Fred Kern Wins London Ontario Golf Heart Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRED KERN HONOURED WITH LONDON ONTARIO GOLF HEART AWARD
ANNUAL AWARD RECOGNIZES THOSE WHO GROW THE GAME OF GOLF
June 6, 2012 (London, Ontario) – Today at Thames Valley Golf Club in London, LondonOntarioGolf.com awards long-time local golf industry member Fred Kern with the Heart Award, given to those who go beyond the call of duty in growing the game of golf in southwestern Ontario.
Kern, 72, of London is the second winner of the annual London Ontario Golf Heart Award (est. 2011), chosen by the editorial team at LondonOntarioGolf.com – proud supporter of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario. In June 2011, London Ontario Golf awarded Mike Olizarevitch with the Heart Award. Olizarevitch, now at Dorchester Golf Club, retired in 2009 after 49 years at Fanshawe Golf Club in London, where he was head professional for 39 years. He was instrumental in creating the Parkside Nine at Fanshawe GC – North America’s first golf course specifically designed for the physically challenged.
A member of the CPGA since 1960, Kern was born in Rolandia, in the state of Parana, Brazil. When the family moved to Toronto in 1955, Fred and his brothers Mario, Ben, Benny and Greg started playing golf at Credit Valley Golf & Country Club in Mississauga. Ben, who died in 2002, was an All-America golfer, PGA Tour pro and 20-year pro at the National Golf Club in Toronto.
As a teenager, Kern caddied at Mississauga Golf & Country Club. He cleaned clubs at Credit Valley G&CC, and was later assistant pro from 1959-1965. Kern was teaching pro at Northwood Golf Course in Toronto in 1966; associate pro at Markland Woods Golf Club in Toronto 1967-68; then head pro at Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Course 1969-70. At Glenn Abbey GC, Kern – and accomplished landscape artist – designed the original logo of a monk swinging a golf club.
Kern was head professional at London’s Thames Valley Golf Club from 1971-2007. “I was awed by the beautiful setting,” said Kern upon his first visit to Thames Valley GC. “I thought, what a perfect setting to introduce new golfers to the game.”
In fact, Kern’s biggest contribution to the game of golf was operating the Junior Tyson Tour from 1978-2009. Founded in 1968 by former London Free Press sports writer, Bev Tyrrell, the Tyson Tour name comes from the Ty in Tyrrel, and Tyrrel’s twin sons, Tim and Tom. Mike Weir, who captured back-to-back Les Thomas tournaments (Tyson Tour annual opening events) in 1986-87, said he has fond memories of “playing Thames Valley … playing junior events and Tyson Tour events. I had a great experience. It’s a great tour. I know it’s still going strong.”
Kern was also a mentor to many local pros, including Bruce Atkins (Echo Valley GC) and Patty Howard (Sunningdale G&CC) – two of his first assistants, as well as Justin Fairchild, Bill Fox Jr., Graham Hegler, Gil Parkinson, Dave Schweyer, Debbie Stevens and Marc Webster.
A two-time competitor at the Canadian Open, Kern captured the London and Area PGA Championship in 1972, was CPGA Junior Teacher of the Year in 1996, and London Sportsperson of the Year in 2004.
“Fred also won many London Mini Tour events,” said Olizarevitch. “He was an excellent teacher and a guy who was dedicated. Fred has certainly done a lot for kids over the years.”
When he’s not painting or writing (including penning a book on the Kern family), Kern and his wife, Dolores, enjoy travelling and spending time with their three children: Fred Jr., 42; Paul, 40; and Melissa, 38. They spoil their three grandchildren, too: Ethan, 9; Julia, 8; and Abigail, 3. Dolores enjoys making quilts, while Fred can be found golfing and gardening. A long-time painting project involves using oil and water colours to paint scenic local landscapes and golf holes at Thames Valley GC.
In its 8th year, LondonOntarioGolf.com is owned and operated by long-time London-based journalist Jeffrey Reed. In 2010 and 2011, the Golf Journalists Association of Canada awarded Reed with Best Golf Website Feature Column. Reed said establishing a legacy with the Heart Award has always been his intention, adding that Kern is a much-deserved winner of this year’s award.
“Fred is the consummate golf professional. His knowledge of and passion for the game, coupled with his life-long dedication to junior golf, make him a much-deserved winner of the Heart Award. During my many years as a golf journalist, I have truly respected Fred’s modesty, despite his myriad of accomplishments and accolades. Without a doubt, Fred is one of the most beloved members of the local golf community,” said Reed.
“I wish to thank Jeffrey for honouring my commitment to golf with the Heart Award,” said Kern. “I have been fortunate to be able to work in a game and industry that I love.”
For more information, contact:
Jeffrey Reed, Publisher & Editor, London Ontario Golf
About the London Ontario Golf Heart Award
The London Ontario Golf Heart Award recognizes a London & area community member who helps grow the game of golf. LondonOntarioGolf.com publisher and editor Jeffrey Reed created the award in 2011 in order to recognize a community member who gives back to the game through unselfish efforts. Each June, the Heart Award recipient, as selected by the editors of LondonOntarioGolf.com, honours those within the categories of golf professionals/instructors, golf mentors, golf course owners/operators, golf course architects/designers and members of the media. June is Heart Month. The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario is the Official Charity of London Ontario Golf.