Posted by: Jim Kenesky
I started playing the Great Lakes Tour in 2005 as an unattached Professional. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, my eyes were opened up to a world of wonderful things.
I consider myself one of the last in a Generation of professionals in the Province. I was born in 1980 and youngest of three siblings by 5 years. So what this means is that I grew up in a world of hand-me-downs and following my brothers' lead. Though I was born in the 80's, I felt closer to the older crowd. The Generation I'm referring to are the golf professionals who grew up in the 70's....
I learned to play golf by trying to fit in with my older brother and his friends. I was mesmerized by watching them play golf and how much fun they perceived to be having with each other while on the golf course. The constant ripping into each other, fierce competition and general commonality for the love of playing golf. They truly loved to beat each other and all I ever wanted to do was compete with them. As a 10 year old, I was playing most of my golf with 15 and 16 year olds. At the time I was considered a tag along, but I hope they realize how much those days mean to me now.
Playing the Great Lakes Tour in 2005 for the first time was like going back to those days as a 10 year old playing with the big kids. My first round as a professional was at Forest City National in London ON. I was paired with Brian Hadley (rookie like me at the time and later 2 time PGA of Ontario Champion) and Jim Gifford. That day was jaw dropping as I cruised through the tee times, I realized there were a dozen players I remember watching as a kid at Canadian Tour events. Competing against them almost seemed far fetched, but there I was.
Over the course of my first two seasons on the GLT I played with numerous guys and met many more. Just being a part of the crowd was enough for me. The guys were great. We helped each other out with our games, we competed and on the road roomed together. It's a shame this group has been diminished due to the insecurity of the Sport within the pro ranks. However, many of these people are still my friends today and this will likely continue for the rest of our lives.
I can't say how much being a part of the GLT means to me now. Having the ability to help keep a Tour moving forward and seeing new friendships and rivalries blossom is what it's all about. The players of the GLT and those within the PGA of Canada who support this tour are in for a treat. The new Era of the Great Lakes Tour will begin now and promises to bring back the swagger mini tour golf once had in Ontario. I believe in strong communication and up to date results. Nothing is hidden and our players can use their voice to make a difference. I used to ask a hundred questions as a kid and it's how I got better. The Tour will only be as strong as those with a voice.
Stay tuned for upcoming changes and great new paid exemptions into some wonderful events across Canada. We plan on delivering many opportunities to our players on the Tour.
Without a COMMUNITY of "Passionate" players, we cannot build a solid city.