Northwest Golf Season Opens
by Scott A. Sumner
The tradition of golf from young players just starting out to long time veterans was honoured on May 25th in Thunder Bay. First there was the very popular Future Links sponsored by Pro Kids and Golf Thunder Bay where there were 52 kids registered ranging in age from 8 to 12
with a few girls for a good combination of both. “ The kids were divided into sections- putting skills, chipping, iron play and driving. This is the fifth year for the event which was sponsored in part by Subway and Pilot Concessions,” said Pat Berezowski, CPGA Professional and Clubhouse Supervisor with Golf Thunder Bay. “ There was a small fee of $15 to register. We had the District Champions of events out today helping the kids learn the game. We then had the skills competition with points awards on a score card. After they got a tee shirt and had
a nice lunch. We started at 9am, finished the instruction at 11 am and should rap up about 1 pm for the skills. There has been lots of cheering when they make the putts!”
The ceremony of golfers being inducted into the Thunder Bay District Hall of Fame also occurred that weekend with three new inductees becoming members. On Saturday May 24 at the annual Hall of Fame and Champions Luncheon at Caribou Restaurant, the following
gentlemen were inducted:
Don Stokaluk – Player
4 time Strathcona Invitational Champion (1960, 1963, 1974 and 1976)
1976 District Amateur Champion
1977 District Open Champion
The 4th player in history to win all three majors in his career is currently is only one of 10 players to achieve that feat Named Strathcona Invitational Player of the Decade for the 1960’s.
Don Stokaluk started playing tournaments in 1953 as a 13 year old and is 67 now. “ I played a lot of competitive and fun tournaments during my career. I like to kid my chums that I have ben fortunate enough to win events in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado and Texas,” smiled Don Stokaluk. “ My father and mother ran the concession at Strathcona Golf Course in the late 40s and early 50s. It was then I started borrowing a club and hitting golf balls at a young age behind the club house and with my parents being there I started playing and developed into a player. I may score a little high right now but I work on the game and get better. There are tournament we played in from Fort Frances, Atikokan, Dryden, Geraldton, Marathon, Terrace Bay and
Red Rock. I am gong to keep playing and having fun. I had a major medial operation in February and everything is going good. This year I bought a membership, rented a power cart for a year and have a lot of games lined up at Whitewater, Fort William and TBCC.”
Johnny Henry – Player
Born in Scotland
Won first 3 Strathcona Invitationals ever played (1930, 1931 and 1932)
Won 3 of the first 7 District Amateurs played (1927, 1930 and 1932)
Retired after 1932 season.
Became greenskeeper at Port Arthur CC and later Pro at FWCC.
Named player of the decade for the 1930’s at the Strathcona Invitational
Ray Cousineau – Builder
George Rowe Memorial Award Winner in 1990
Inducted to Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1998
Spent several years as an executive member of the TBDGA, most notably as a junior representative
Volunteered for several years at the Strathcona Invitational, notable
as the familiar voice of the Starter.
“ I started golf as soon as I could swing a club at 10 years old at Strathcona. I am 86 years old now and still love golf very much. It was good competition. I have a TV in my room at home and I watch from bed. I am not out of bed very much now and my health is up and down. I still like anything I see in golf.” said Ray Cousineau.
After the tremendous lunch at Caribou the winners of each TBDGA tournament and member club champions including juniors and seniors were off to play the opening event on the schedule: the Champions tournament. A new year of golf and traditions in Northwestern Ontario has begun.