Wednesday, October 21st saw one very influential golfer added to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Jocelyne Bourassa was honoured in a ceremony in Toronto alongside ten other athletes.
Bourassa had a storied career as a golfer and went on to become an ambassador and builder of the game through various avenues.
She was recently honoured at the World Junior Girls Golf Championship in Ottawa where she shared her experiences with golfers from around the world during an opening ceremony speech.
Bourassa established herself as one of the top golf athletes and builders in Canada. Jocelyne was a Université de Montréal graduate, who played on the men’s golf team since there was no women’s team, making a lasting impression that would drive her desire to support female golfers. In her playing career she won three Québec Junior crowns in a row (1963, 1964, 1965), four Québec Amateur championships (1963, 1969, 1970, 1971) and was a member of Québec’s teams on eight occasions between 1962 and 1971. Jocelyne was also successful nationally, capturing two Canadian Open Championship crowns (1965 and 1971) and was runner-up in 1968. Internationally, she won the Scottish Girls title (Scotland, 1967) and the New Zealand amateur crown in 1971 and was a member of Canadian teams in the 1970 World Championships and 1971 Commonwealth Matches. In 1973 Jocelyne became the only Canadian to have ever won an LPGA event on home soil before being forced to end her playing career due to a knee injury in 1979.
Jocelyne’s contributions and commitment to golf have gone well beyond her outstanding athletic career to have been one of golf’s exemplary builders. In a male dominated sport, Jocelyne championed the development of women’s golf and led a tradition of excellence. She has worked with Canadian golf associations and the Canadian PGA to initiate developmental programs for young female golf professionals. When Jocelyne founded the du Maurier Series in 1980 what would become the Canadian Women’s Open in 1980 there were less than 20 professional women golfers. Today, thanks to her tireless efforts, there are over 150. Jocelyne served as the Executive Director of the du Maurier Classic Canadian Women’s Open for over 20 years. She also served on the LPGA Board of Sponsors including a role as Vice President. In 2013, her 40th anniversary of winning the LPGA event called la Canadienne sponsored by Jean-Louis Lévesque, as part of a “Give to the Next Generation” initiative, Jocelyne financially supported a young golf professional to help her integrate into the LPGA tour.
Jocelyne is a role model and mentor to women golfers across Canada and has served as a senior consultant with Golf Québec that developed a program to bring golf to primary schools. The Royal Canadian Golf Association created the Jocelyne Bourassa Player of the Year Award, in recognition of her tremendous contribution to the game of golf, which is given annually to the Canadian Women’s Tour player who is the top finisher on the Tour’s Order of Merit. Jocelyne became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1973. Highly respected, Jocelyne is considered in an affectionate way as Canada’s ambassador of golf.