Funny where golf takes you some times

It is kind of funny where golf will take you some times. For me, I’ve come full circle, you might say.
I grew up in a small farming community of Brookfield, Nova Scotia, not far from the hub town of Truro. I left at the age of 18, seldom going back to visit.
Brookfield, at that time, had a village population of less than 1,000 but despite the low number it produced a lot of very good athletes, some who went on to play professional sports. It was a very sports-minded community and if you didn’t play something you spent a lot of time alone.
Golf wasn’t formally on the radar in Brookfield when I was growing up and the only resemblance of a golf course in the community was a small Par 3 course, three holes I think, laid out around Don Henderson’s house.
Don was a sports icon in the community, always involved with the Brookfield Elks’ hockey and fastball teams.
After the Elks would play a doubleheader on Sunday, several players would venture down to Don’s little course and play some golf. It was a Sunday evening ritual.
My introduction to the game came when my father brought home a used set of clubs in an old, ripped bag. We set up our own version of a golf course in our pasture. Soup cans were stuck in the ground for holes and tree branches were the pins. There was a small creek running through the land and lots of small “natural” hazards left by the cattle.
Hazards you really didn’t want to step in. The cattle were also our lawnmowers. Every hole was a Par 3 and I bet some of those holes were 600 yards long.
We got our golf balls from a driving range about four or five kilometres from our farm. We would wear rubber boots when we went to the range. We would put one ball on the tee to hit and another in our boot. By the time we left the range we had enough yellow golf balls to last a few weeks.
After I left Brookfield a local businessman, Charlie Sutherland started to build the Brookfield Golf and Country Club. The first nine holes opened for play in 1990 and the second nine in 1998. The course was designed by Terry Burns, a CPGA pro, and is now owned and operated by Charlie’s son Richard.
I had played the course a few times in recent years and this year my wife and I became members.
The course is no Highlands Links or Glen Abbey but it’s fun to play. It is wide open for the most part and a good walking course. Only a few hills on the back nine. There is a brook known as the Creamery Brook to the locals, that comes into play on some of the holes. As youngsters we used to fish and swim in the brook so crossing it a few times while playing brings back memories.
The clubhouse is comfortable but certainly not extravagant and the people are very friendly. Getting a tee time hasn’t been a problem. Once in awhile I will run into someone I went to school with over 40 years ago. Funny how none of us really look the same anymore.
So now I’m back playing in Brookfield and still using the same Spalding blade putter that came to our farm in that bag of used clubs. Anyway, funny where golf takes you some times.

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Tom Peters

Tom Peters is a freelance writer based in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, a suburb of Halifax. In December 2009 he retired after 41 years with The Halifax Chronicle Herald. He covered competitive golf regionally for the paper in his early days as reporter and over the years has freelanced golf travel articles to a number of major golf and business publications. He is a member and a director of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada.

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