Golf has been a pleasant, lifelong companion for Simcoe resident and retired merchant Wally Anderson.
His father, Bev, introduced him to the Norfolk Golf and Country Club in Simcoe when he was 10. Eighty years later, Anderson, 90, is still a regular.
On May 25, NGCC took time out from its morning tee-off to recognize Anderson and other longtime members of the club on Argyle Street in downtown Simcoe. Anderson’s reward for being such a loyal customer is a lifetime membership.
“The best I ever attained was a seven handicap,” Anderson said at the first tee. “I’ve always enjoyed playing golf. Naturally, when you play a round in the 70s, you enjoy it more than when you play in the 80s. But, yes, I’ve always enjoyed it.”
Golf can be a frustrating, challenging pastime. But the game has a grip on many people because a round of golf is almost always like a beautiful stroll in the park.
The scenery at NGCC has always impressed Anderson. He noted that the state of the greens, fairways and landscaping has improved considerably since he first laid eyes on it.
Anderson’s love of the beautiful stroll inspired him to buy a vacation home in Pinehurst, N.C., many years ago. Many will recognize the Pinehurst name as home to some of the most scenic and highly-rated golf courses in the United States.
Many will remember Anderson as the friendly owner of the former Anderson Pro Hardware on Norfolk Street South. He also served several terms on the former Town of Simcoe council when Alf Judd was the perennial mayor.
“When the town joined with Haldimand-Norfolk Region (in 1974), that’s when I threw in the sponge,” said Anderson, noting that, by then, he was deaf in one ear and it was tough to follow council proceedings.
Anderson wasn’t the only NGCC veteran celebrated Tuesday. The club also gave a tip of the hat to Dr. Keith Sutherland, Dr. Jeff Greenfield, Don Johnson and Bill Easdown, all of Simcoe.
“Behind the four members who teed off behind Wally, there’s more than 200 years worth of membership,” NGCC pro shop manager Mike Leonard said. “They’re legends around here, too — pillars of the club.”
Leonard said the presence of veteran members is valuable because they understand the club’s culture and model exemplary behaviour for young golfers and future members. He congratulated Anderson in particular for his unusually long association with NGCC, which is marking its 126th anniversary in 2021.
“He’s been a stalwart member of the community for so long,” Leonard said. “It’s a privilege and a delight to be around him. He’s quite charming.”
NGCC took advantage of an unusually warm, dry March to open early this season. However, the third province-wide lockdown came this spring and the course – like all others in Ontario – was off-limits to duffers for several weeks.
Leonard and staff got the word last week that they could reopen and resumed the 2021 season Saturday morning. Tee-times over the holiday weekend were fully booked, Leonard said, with nearly all of them reserved by NGCC’s 211 members.