until 2002, setting standards for PGA Professionals that were recognized at both a regional and national level.
Haime was a founding member of the PGA of Ottawa Zone, created in 1976 while he served on the association’s Board of Directors. He was integral part of the board for many years.
It was just three years prior to that when he took the reigns as the Head Professional at Ottawa Hunt, a lofty position for a man who came to the game relatively late in life.
Raised in Ottawa and an active young athlete, Haime took up the sport genuinely at just 16 years of age, first joining the caddie ranks; the incubator for many young professionals at the time.
The St. Pat’s High School student excelled at hockey, baseball, and basketball – abilities that would eventually help him master the golf course as well.
Caddy To Pro
A summer adventure in Banff, as a caddy, with boyhood friends, brothers and future NHL players Brian and Gary Smith would forever bond him with the links pursuit.
It was in Alberta that Haime would caddy for legendary Canadian Stan Leonard, the 8-time PGA of Canada champion who also won 3 times on the PGA TOUR.
Inspired by the experience he signed on back home with Stan Kolar, the esteemed professional at the Chaudiere in Gatineau.
His abilities grew and talent on and off the course earned him acclaim, enough that in 1960 the Head Professional at the Ottawa Hunt, Ken Clark, sought him out when he needed a new assistant professional.
Peter found an immediate home at the Ottawa Hunt, a place where he would raise his children Kevin and John (both future professionals) and eventually blossom his marriage to wife, Dawn, into a successful business situation when he became the Head Professional in 1973.
The pair were renowned for their immaculate shop, care for members, and informal sales parties.
It was enough that Peter was recognized as the PGA of Canada National Professional of the Year and the Retailer of the Year in 1998. The recognition of the retail acumen was so prolific that the Retailer Award at the Zone level was considered a near guarantee.
Haime would mentor many young golf professionals at his shop through the years, many who continue to be part of the game around the world and pass on his knowledge.
During his tenure at the Ottawa Hunt there were many highlights for Haime but he always referred to the visit by Arnold Palmer as the highlight of his decades at the club.
Palmer played a charity exhibition at the club in 1978 to benefit the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.
The heavily attended game saw a foursome of Palmer, the 62-time PGA TOUR winner, play alongside Haime as the host pro, young amateur Eric Kaufmanis, and Peter’s good friend and Hunt Club Champion, Peter Zebchuk.
“When it came time to hit the ball, Arnold, for some reason, he kind of brushed by me and just touched me a little bit with his elbow and gave me a little thumbs up, which he always did,” Haime recalled in an interview with CBC in 2016 after Palmer’s death.
“And I think that relaxed me, and from there on I played my tee shot on the first hole and it was a beauty and it got me going.”
For years after, on Palmer’s invitation, Haime and Zebchuk would continue to visit Palmer’s home club, Bay Hill, in Florida.
From simple roots, Peter Haime made a life in golf, shared that with his family and others, and eventually touched more people in the game than he ever knew.
With his passing so too does an important part of golf history in the National Capital Region.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Kelly Funeral Home, Walkley Chapel
1255 Walkley Road, Ottawa,
K1V 6P9, 613-731-1255
Friends and family may pay respects at a Mass in Memory at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 15, at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 194 Fourth Avenue, Ottawa, followed by coffee and light refreshments in the church hall.
In Memoriam donations to the Kevin Haime Junior Golf Initiative to provide opportunity for young golfers in the Ottawa region are appreciated by the family.
Condolences and sharing memories at www.kellyfh.ca.