While Quesnel Special Olympics golfers miss Kathy Gook at the Quesnel Golf Club, they were still able to take advantage of her hospitality last weekend (Oct. 5-6)
The long time head golf professional and manager of the local links, who took her talents to Kamloops’s Bighorn Golf and Country Club this year, extended an invite to the Special Olympics golfers to come play on her new course as she was leaving.
“She’d gotten the job and we’d had the conversation where she’d said, ‘Oh yeah, you guys should come down. It’d be great to have you,” says Special Olympics program co-ordinator Rick Prosk. “It was one of those things that people who move away always say.
“But I made sure to follow up.”
Gook held up her part of the bargain and more. Prosk said the six athletes and two coaches who joined were treated like royalty on the course.
“Kathy arranged for volunteers to show up and escort us around the course,” Prosk says, “so [the athletes] had drivers that took them around in golf carts and basically acted like their caddies.
“They were older retired guys, and it was hilarious. Clayton [Bauder] and Robert [Beiswanger] were in my group and this guy was running clubs out to them.
‘Oh, Clayton, you need your putter?’ and Clayton would say ‘yup’ and this guy would take Clayton’s putter out of his bag and run it out to him on the green. The luxury of having people wait on you like that was tremendous.”
Prosk says the volunteers were very familiar with the course and gave coaching advice on where to land the ball, how to read the greens, how to correct stances and how to improve swings.
“They were great supporters too, very enthusiastic,” he adds. “They were cheering for them whenever they made a good shot, and I think that was a big boost to their self-esteem.”
While golf carts were necessary on the mountainous course, one athlete would have preferred not to use them.
“It was very hard for Matthew Hender,” Prosk says. “He’s a stickler for rules, and Special Olympics rules say you must walk the course.
“So when he was told we’re all riding in the golf carts, he did not like it one bit because that is not what the rules say, but he went along with it and he played quite well.”
Hender was not the only one to excel.
Trevor Roszmann had a terrific weekend, scoring a birdie on the Saturday — when the group played the front nine holes — and driving onto the green from 150 yards away —when they played the back nine.
Prosk says it was a very positive experience for the players who went, and he is hoping to repeat it again next year.
“Kathy’s invited us back, so it’ll just be a matter of co-ordinating timing,” he says.