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Burlington Golf and Country celebrates its Centennial

Burlington Golf and Country celebrates its Centennial

Mary Willard drove a Model A Ford her father gave her to Burlington high school in the 1940s.

“I picked up some of my friends on the way to school, then after classes we would all go down to the Coffee Pot on Brant Street for coca colas,” she recalled.

Saturday she rode in the back seat of a similar antique vehicle in a parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the Burlington Golf and Country Club.

Willard, who will turn 93 on July 27, has been a member of the club for 50 years and was ladies club champion in 1976.

Mary Willard rode in a Model A Ford, similar to the one she used to drive to Burlington high school.

Her modesty compelled her to reveal that perennial club champion Jackie Rosart did not play that year. Rosart, who died two years ago, holds the all-time club record of an amazing 33 women’s titles.

“I was proud to be the first woman elected to the board of directors and of chairing the 75th anniversary celebrations in 1997,” Willard said. “At that time I wondered if I’d even be around for the 100th and here I am.”

Willard was a teacher at the old Beach Bungalow school on the Hamilton beach strip and once taught Wayne Rivers, a Memorial Cup champion in hockey with the Hamilton Red Wings in 1962. Rivers went on to play in the NHL for Detroit, Boston, St. Louis and the New York Rangers.

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“I coached the softball team at Beach Bungalow and Wayne was on it,” she said. “I remember writing on his report card that he would succeed in athletics.”

Willard still is active at 92 and actually played nine holes just last week.

Besides hosting a lot of tournaments over the years, the club has been visited by some very important people.

Queen Elizabeth stopped in on her tour of Canada in 1962 and Prime Minister Joe Clark spoke there in 1980.

Unfortunately for Clark, at the same time he was speaking his government lost a vote of confidence on his first budget in the House of Commons, he had to rush back to Ottawa, an election was called and he lost to Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Story and photos By DENIS GIBBONS

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