ST. THOMAS, Ontario -- With ever-changing weather in this part of the country, no round of disc golf is ever taken for granted. But one thing is for sure; if the temperature is above freezing (or even hovering right around it) enthusiastic disc golfers in Southern Ontario are out on the course.
This passion for the sport is the norm in and around Elgin County, and it grows tenfold when a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) event comes to town.
This is the case now through Sunday December 4 at the St. Thomas Golf & Country Club (which is nicknamed Union) when it hosts a PDGA A Tier event, Union—Presented by Sun Life Financial.The event is the first of its kind in the country club’s 120-year history. It has drawn disc golfers from all over North America. The tournament is being held in support of the Brain Injury Association of London and Region, which will receive all proceeds of the event.
PDGA Member and Innova sponsored professional Martin Hendel is the highest rated Canadian player and has seen a lot of events come rolling through Elgin County. However, he believes none of them compare to a weekend of competition at Union. “People from St. Thomas are nuts about disc golf, and this event is truly unique, ” said Hendel. “Our enthusiasm will get everyone’s attention. I sincerely hope we get great weather but if we don’t, it won’t matter to us. We will show up no matter what it’s like.”
Christopher Abbey, an Advisor with Sun Life Financial was one of the first sponsors to jump on board. “I’m excited. This is a tremendous opportunity for to be associated with a growing sport and a tournament the first of its kind. It is a sport that eschews the same values as we hold at Sun Life. We advocate healthy lifestyles and programs that are sustainable, inclusive, and accessible to everyone. It’s going to be a great weekend."
Many other local business and individuals have also had a hand in helping with sponsorships, including: Director of Variable Operations at London Honda, Peter Park; John Shamoon of Stride Rehabilitation Services Inc.; the partners of Wallace, Smith Lawyers LLP; Karen Hurley and Karen Greason of Remax; Alicia Christiaen; Agnes Agnelli of DMA Rehability; Dr. Brad Carson and Dr. David Aiello of Sunningdale Dental; Ken Hou of Innercore Health; and Dr. Maciej Suwala of IRIS. In addition, International brain injury specialists Dr. Ted Carrick of the Carrick Brain Institute and Dr. Nathan Keiser of Innova Brain Rehabilitation Services have also lent a hand in sponsorship.
Assistant Tournament Director, Colin Fitchett, notes, “It is amazing to see so many people come together to help showcase disc golf, promote brain injury awareness, and to do some good in the community. Andrew Pearson, the Head Pro at Union, has graciously allowed us the use of this amazing property. Paul Rosen, Canadian Para Olympic Gold Medal Sledge Hockey Goalie, is giving his time on Saturday morning to send us out to compete with a motivational speech.
Competitors are travelling from all over Ontario, as well as Manitoba, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, and California. We also have support from traditional disc golf companies like Latitude64, Dynamic Discs, Innova, Discmania, GRIP, Prodigy, Zuca as well as folks from Sun Life, London Honda, and Adidas. It’s all pretty amazing.”
Everyone is invited to come out to the St. Thomas Golf and Country Club on Saturday and Sunday to watch the competition. Paul Rosen is scheduled to speak at 8:45AM in the Clubhouse and the tee off time for the shotgun start is 9:15AM. Everyone is also invited to try their hand at playing the course on Friday. The cost of admittance is $10 on the weekend and $10/round on Friday. Just head into the clubhouse for instructions.
Information is available on the tournament website:
DATES: December 2-4
LOCATION: St. Thomas Golf and Country Club