Each year, Flagstick Golf Magazine hosts an Amateur Championship, the Flagstick Open, at the eQuinelle Golf Club in Kemptville, Ontario. As in past years, the 2020 edition featured many high-level golfers from across two provinces. Golfers have come from much further afar in the past, but, as we are well aware, travel is much more subdued this year. That made the gathering even more significant from a social aspect, even with many restrictions in place. For many reasons.
With many low index players in the field, most eyes are on the leaders – the players like Robert Mustard who recorded a nine-under par total to win the event for the second time. While we look at this as a competitive tournament, it was the other end of the scoreboard that also illustrated what our media company, and golf is all about.
At 7:30 a.m. on the final day, the tee was open for our first group, the players who were dead last in scoring after round one. One would assume that this would find a couple golfers deeply disappointed about their play and possibly grumbling about the very early wake-up call.
But that was not the case.
With the leader at -6, two players were dozens of strokes behind but just a joyful at the opportunity to play another round. Nick Gauthier and Murray Gauthier would end the weekend at +78 and +80 on the leaderboard. Their response to that did not belie what you might see from some golfers.
The pair were all smiles as they played in their very first golf tournament. They were delighted to have the starter call their name on the first tee, and to have the moment captured on video for eternity. Equal satisfaction came from the chance to walk 36 holes together, step by step, as golfers, and father and son.
Family time, of course, has become even more cherished in the middle of this Covid-19 pandemic, making golf of even more value. The ability to social distance on a golf course makes 4-5 hours there with others of even greater importance in our lives. It keeps us connected, and undoubtedly enhances our mental well-being. We are social animals after all.
As the person tasked to call the Gauthiers to the tee each day, I found my mind wandering a bit from the assigned duties as I watched their interaction and the appreciative way they took on the situation. It reinforced my decision to spend more time on the golf course with my own daughter this year. I am seeing that trend across our region and beyond and it makes me proud to be associated with a game that potentially provides so much to our well-being.
2020 has been a challenge. To many, in many ways. But golf has proven to be an amazing outlet.
Even on the most trying of days on the links, we should all consider our great fortune to be where we are.
As the Gauthiers know, success is measured by more than a score.
This Column was featured in the August Issue of Flagstick Golf Magazine. To read the entire issue electronically visit this link.