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Nick Weslock RIP

[photopress:Weslock_1.jpg,full,alignleft]Canadian amateur golf legend Nick Weslock passed away over the weekend, but apparently word didn’t get out until today, the day of his funeral.

Bob Weeks has a blogon Weslock’s passing, and Lorne Rubenstein has a story online, likely with a print story to follow. I wrote a quick obituary for the Post:

Golf was Nick Weslocks life right up until the end. The 89-year-old member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame died suddenly in hospital on the weekend, but played golf up until just a few weeks before his death.
Known as Nick the Wedge, for his stellar short game, the Burlington, Ont. resident won the Ontario Open seven times between 1946 and 1969 as an amateur in tournaments that involved many top professional golfers. He also played in four Masters and in 1947 he finished third in the Canadian Open, just four strokes behind eventual winner Bobby Locke. Only George Lyon, who was second in the tournament in 1910, came closer as a Canadian amateur to winning the tournament.
It was his play in that tournament that generated Weslocks nickname. In the third round at Scarboro Golf and Country Club, Weslock consistently fired wedges close to the pin, spinning the ball into position. Not everyone believed such shots were possible.
I played with Clayton Heafner, he said. He wouldnt sign my card because he thought it was an illegal wedge. However tournament officials ruled there was nothing illegitimate about Weslocks short irons, and a legend was born in the process.
Not that Weslock needed such a story to support his status as one of the best to ever play the game in Canada. Weslocks record of being low amateur in the Canadian Open 11 times, a record that will likely never be touched given the emergence of professional golfers as the games best players.

Former Canadian PGA Tour winner Dick Zokol spoke regularly with Weslock after winning the Canadian Amateur in 1981. Zokol says what Weslock lacked in ball striking was made up for in his competitive nature. He was tenacious, says Zokol. He was so cunning and because he was never the best ballstriker, thats why he became so good with his wedges.

Zokol says he would run into Weslock, often alongside Moe Norman, in the players lounge at the Canadian Open, where Weslock and Norman regaled the players with stories.

Thats where he shined, telling stories, says Zokol. He was a real character, the real deal. Guys like him dont come around much anymore. He dug his knowledge out of the dirt, if you know what I mean.

It strikes me that Weslock is the end of a line of great Canadian golfers that excelled in the post-war period, including Al Balding, George Knudson, Stan Leonard, and Moe Norman. We may not see their likes again.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert, right on about the end of an era with the passing of Nick. There are a few others (Sandra Post is still our best, Sandra and her dad must have been the first Tiger and Earl)) including Gary Cowan, Bob Cox and I’d say Richard Zokol (has been in the spot light more than when he played – sorry I guess he’s still playing)

  • I played a round of golf with Nick”The Wedge” at Carlisle Golf Course when he was 83. It was a thrill for me because I have never played with someone of his stature before or since. I didn’t know much about him but I recognized the name. I asked him alot of questions about the Masters. He said Clifford Roberts let him stay at one of the cabins for 1 dollar a day. He played rounds with all the greats. Nicklaus, Player, Palmer. He had a great career and life.

  • As a 12 year old, I use to caddy for Nick at the Highland Golf Club in London, Ont. after school-usually just 9 holes as I would meet him on the 10th tee. I remember his putters which I think he made, plastic bottom with his name in the inside. Was he not a tool and die maker?

  • I first met nick in 1957, when he won the amateur, and i won the canadian jr. at st. charles. In 1962, we represented canada in japan at the world amateur, with cowan and wylie. i had never been very far from home, and boy did nick ever take care of me. In 63, we went to australia and we were partners in almost every match. it was an honour for me that he choice me to be his partner. dressed immaculately all the time, and as classy as anyone could be. we are all missing him.. bill wakeham. b.c.golf hall of fame, greater victoria sorts hall of fame.

  • I remember watching Nick Weslock and Gary Cowan in the final of the Ontario Amateur..I think it was 1964…at Weston Golf Club…Weslock had always won the head to head battles with Cowan in the past..until this one…Cowan drove the second hole..a par four over a pond while Weslock laid up…Cowan won 5 and 3…but no one could beat him with a wedge in his hand!

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