Last week, the RCGA, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame announced its 2010 inductees. I would like to congratulate Graham Cooke and Brent Franklin on their selection under the player category.
While not many in the Canadian golf scene would remember Brent, I can say that, having competed with him during his years on the Canadian Tour, he was a world class player and well-deserving of this honour.
It is unfortunate that Brent endured the injuries he did as we all missed out on what might have been a very successful playing career.
I have been fortunate to know Graham more as a course designer than from the playing side. I am the general manager of OslerBrook Golf and Country Club in Collingwood, just north of Toronto a course that Graham designed with Jason Miller.
OslerBrook is a great private, member-owned golf course, always in tremendous shape and given the Osler Bluffs ski hills on one side and Georgian Bay on the other, probably one of the nicest views we have in Ontario.
The members are very proud of the golf course, as they should be, because Graham did a tremendous job in its design and as host of this summer’s 2010 Ontario women’s championship, OslerBrook should present a great challenge to some of the top female amateurs in the province..
The third inductee is the late Ben Kern, who will go in a s a builder of the game.
Ben was a long time mentor and perhaps the greatest influence on my professional life. I joined the staff at the National Golf Club in 1979 as a young assistant professional.
I worked under director of golf Al Balding my first year there. Ben was the head professional; our golf shop manager was Joe Rice and the great George Knudson, who was cutting back on his playing days, had just established his golf school that summer at the National.
It was probably the greatest collection of Canadian golf professionals at one club that this country has ever seen and I can’t tell you how fortunate I was to work for these gentlemen.
I stayed at the National, working and playing for 20 years, 16 of them with Ben as my pro.
This honor for Ben is long overdue and greatly deserved. While there will be many things said about Ben at his induction, I want to share with you in my next blog a few things about Ben that have influenced me in my career and some that I think that are forgotten in today’s golf business.
Ben was an excellent player, a very influential instructor and, most of all, a very forward-thinking and consummate golf professional.
It was a privilege to work for Ben and I know his wife Janet, sons, brothers and the whole Kern family will be proud not only for what Ben did, but who he was as a person.
Ben’s induction will be a very emotional day I am sure, but one I won’t miss and I expect it will bring back many great memories from my National days.