With all the negativity that has been going on in golf in recent years, GNN bloggers have been asked to discuss what they’re thankful for in the golf industry as Thanksgiving weekend approaches. It’s Michael Schurman’s turn below.
It is rare that I project my personal life into my blogs, opinions yes but personal life no.
Last week, my long time friend and fellow golf professional Dave Clayton once again organized an overnight trip to Gananoque for eight Ontario golf professionals. We play at Smuggler’s Glen and stay at the Glen Resort.
While there, we have a two-day competition pitting Ontario against a team from Ottawa and one from Quebec. In some instances we renew friendships that have continued for many years.
For example, Wayne Swann who now owns a course in Dunsford, Ont., was the assistant professional to Mel Taylor at Aurora Highlands in 1964 and I was the backshop boy.
We have played numerous times, enjoyed dinner together and spent countless hours talking golf over our 51-year friendship.
I tell you this because during the trip home, my wife and I were talking about some of the difficulties we have had to endure over the past few years.
In February 2011, I tore my left rotator cuff and was unable to play golf for the next two seasons.
In June 2011, my best friend and travelling companion, Frank Whibley died after years of fighting cancer.
My wife’s parents have had multiple health issues that consumed most of her time. In June of 2014, my mother died unexpectedly and our 96-year-old father came to live with my wife and me.
He passed away in December and as much as I can hear some people voice “you’ve got to be kidding,” we lost our long time Great Dane, Rossi in the winter.
So what could I possibly have to be thankful for this weekend?
First, I have the most incredible wife and we are both healthy. My mother lived until age 92; was rarely ill and only lived one month after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. She had an unbelievable send-off and didn’t suffer. My Dad wanted to join her as soon as he could. I’m sad for me but I’m happy for him. He didn’t suffer at all either.
The silver lining regarding Dad was that I left home 50 years ago. Sure, we saw each other at Christmas and other times, but I didn’t really know him. During the six months that he was here, I was his primary caregiver.
I drove him to appointments and meetings. We shared hour upon hour reminiscing and exchanging ideas. We became friends like we had never been before.
Last year wasn’t easy! We had a lot of pain and anguish but this weekend is Thanksgiving, not misery weekend.
My parents were the longest living, married couple in Ontario when Mom died. In their 72 years of marriage, I never saw them fight, argue or cast a disparaging remark at one other. I befriended my father in a way I cannot describe.
Frank and I played over 300 rounds together and travelled thousands of miles. Ross gave us a friendship only a dog-lover could ever understand and my son and his wife are healthy, as are my grandson and granddaughter.
The best part is that in every way each of them played a role in our lives they each brought my wife and I closer together.
So this Thanksgiving, take a look around you.
We’ve just had one of the best summers for weather ever, rounds are up and profits are up. Go home, open the door and hug everyone who lives there. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year.