Golf Ontario Volunteers Highlighted At Appreciation Day

Golf Ontario volunteers were recognized at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day (Photo: Darren Matte, Golf Ontario)
Golf Ontario volunteers were recognized at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day (Photo: Darren Matte, Golf Ontario)
Golf Ontario volunteers were recognized at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day (Photo: Darren Matte, Golf Ontario)

The official governing body for the sport of golf in Ontario, Golf Ontario, paid tribute to their volunteers on October 11th at the Cedar Brae G&CC in Scarborough.

The annual Volunteer Appreciation day had those who are the lifeblood of Golf Ontario events walking the red carpet as they were recognized for all of their contributions, culminating with the presentation of the District Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Dick Grimm Distinguished Service Award, and Honorary Life Director Award.

“To me, one thing that is irrefutable is that volunteers are the greatest resource we have,” said Golf Ontario President Chris Osborne, as he addressed those in attendance. “Thank you to all of our volunteers because without you we can’t do anything. We can’t run events, we can’t rate golf courses and we certainly can’t help juniors. The folks in this room are what makes the association run and I hope we always do a good job in letting you know how much we appreciate all of your efforts.”

Honorary Life Director— John Turner

Honourary Life Directors are recognized for their outstanding achievements through their involvement as a Committee and Board Member. This year Golf Ontario chose to recognize an individual who has made tremendous contributions to the association and golf in the province, John Turner.

Turner continues to support Golf Ontario as a Rules Official, Rules Educator and membership analyzes. He has served on the Golf Ontario Board of Directors, from 2010-2015, and as the Officials Development Chair. Turner has also spent time on the Finance, Sport and Membership committees. In addition, Turner has conducted online rules seminars to help educate and prepare officials for certification or re-certification.

He remains active at Golf Ontario championships as a Rules and Senior Rules Official.

Dick Grimm Distinguished Service Award— Ralph Franchino

The Dick Grimm Distinguished Service Award is considered the highest honour recognizing individual service to the game of golf in Ontario. The award is named after Richard H. Grimm, who was affectionately known as “Mr. Canadian Open” for his service to the event from 1965 to 1993. Golf Ontario’s Dick Grimm Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual’s meritorious service as a volunteer. Recipients of this award embody the principles of integrity, dignity and commitment, which are central to the volunteer experience and to Mr. Grimm’s persona.

The 2016 recipient is Ralph Franchino. A Golf Ontario Course Rater and Course Rating Team Leader for more than 15 years, Franchino has had tremendous relationships with the clubs he has rated and has always finished his rating assignments in a timely manner. He always welcomes new team members and takes extra time to help train and make each individual an effective rater.  Franchino is a mentor for whomever he comes in contact with.

“I am very honoured to be associated with the noble Mr. Canadian Open,” said Franchino. “Personally, I believe this belongs to all of the volunteers because all of the ones I have met are so dedicated to promoting Golf Ontario and the game of golf.”  

Volunteer of the Year— Jim Arbuckle

The Golf Ontario Volunteer of the Year Award has been designed to recognize and honour a Golf Ontario volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding performance and contributions while preserving the integrity and traditions of the game.

This year’s recipient is Jim Arbuckle. Arbuckle has been a volunteer for eight years as a Course Rater and occasional Tournament Official, when his schedule as a Course Rater permits. This year, Arbuckle stepped up to take on additional responsibilities for the Course Rating team, helping with team leader roles. Arbuckle is always willing to help and has acted as an additional Course GPS volunteer in the Waterloo district.

“This is overwhelming!” Said Arbuckle. “To me this means that I am part of a larger organization in Golf Ontario. I have a great team that I work with and they are part of this award. I have a great team at Golf Ontario that I work with as well.”

District Volunteer of the Year— Elaine Jackson and Colleen French

Golf Ontario’s District Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes volunteers who embody the spirit of volunteering and have shown dedication by making significant contributions in promoting, supporting and expanding golf within their district community.

This year, Golf Ontario honoured a pair of individuals with the award: Elaine Jackson and Colleen French. Jackson has been a volunteer in the Kingston District for four years. She negotiates with the clubs for tournaments, gets reduced entry fees for members and more importantly for juniors. Jackson has successfully added net flights to all district tournaments and has encouraged clubs to do likewise. Jackson is at every tournament and does registration, scoring and award presentations.

“This award means that I have been recognized by my peers and Golf Ontario for doing a great job, and that means a lot to me,” said Jackson.  

French has successfully managed the Scarboro District for the past five years. She helped to establish an array of events that encourages all golfers within the district.  For the last few years, they have run a Men’s Four-Ball event to try and build male participation within the district.  Colleen is always willing to help where needed.