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Making A Case for Identifying Photographs – The Golf Edition

Joe McLean, Flagstick Golf Magazine

Do you ever look through old photographs in a photo album or from a box full of old photographs and wonder, who are these people?  

Some people write names in pencil on the back of photographs providing some identification and possibly a date, but in most cases photographs are not identified.

During this most recent period of COVID when we are basically asked to stay at home except for going out for essential purposes, I have found myself looking through and organizing old files stored in my basement office.

I came across this old photograph from the CPGA (now PGA of Canada) Life Members Reunion, September, 2005 at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Gatineau, Quebec.

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Upon inspection I realized that I could only identify two of the 30 CPGA golf professionals in the photograph and unfortunately they had both passed away. I knew Ray Haines and Eddie Dunn through my volunteer activities with the Ottawa Valley Golf Association and the PGA of Ottawa and my work with Flagstick Golf Magazine.

But who were the other 28 golf professionals in the photograph?

I first reached out through the Twitter social media platform and received a few responses and was able to identify a few more professionals. 

I then reached out to my friend Ian Clarke from the Golf Historical Society of Canada and who is also a Life Member of the PGA of Canada. He reached out to a few fellow golf professionals and they assisted in the identification process.

In the meantime, Paul Carrothers – Director of Golf at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club sent me a picture of the plaque titled,  “Presented to The Royal Ottawa Golf Club For Their Generous Support In Hosting The C.P.G.A. Life Members 1st Annual Reunion, September 13 & 14, 2005”. The nameplate under the original photograph in question gave the names of the participants in alphabetical order.  

I then passed this information along to Ian Clarke and his team of Paul Martin, Dave Ross and Michael Schurman and also to the PGA of Quebec.

In short order, I received a response from Ian Clarke identifying all but 3 of the reunion participants.

Through the internet I was able to identify Errol Nicholson in the photograph by reaching out to Benjamin King, GM at the Green Gables GC in P.E.I., where Errol had been the professional for many years.

Also through the internet, I was able to track down Jeff Wilson of Wilson Golf Management though the Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln, California. Jeff was able to identify his relative Delbert Wilson and also Bill Wright.

So, in the space of two days, I was able to track down the names of all of the participants in the 2005 CPGA Life Members Reunion and place them in proper order in the photo as found below.

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It was fun to identify the PGA of Canada Life Members in their 2005 photograph. 

One has to wonder how many of them are still alive and what they are doing now. Throughout this exercise my goal was to identify the participants while there was still someone alive and available to identify them.

The bonus to this exercise was finding out that this was the 1st time that PGA of Canada Life Members had held a reunion and that it was organized by PGA of Canada Member’s Ben McCallum and Dave Ross. 

According to a partial program I received, there was also a dinner held with guests Danny Baldwin, Steve Carroll, Paul Carrothers, Charlie Murray, Henry Near, Al Scott, Chris Wilson and Peter Haime as well as Honourary Officials Mario Brisebois, Max Oxford, John Simmons and Keith Tucker.

C.P.G.A. Life Members not in the reunion photograph but in attendance at the dinner were Ed Anderson, George Arnold, Ron Bolus, Henri Chatelain, Sid Dahl, John Davis, Larry Edwards, Bill Fox, Bill Greenwood, Raynald Guilbeault, Ross Henderson, Al Hosick, George Leuth, Alf Shand, Norm Smith and Jim Westwell.

For those unsure about the criteria used by the PGA of Canada, here is a statement found on the PGA of Canada Website: As recognition for long-term service as a PGA of Canada member, a member will be awarded a “Life Member” designation based on the following criteria: Minimum of 25 years as a Class “A” Member; Years as a Class “A” Member and age total 90 years; National Past Presidents of PGA of Canada qualify without age/service index.

I have learned a lesson from this exercise and in the future I will identify my pictures, especially group shots in a timelier manner.

Case in point, I found a more recent picture of the participants in the 2012 PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone Championship on the Flagstick.com Players Tour. Through a similar process as above I was able to accurately identify the participants in the picture below. 

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