Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Cathy Burton may be getting her due for past accomplishments both on and off the links, but the two-time Manitoba amateur champion is still on the cutting edge of teaching the sport to kids.
Burton will be the first female to enter into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame as both an athlete and a builder as the latest inductees were announced yesterday.
“That’s real neat,” Burton said from Calgary. “Knowing the kind of people who have gone in before … it’s an honour to be named in the same elite class that they were.”
Joining Burton in the hall will be Dr. Billy Parker Jr., Lynda Palahniuk and the late Jack Swanson.
Aside from winning the two provincial amateur titles, the Brandon native won the Saskatchewan women’s amateur, was a member of six straight national amateur teams — with Canada winning the 1987 Commonwealth Championship — and was twice a finalist for Manitoba Golfer of the Year.
“Being selected to play in the DuMaurier Classic (now the Canadian Women’s Tour) as an amateur was a highlight,” said Burton, 48. “The same year, the Manitoba Ladies Golf Association exempted me for playing in the provincials because I was away so much. Being part of the Commonwealth team that won the championship in Australia was special.”
But Burton, who also turned pro, really made her mark when she turned to coaching/teaching. She was a leading force in the founding of the LPGA Girls Club in Manitoba in 1994, the first move into Canada for that program and a fore-runner to the Future Links Girls Club program.
“If I would have had a full-time coach, I would have been more disciplined and I think it would have been a better player,” said Burton, who was also a national junior women’s coach. “That’s why I wanted to give something back to the sport.”
Burton, who is still a teaching pro at a course in Calgary, will unveil a new program called Little Peeps for kids aged four to six this fall.
Both Parker and Palahniuk will be inducted as players. Parker, 52, won the Canadian juvenile title, the Manitoba High School, three Manitoba junior men’s, four Manitoba men’s amateur, and two Manitoba Match Play Championships, and was a medallist in match play competition in 1995. He was also named Manitoba Golfer of the Year twice.
“It’s a great honour because a lot of good players have gone into the hall of fame,” said Parker, who now works in Edmonton. “It’s a nice feeling to be remembered.”
His best memories were winning the Canadian juvenile and the three Manitoba junior crowns and finishing top three at the junior nationals all three years.
Palahniuk (nee Smith), 57, won two Manitoba junior women’s, four Manitoba women’s amateur, the Saskatchewan women’s amateur and the 2003 Canadian senior women’s crowns.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Palahniuk said from Kelowna, B.C., where she now lives. “That’s been a goal of mine for a number of years. I’ve had a pretty good record playing the Canadians and winning the seniors in 2003 (out of B.C.) was probably the highlight for me.”
Swanson, who was involved as an executive in a number of different capacities, including both RCGA and MGA president, is being inducted as a builder, posthumously.