Kelowna Golf and Country Club St. Charles Golf Club Riverside Country Club Earl Grey Country Club Royal Colwood Golf Club Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club

In May of 1969, the opening Men’s golf event was being held at Pine Valley Golf Course in Woodbridge, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). It was owned and run by a wonderful individual named Jack Bailey. Unfortunately, Jack was tragically killed in an accident that day. He was 48 years old.

After the funeral, a few of the members were discussing ways to remember Jack in a tangible manner. One of Jack’s children was developmentally disabled and we came up with the idea of running a golf tournament to raise money for people with developmental disabilities.

Thus was born the first golf tournament in aid of people with developmental disabilities and it took place at Pine Valley (now the National) in August of 1969. There were 80 players, all from the club and we raised just over $800 that day.

By today’s standards, $800 was a small sum, but 39 years ago it was quite an accomplishment, considering there were no sponsors. The monies were donated to help defray the costs of running a summer camp for people with developmental disabilities.

Our group put together a mission statement which is the basic premise of all the tournaments up to now. It reads:

To have a day of fun and good fellowship, while helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

In 1970, through Pine Valley golf professional George Clifton, two more cities started a tournament to aid people with developmental disabilities. They were Rockmount Golf Course in Kitchener, and Ancaster Golf Course in Hamilton, Ontario.

From there it grew over the next few years to where there were 19 clubs across Canada holding similar tournaments.

In 1974, a most generous benefactor who had children with developmental disabilities put up the money to allow us to have a final whereby one team from each tournament came to a host city (in the East) and played for the championship

In 1981, our benefactor passed away and the estate did not carry on with the final. At that time, there were three Western teams: Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. Thanks to the generosity of Pacific Western Airline and the Earl Grey, Shaughnessy and St. Charles Golf Clubs, a Western final was initiated in 1982 and was played at the Earl Grey Golf Course in Calgary.

Much appreciation and credit have to go to Jack McLaughlin (pro at Shaughnessy) and Fred Lange, Bob Lavery, Chuck Gage and Rusty Goepel – the chairmen of the Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver tournaments, for their hard work and enthusiasm in getting the Western Final up and running.

In 1983, Saskatoon initiated a tournament and in 1984, Kelowna joined in, which now gave us 5 cities across Western Canada participating in these great events.

During the first few years of expansion, the sports editor of the Globe & Mail became a very strong and enthusiastic supporter of our tournaments and helped tremendously in getting and keeping our momentum going. His name was Jim Vipond.

When he passed, all our events changed over to using Jim’s name in their tournament. After the demise of Pacific Western, we were again needing corporate help and in 1990, Investors Group came to the table and for 12 years, supported the 5 tournaments and the final in a wonderfully generous way. Due to the corporate change in charity funding, Investors ended their sponsorship in 2002.

Again, as we searched and scoured to find a new sponsor, we were fortunate to have a Vancouver investment firm, Phillips Hager & North, pony up to the table and allow us to continue our unparalleled success in raising monies for people with developmental disabilities.

After a 5 year sponsorship of the event, Phillips Hager & North merged with the RBC whom in 2010 agreed to continue the sponsorship of the Western Canadian VIPOND FINAL under the RBC Banner.
It is only because of corporate sponsors like RBC that we can continue to raise monies to the large extent that we do.

At the same time in 2010, Dalton McArthur who was one of the original founding members back in 1969 and who was responsible for the formation and continuance and tremendous success of the Western Vipond tournaments, stepped down as Chairman after 40 years.
Dalton has mentored many of us over the years to continue this very worthy cause.

In 2011, with the hard work of Alan Rae (Chairman of Shaughnessy), Jason Giesbrecht (Director of Golf Royal Colwood) and Bruce Brown (Men’s Club captain of Royal Colwood) we have expanded the number of clubs participating in the Western Vipond from 5 member clubs to 6.  This addition of Royal Colwood (Victoria) to our family of Vipond Clubs is very exciting and is going to allow us to raise even more money in the future.

Since 1982 we have raised ($5,000,000.00) NET from our 5 tournaments, of which all has gone to the local association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and more importantly to a specific project and not into general revenues.     

 

Simon G. Waller
(Western Vipond Chairman)


 

 

 

 

Vipond Main | Contact Us