Pete Chapman deserves to be remembered.
In the 1990s, Pete did too much to help develop the game of golf in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario that his recent passing should go all but unnoticed.
Pete died Jan. 20 in Toronto from advanced Parkinson’s Disease complicated by dementia. He was 76.
You can read the details of his adventurous and entertaining life in this obituary written by his wife and business partner Cyndy Winkler.
I didn’t know all the impressive details about Pete’s resume when I met him in the early 1990s. He didn’t tell me. He was a humble man. All I knew was that he loved golf.
He and Cyndy had just launched the Bay Area Golf Series tournament circuit. A couple of years later, they founded a regional monthly golf newspaper, Bay Area Golfing. I was very pleased when he asked me to write a regular column.
If his resume was impressive, he was more so as a person and supporter of the game.
Cyndy recalls visiting Pete’s brother in Boston around 1990 when Pete took notice of something called the “Boston Area Golfing Society.” “He was intrigued,” Cyndy says. “He said, ‘That’s a super idea! I think something like that would work for us.”
And it did. Unabashedly borrowing the acronym, BAGS, the Bay Area Golfing Series (soon to become the BAGS Tour) took off, eventually boasting about 600 adult competitors and 400 juniors.
It took a near-superhuman effort to keep both the tour and the newspaper afloat. I recall seeing Pete and Cyndy at every BAGS event, and frequently bumping into Pete as he dropped off bales of the latest issue of Bay Area Golfing at every golf course in the area. He never saw it as a job, even when there were barely enough hours in the day. “He loved going to the courses, visiting, selling ads, picking up tidbits,” says Cyndy.
When he got back home, he would write (with talent and flair) his feature and his “tidbits”, edit the contributors’ pieces, chase advertisers for their material (and payment), lay out the newspaper with Cyndy’s help, take it to the printers…and then get back on the road to drop off yet another issue.
As if that wasn’t enough of a workload, he came up with the idea of putting on regional golf workshops with top-notch presenters, which were held for several years at Brooklea Golf and Country Club in Midland, Ont.
As time passes, the memories of Pete and Cyndy’s contributions to golf in the Georgian Bay area have faded.
And that is too bad.
They deserve better.