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Northwestern Ontario Golf Hall of Fame Inuagural Inductees

By Scott A.Sumner
Northwestern Ontario Golfing News
   It was an honour to attend and talk to the inaugural golf inductees and their families to the Northwestern Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.  Bill Gordon has been a big part of the golf community of Thunder Bay  for many years as a  Professional. Back in 1939 Bill started to caddie  at age 9 at the Port Arthur Country Club, now TBCC. He grew up with the  Stokaluks who lived nearby and were caddies as well.  Bill Gordon grew  up in the Southend of Thunder Bay near the Big M Bowling Alley and will  be 77 this August. He doesn't play golf anymore but is teaching some  scholarship holders.

image     In the early days when I first started in golf as a caddie we were  not permitted on the golf course. How it started was I bought  a  hickory shifted club  that was like a 5 iron. That's all I had. The  caddies got to play 2 tournaments each year.  You would be paid 50  cents if you carried two bags back then, smiled Bill Gordon. The pro
at TBCC asked me if I would like to clean clubs and at about 11 years  old  I began working at the club.  In 1945 the clubhouse and pro shop  burnt down which was  then situated where the number 7 green is now. In  1950 I started to get more serious about playing golf when I bought a  set of clubs in Geraldton for $67.17. In 1954 I got a new set from the  then Chapples Pro. That when golf got more into me.
      It took me quite a long time to lower my handicap- about 6 years.  After that I won a few tournaments including the District Amateur in  1958 and 1962, and then my amateur days were over. I applied to the   City of Thunder Bay Parks and Recreation when Mickey Hennessey as well  s Rob McCormack were in charge. I was interviews and was able to get  the job at Chapples where I stayed until 1986, 23 years in total,  noted Bill Gordon.
As an amateur I was very happy to play at Chapples. We had the  McDonalds Tournament then and Junior Development was my most important  work. Moe Norman was a very good friend of mine and helped me with the  juniors. We used to travel together and play many tournaments. Moe  would talk to you if he respected you but if he thought you had said  bad things about him would shy off. Golf came into my brain from his  brain because I played with Moe Norman as well asother greats like Al  Balding and Bob Panisuk who still holds 9 records across Canada.
    I was most interested in seeing Juniors enjoy the game of golf. We  used to have 125 junior players three times  a week  for  clinics  including golfers like Tony Stokaluk, Billy Seagris, Jackie Palmer and  Jimmy Szturm. We were so pleased with the kids we would provide hot  dogs for them for free, laughed Bill Gordon. I was teaching at the  ome last winter but now I am on the retired list.  If I am phoned I still go and help people as my health is good.

image    73 year old Bill Britton began an illustrious golf career in  1947  at Strathcona at age 14. He learned a lot watching and playing with his  father.   I don't remember when I last practiced because it gets you  through tough periods in the round. I really recommend practice and I  did a lot of practice when I was competing. Last year I played 33 times  and averaged a score of 85.1111, with my lowest score a 77, smiled the personable Bill Britton. I respect the steady golfer.  Bill Gordon was a steady golfer. It's quite humbling getting this honour. I don't  know if I should be sitting here. I snuck in there a few times in  tournaments. There are so many  young good golfers today they give  themselves great competition. The courses seem to be shorter now  because they hit is so far.  Still, if you put the pins in a hard place  it will be a lot harder to score.  I didn't know all my family  were  coming from Niagara Falls and Thunder Bay. It has  been a great day. Also represented at the ceromony by friends and family were Bob Devine and Bill Guy.



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