After returning from a wonderful trip to New York, (see blog post Sister Cities, June 14), we had to be on the golf course the next morning at 8:00 a.m. Talk about poor planning, especially at our age!

Peter and I had signed up to volunteer as Marshalls at the 2020 RBC Canadian Open Golf Tournament back in the fall of 2019. We had done this job a few years previously when it was hosted by a local golf club, and we found it to be a lot of fun. When the pandemic hit, our application for 2020 was rolled over to 2021 and then 2022. And here we were. What we didn’t think about was, adding up all the years between our last time and this,12 years had gone by. Which meant that we were 12 years older! That’s a lot of time and, let’s just admit it, aging. How well would we manage?

When the alarm went off at 8:00 am, we had our doubts. Would we find time for a nap somewhere during the day? Maybe there was a tree on our assigned hole, number 13, where we could hide and rest. After scarfing down a quick breakfast, we headed for the local bus that would take us to the site; a far shorter commute than driving past the golf course to park and taking the shuttle bus back.

The local bus stopped several blocks short of the course, St. George’s, because the road was closed to traffic. So we had to walk quite far to get to the Volunteer Centre. Then we discovered that there were no shuttle golf carts to take us to our hole and we had to walk farther. Much farther. It turned out that hole 13 is the farthest one from the entrance, and nobody we asked really knew how to get there. It took us a good half hour to find our way to the distant corner, at the top of a hill. Good grief – we hadn’t even started our shift and we were exhausted already!

The other Marshalls and our hole captains, Howie and John, were all very friendly and we chatted as we waited for the first group of golfers to show up. This was a practice day and not many pros came, so we sat on the grass and chatted some more. Some smart volunteers had brought collapsible stools to sit on and we were envious. Sitting on hard ground with no back support is hard work! Finally about 4:00 pm John offered to send some of us home and we accepted.

The next couple of days were similar – a lot of sitting around waiting and trying to balance on our newly-purchased stools, punctuated by very long trips to the distant porta-potties. Finally, on Thursday, the golfers came in earnest. We stood behind the ropes, facing the spectators with our hands up. “Silence please!” Except there were hardly any spectators; it seemed that they too had trouble finding hole 13. So we often sat down to watch, or even read the newspaper between foursomes. Until Bruce showed up.

Bruce took his Head Marshall job very seriously. “Marshalls are not allowed to sit!” “Keep your hands in the air at all times!” “Do Not walk in the tee area!” “Don’t disturb the players!” When he wasn’t around, we questioned our decision to help with this great Canadian event.

First of all we, and all the other 2000 volunteers, had to pay $80 each for our shirt, hat, water bottle and volunteer pass. Although the spectators were mostly agreeable, there were some challenges; for example the young guys who wanted to smoke pot. But mostly we had to really stretch ourselves to manage the 12-hour shifts, only able to sit down when Bruce was elsewhere.

The best perk, besides getting a guest pass so friends could visit, was watching the pros play up close. They studied their shots carefully, consulting notes and caddies for advice. They drove the ball over 200 yards effortlessly. They chipped out of the sand with ease. And they even missed a few putts – just like us! So maybe next year we’ll put our $80 towards our entrance fee and go as spectators. Sometimes, as we get older, we have to admit that, while we can still do our favourite things, we sometimes have to make modifications.


Still having technical difficulties so no pictures. A new laptop is in my immediate future!

2 thoughts on “FORE!

  1. You two are amazing!! I can’t imagine walking that much one day let alone the rest of the week. I like your spectator idea but we did one better. We sat in our comfortable chairs and watched on TV complete with commentary. I highly recommend it for next time.


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