Golf Historical Society of Canada

Gary Melanson

About Me

Above: Gary Melanson, showing his classic form

You could say that I’m a lifetime golfer.

My father introduced me to golf and I started playing at age 13 at Ile Perrot Golf Club (now Windmill Heights Golf Club) just off the island of Montreal. After several years of playing golf and working at the golf club in course maintenance, the result was my absolute love for the game. By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I played to a one-handicap and I competed in several amateur tournaments in Quebec. I also opened my own retail sporting goods store and that resulted in less competitive golf.

I had aspired to play professional golf but that dream came to a crashing end when at 28 I had a bad motorcycle accident that left me with a shattered right leg. Over the next 3 years and after several surgeries, I learned to walk and play golf again and I earned my business degree at Concordia University.

Work, family and a few location changes resulted in some casual golf for a number of years, but after settling in Woodstock, NB in 1992 and a regular job in Economic Development, I was able to play steadily again. Over the next 20 plus years, I got back into competitive golf, with a couple of years off for a hip and knee replacement in my damaged leg.

Competitively, I’ve been fairly successful, winning the following seven groups of tournaments:

  • NB Mid-Amateur (25 plus) Championship in 1997, 1998 and 2007;
  • NB Mid-Master (40 plus) Championship in 2007 and 2008;
  • NB Senior (55 plus) Championship in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2020;
  • NB Super Senior (65 plus) Championship in 2020;
  • PEI Super Senior (65 plus) Championship in 2019;
  • PEI Senior Championship (55 plus) in 2020; and
  • a few local NB tournaments over the years.

In 2017, I switched to playing hickory golf clubs exclusively and I won those Provincial Championships in 2019 and 2020. I also played in two Canadian Senior Championship with hickory clubs but I didn’t play too well and missed the cut in both tournaments. I’ll add that the National Rules Officials had no concerns that I played with hickory clubs but they did think I was a bit crazy! I’ve also enjoyed playing in several hickory tournaments including three Mid Pines Hickory Tournaments with a senior win in 2019, the 2019 Alexander Finlay Hickory Open in Massachusetts and the 2018 White Mountain Hickory Open.

Giving back to the game, I sit on the Executive of Golf New Brunswick and I’m the Chair of the Tournament Committee, and these roles have allowed me to trumpet the joy of playing hickory golf clubs and dressing in period golf attire.

My reason for switching to hickory clubs was that I was looking for something to excite me about playing. I had become bored with the bomb and wedge game that modern equipment encouraged and the effects on golf course design. So I bought a 7-piece used set of Tad Moore’s Tom Morris clubs off eBay and gave them a try. I absolutely loved the sound the woods made when striking the ball and the challenge of hitting a variety of shots into greens and off the tees. I was hooked. I also enjoy working on my clubs, refinishing the shafts, the wood heads and replacing grips. It’s very rewarding to play with clubs that you spent hours getting just right.

Now at 67, as much as I love playing competitive golf, my favourite time on a golf course is just playing a casual round, even alone—hitting shots, chipping around the greens, enjoying the scenery, and feeling a well-struck golf shot using hickory golf clubs.

Gary Melanson

Collecting Interests

I’m not much of a collector.

My Historical Play Sets

I have upgraded to a full matched set of post-1900 replica hickory clubs. I also own a couple of mismatched sets of post-1900 original hickory clubs.

I feel that for consistency, replica golf clubs give me better results as the club weights and shaft flexes/torques are more predictable. I enjoy playing original clubs in casual rounds, but not in tournaments where I’m already giving up lots of distance off the tee to non-hickory competitors.

My Favourite Courses

My favourite golf courses are: Aroostook Valley Golf Club in Four Falls, New Brunswick, Eagles Glenn Golf Club in Cavendish, PEI and Mid Pines Golf Club in North Carolina.

GHSC Participation

I look forward to helping GHSC develop a regional playgroup in New Brunswick commencing in 2022.

Golf Historical Society of Canada
1346 Clyde Rd.
Cambridge, ON N1R 5S7

Please contact me. I'm really interested!