“I have to say that my caddy days led me to detest golf,” Graeme Decarie comments

Below are some recent comments at a post entitled:

Additional comments from Graeme Decarie – regarding Saraguay, Cartierville School, and Marlborough golf club

I’ve posted the two most recent comments, as a way of bringing attention to them.

Donald Lortie comments:

I caddied at Marlborough in the early 60’s – I remember the Lawrence Brothers – Robert Cotton and Paul Harrop – At the boating club Barclay Allan was the superstar of the day as well as the Bossy family

I also had Mr. Decarie as a teacher at Malcolm Campbell

Graeme Decarie comments:

I have to say that my caddy days led me to detest golf. I used to take my money to a shop across the street from Belmont Park. And I’d get some fries. Then to the shooting range at Belmont park to use the rest of my money proving I couldn’t hit anything.

Actually, women were forbidden on most golf courses well into the 20th century – as they were forbidden in most sports. In a sort of thinking going back to the days of knights in armour, most sports were seen as developing character and leadership among the men (usually wealthy) who were born to be our leaders. Usually, women were allowed on the course only one day a year – ladies’ day. After all, there was no point in giving them ideas above their station.

I was in Britain for the summer of 1962, and came back with a tiny beard. George Allan said to Alan Talbot, “Guess who has a beard and who’s teaching here this year.” Talbot replied, “Guess who has a beard and ISN’T teaching here this year.”

In Sept of 1963, I think it was, I told Jack Leroy I was quitting, immediately. He was furious. But I was determined. It was now or never to get more education. Later, he forgave me. In fact, many years later, there was a knock on my door. I opened it, and Jack smiled at me. At a glance, I knew he was dying. And I took him to the hospital. He died a few days later. After he retired, he had become a priest at an odd, breakaway Anglican church in Niagara Falls.

I once met the Bishop of the church who was dating a young woman I taught at Concordia. Apparently, he felt bound to tell my student he was breaking off with her because he really felt he should get a divorce from his wife, and marry his other girlfriend who was pregnant.


A Sept. 18, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Golf reaching out to younger generation — but is it trying too hard? Bikinis, beats and beers: Stodgy sport tries to reinvent itself in face of changing consumer demand.”


4 replies
  1. Bob Carswell
    Bob Carswell says:

    I loved caddying at Marborough Golf Course….a B caddy due to my youth but always willing to go 36 holes. My uncle’s house on Somerset Road sat on the east side of the 7th fairway and my great uncle’s house was on the end of the 8th green. Golfers often were seen in the backyard fetching their balls which had been hit a few feet too far. I loved the annual caddy tournament and my claim to fame was hitting a hole-in-one on the 17th hole over the water pond. To this day I can still throw a crumpled up piece of paper across the room and generally get it in the garbage container. Accuracy at darts was much the same thing. I was a caddy at Marborough until it closed and like Donald Lortie, I knew Reggie and Kyle Lawrence. I met Kyle many years later as sales manager for one of the large perfume companies. After Marborough it was Ile Bizard and two very new golf courses that had re-established themselves there, Royal Montreal and Elmridge.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Great to read your overview, Bob; I used to caddy at Marlborough as well, on occasion. I think I must have earned over $20 in all of the time I was a caddy. The usual pay was $1.25 plus a 25-cent tip. Sometimes more. It was fun to be out on the course, but waiting around at the caddy shack wasn’t that much fun. Although some of the stories I heard still stay with me. Little things that a person remembers forever.

  3. Eric Karbin
    Eric Karbin says:

    A belated comment about a post made last December by ex caddy Graeme Decarie: The money you made from caddying was spent on fries at “Coney Island” which was directly across the street from the main entrance to Belmont Park.

    Women were not forbidden to play at the Marlborough Golf Club when I caddied there in the ’50s. In fact, they could play on the Ladies Nine. I recall caddying for the ladies.

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Good to read your comment, Eric; they bring to mind a passage from something that a long-term resident, from the neighbourhood in Toronto where I have lived for the past 20 years, has shared about that era.

    West of Etobicoke Creek north of Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga is a golf course that many children and teens from Long Branch, in Toronto east of Etobicoke Creek, used to caddy at.

    Barry Kemp of Long Branch has written the following text, at a blog post entitled History of Long Branch:

    Etobicoke Creek. Another public area to be enjoyed was Etobicoke Creek. We could play hockey a soon as the ice-up took place. We often went tobogganing at the nearby Toronto Golf Club. The ninth hole was the favourite. In summer it was quite common for kids and teens to swim in the creek. I was able to polish my swimming adeptness while splashing about in a solitary fashion.

    Not far from a swimming hole known as “The Pier,” several men, on a Sunday would engage in dice games, popularly known as crap games. Sometime later, someone told me that some cops raided these defilers of Sunday decorum.

    Toronto Golf Club. Regarding the aforementioned golf course, it was possible for kids to earn money by caddying at the club. A beginner was classed as a “B” caddie and paid one dollar. The golfer would sign the caddy’s card and tick off any faults, such as casting one’s shadow over the hole while the member putted. There were, perhaps, a dozen strictures. If one progressed well a promotion to “A” caddy was possible. This entailed a $1.50 payments for 18 holes. The highest-ranking was “AA” designation with a remuneration of two dollars.

    Beyond this activity we would sometimes visit wooded areas on the course to locate lost golf balls and sell them to golfers in our neighborhood. It was possible for the caddies to play around once a year; the caddy tournament. Shortly after one tournament I saw Ed Sullivan play the 11th hole. I beat him by one stroke.

    The club had a smaller adjoining nine-hole ladies course. Caddies could play on the course prior to nine in the morning.

    [End of excerpt]

    Barbed-wire fence

    There was a large Second World War munitions plant in the area, of which the Small Arms Building remains. Many of the fences in the area feature barbed-wire, including the fence at the western perimeter, along Dixie Road north of Lakeshore Road East, of the Toronto Golf Club. When you’re walking north on the east side of Dixie Road, you can stop for a moment to peer through a barbed-wire fence and there in front of you, in your field of vision at a distance, are the beautifully maintained grounds of the golf course, which is still in operation.


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