“It turned my wife into a widow.”
That’s the response Gerry Boland gave with a hearty chuckle when asked what impact the game of golf had on his life.
Boland, a 77-year-old Stephenville native, was inducted into the Golf Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame in the athlete/builder category at a provincial awards banquet Saturday night at Bally Haly Country Club in St. John’s.
The Harmon Golf and Country Club in Stephenville became the responsibility of a volunteer group in 1966 with Boland as one of the founding executive members.
He served on the provincial golf executive for a number of terms with 15 years of volunteer service committed to being a rules official for the various provincial golf tournaments until he gave up his volunteer efforts in 1975.
“When the joints started to bother me so much that it became painful to help out with events I decided that was enough,” Boland said Tuesday.
He has spent countless hours providing free golf instruction to female golfers every spring at Harmon. He helped coach young boys and girls coming up through the junior ranks get a better handle on their game.
As a player, he represented Newfoundland and Labrador on the national stage on seven occasions.
Two of his biggest moments as a player are still fresh in his mind.
He made key shots on both occasions to take Newfoundland and Labrador out of last place at nationals.
He carded a 73 round at nationals in 1999 in British Columbia to push Newfoundland and Labrador ahead of Prince Edward Island out of last place in the standings.
One year earlier near Montreal, he made his greatest shot of his life, draining a 30-yard sand shot on the 18th hole to move ahead of Prince Edward Island by one shot.
“I had to get it up and down from the sand trap and I sank it,” he said. “It was quite a privilege. It was quite an achievement. I enjoyed it so much.”
He still swings the golf clubs every chance he gets. He played 18 holes last Sunday at Bally Haly before they closed the course for the winter.
Golf has been good to him over the years. Being recognized for his efforts with a Hall of Fame induction with his wife Gina on hand to help him celebrate the occasion was a moment he won’t forget anytime soon.
“It was probably as good a night as I’ve ever have enjoyed,” said Boland, who was inducted into the provincial baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. “I was there with many of the people I’ve shared a lot of golf play and golf rules. I enjoyed the entire banquet and induction.”
When he wakes up in the morning he checks the weather outside. If it’s fit to be out in it, then he’s going to the golf course if it’s open and that’s just the way he prefers it.
“Golf is a game where you meet many people and develop friendships that last a lifetime,” he said. “It’s the type of sport that never dies until you die.”