For the 35th consecutive year (yup, you read that correctly!), the family on my mother’s side has gathered on the July 1st Canada Day holiday near the shores of the summer cottage ‘compound’ at Inverhuron Beach (Lake Huron – one of our 5 Great Lakes in Ontario) to play in the Campbell Clan Open. The 9 hole golf ‘tournament’ has been held for the past 8 years at Piper’s Glen near Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada followed by a post-tourney party (more on this in next week’s blog) second to none at Inverhuron Beach.
The tourney fills quickly (we only allow 48 golfers – 98% of whom are family!). There are always those who want in but are too late registering. This year was no exception. Thus, those not playing have to make due with the ‘after’ party – where over 100 of my relatives ( and a VERY few ‘outsiders’) gather to party hearty!! They come from all over Canada and the U.S.A. with some venturing from overseas depending on the year. Truth be known, the after-party is the highlight of the Canada Day holiday weekend – especially with this being our country’s 150th ‘birthday’!
I choose to blog on this simply due to the fact that not many families have such a strong connection spread around the world that all started with the Campbell Clan back in the highlands of Scotland centuries ago. Of course, even fewer have the luxury of cottages in paradise (Inverhuron Beach) with the 3rd best sunsets on the planet where, on any given weekend, there are minimum 40 of us in attendance.
Let me guide you through my trip to the Campbell Clan Open. It starts with a sunrise (at 5:35 a.m.) on Lake Ontario (another of our Great Lakes where our home backs onto). I catch it after a VERY early run along the lake followed by a quick swim in the 8 degree celsius water – a perfect start to the day. We are one of the few families who can watch the sun rise on 1 Great Lake and set on another Great Lake – in the SAME day. We have been truly blessed!
The weather somehow held for this year’s event – in spite of torrential rain all around the area in the morning. Pier’s Glen held up well to the ravages of my family’s varied golfing skills. It even has environmentally sensitive protected areas throughout – one of the features that attracted us to the course years ago!We gathered for a pre-round photo op – all 48 of us! That might have been the highlight for many of the non-golfers – of which there were a few! If I do say so, we are a rather hot looking group. 🙂The skill level ranges from my cousin, Bill – who organizes the tourney wonderfully EVERY year with little fanfare and has played in the Canadian Senior Men’s tournament – to 3 year old Bennett – who shows promise as an up and comer already! Notice he sunk the putt!We had all age ranges covered from grandfathers to toddlers and every decade in between. My cousins’ husbands, Rick & Rob, had their sons, R.A. & Jeff and Chris respectively as well as their grandsons, Bennett (Jeff’s) and Charles & Tommy (Chris’) all took part – a testament to the importance of the day and our family ties.The female side of the clan was also well represented, again throughout many decades and varied skill levels. My cousins Janet, Jane, Dawn and Rachel all took part along with my niece, Marley (who won the Ladies’ long drive contest!) and nephew, Todd’s girlfriend, Charlotte (her 1st Campbell Clan event). At the end of the day, skill level does NOT truly matter. Yes, we are a competitive family where few of us like to LOSE at ANYTHING. However, we are also a close-knit family that support each other – ESPECIALLY in the tough times!!
Of course, NO Campbell Clan Open would be complete without the only full-on barefoot golfers in attendance year after year. Those would be yours truly, the old coach, and, as you might have gathered, my younger brother, Arn. I have morphed into the resident tournament ‘floater’ and designated ‘putter’, running from foursome to foursome over hill and dale, making every effort to avoid the thistles! My brother, on the other hand, pulls out old family clubs for his one and only round of golf and proceeds to play as if he’s a seasoned pro! I always tell him it is due to the bare feet!!! Actually, he’s simply a great natural athlete.
Next week’s blog will cover the Campbell Clan Open post-party. You will NOT want to miss that!!