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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
A very special group gets introduced to golf
by Randy Pascal

Jim Christison has been both an avid golfer and a highly involved coach, in a variety of sports, for several decades now. This past summer, the father of three expanded his horizons, introducing a group of Special Olympians to his favourite summer pastime.

Even better, the youngsters got their first taste of golf at one of the premier venues in Northern Ontario. “I approached the Idylwylde (Golf & Country Club) and they let us use the club for free,” explained Christison recently. “We were using the driving range, the practice greens, the practice bunkers.”

“The last day, I asked the pro, Katie Doyle, if we could go out and play a hole – and she said absolutely – so we went out and played number ten,” Christison continued. “All of the kids tried to hit the ball over the water. We played a scramble for the hole, to see if we could get a par. We didn’t, we had to settle for bogey. For the group of kids, that was pretty nice.”

While his daughter, Alexandra, has been a Special Olympics mainstay in the Sudbury area, participating in bowling, basketball, swimming, track and field, t-ball and rhythmic gymnastics over the years, this was her first formal foray into the golf scene. Not that she hasn’t grown accustomed to the sport.

“My daughter doesn’t swing the club very well, but when we’re in Florida, she will come out on the golf course, driving around in the cart with us,” said Christison. With years of coaching experience on his resume, the newly anointed golfing mentor would stick to the basics.

“Really, it was just trying to make contact with the ball,” stated Christison. “It was getting hand-eye co-ordination. The nice thing about putting at the Idylwylde is that when you just touch the ball, it just keeps rolling, it doesn’t really stop. I could teach them to just give it a little tap, without having to take a big swing.”

More than anything else, Christison was thankful for the respectful manner in which his small group was greeted by all those with whom they crossed paths. “We had different club members share some of their golf clubs to help us out,” he said. “They were treated like members. It was just really well done by everybody, a lot of fun, for them and for me.”

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