Since retiring from professional golf, Dan Halldorson has found ways to give back to the sport that gave him so much.
The 62-year-old Brandon native, who won the PGA’s Pensacola Open in 1980 and seven Canadian Tour stops between 1977 and 1986, went on to become the deputy director on the Canadian Tour and operated a golf course design business after retiring from the tour. This summer he’s returned home to Manitoba to become the director of golf at the Oak Island Resort.
Although there have been some challenges with flooding this summer, which shut down part of the course for two weeks, Halldorson is enjoying his new job and being back in these parts.
"I’d left the area probably 30 years ago," he said. "I still had some pretty close friends I was always in contact with. There were other people I grew up with or was around and I’m renewing the acquaintances because you forget what they look like or you forget their names since I was gone for such a long time, which is fun because you get to see people you haven’t seen for a long time."
Halldorson took the job to make sure he wasn’t bored this summer, and he has been anything but. He was used to dealing with tournament organizing committees in different communities, a lot of travelling and getting golfers on to the courses with the Canadian Tour. He’s found his new job has different challenges by managing so many different aspects of the course, including the clubhouse, kitchen, dining area and cart staff.
Halldorson came to Westman planning to work long hours — his wife stayed back in Illinois and he didn’t want to be stuck in his cabin at the Oak Island Resort all summer — but he hasn’t been able to play golf or see family here.
"My brother lives in Dauphin, but I haven’t been up there yet," Halldorson said. "He’s come down a couple times. I do get to be with some of my buddies who come out to play golf, which is nice.
"It’s different being situated in one place than travelling all the time. I can say that I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a lot of hours, but they’re good hours."
While he spent time on the PGA Tour, he doesn’t watch many events now unless they’re played at a course he enjoyed or it’s an event he liked playing in.
Instead, he’s focused on his work and finding ways to improve the Oak Island course, which opened in 2008, to make it better for golfers and staff. However, he has been impressed with the course so far.
"I think from what I’ve seen of the golf course here, excluding a couple private ones, I think it’s the best one in the province," he said. "I haven’t played some of the newer ones, but the layout is terrific. It’s a beautiful setting, the conditions are basically perfect.
"We get so many comments from people out of province and they enjoy it and enjoy the conditions. It’s a fairly user-friendly golf course too for a lot of people. That’s what I like about it is it’s in good condition and it has a lot of variety and it’s fun to play."
MARATHON MEN: Patrick Law and Dylan Thornborough are playing 200 holes of golf on Monday at the Glenboro Country Club to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s the third year the pair have organized the marathon event, raising $15,000 the last two years. Go to www.marathonmondaygolf.com to donate or buy tickets for the dinner and silent auction that evening.
SENIORS: Four Westman golfers will be off to the Larters at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club on Monday for the opening round of the 54-hole provincial senior men’s championship. Brandon’s Rod Klassen is in the 48-player field, along with Keith Fawcett from Onanole and Killarney’s Bob Chapman and Bill Moslenko.
JUNIORS: Dauphin’s Connor Shaw will compete in the Canadian junior boys’ golf championship in Niagara Falls, Ont. The four-round event starts Tuesday.
CHIP SHOTS: Carberry’s Senior Men’s Open will take place Friday. Cost is $40. The Desert Classic, held in Carberry and Neepawa on Aug. 2 and 3, costs $80. To register, call the Carberry Sandhills club at 204-834-2325 … Minnedosa’s women’s two-person scramble is set for Sunday … Neepawa is hosting the Touchwood Charity four-person scramble on Monday.