Reed On The Greens May 16, 2018








Reed On The Greens May 16, 2018
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,

Body Over Mind Fights First Tee Jitters

Charles Fitzsimmons. Photo: Golf Ontario.

A wet, cold start to the Southwestern Ontario golf season has finally given way to seasonal temperatures, but almost every golfer continues to battle a common demon: first tee jitters.

Weekend duffers often buckle at the knees before teeing it up. In fact, even seasoned professionals get butterflies before letting the big dog eat. But pros, as well as seasoned amateur golfers like Charles Fitzsimmons, know how to harness that nervousness for good shotmaking.

“The first step to getting past the first tee jitters is acknowledging that nervousness is not necessarily bad for performance,” said Fitzsimmons, a winner with the Western Mustangs and team psychologist with the Mustangs, Fanshawe Falcons and Team Ontario. He’ll defend his 2017 Early Bird Tournament victory May 19-20 at St. Thomas Golf and Country Club.

“There are actually some components of nervousness that can enhance performance,” Fitzsimmons explained. “It’s like an adrenalin shot. It can increase hand-eye coordination, strength and a number of other factors. Obviously, too much nervousness can mean negative performance, but nerves by themselves aren’t bad. If you remember that, you’ll be more comfortable on the first tee.”

Fitzsimmons recommends focusing on things you can control, and on things that are required of you in order to hit good golf shots. For example, pick a good target, have a specific swing thought or visualize a shot beforehand. He said all of those things will help you focus and play through those nerves.

Local Golfers Impress At Champion Of Champions

Highland CC junior Jillian Friyia receives congratulations for her third-place finish. Photo: Friyia Family.

Two local golfers – with a 45-year age difference – finished first and tied for third in the women’s division at Golf Ontario’s Champion of Champions tournament Monday at Spring Lakes Golf Club in Stouffville.

Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Mary Ann Hayward, 58, of St. Thomas Golf and Country Club finished first with a score of even-par 71. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Jillian Friyia, a Grade 8 pupil at John Dearness Public School and member of Highland Country Club, finished T3 with a 78 (+7).

Friyia captured the Highland women’s championship and Junior Tyson Tour girls’ championship in 2017. At Spring Lakes, she tied with Sarah Thompson of The Thornhill Club. Kelsey Sear of York Downs Golf and Country Club finished second with a score of 72 (+1).

Childcan Freedom 55 Financial Championship’s New Charity

As I reported in The London Free Press Golf Guide April 7, Childcan is the new charity of the Freedom 55 Financial Championship. Host Highland Country Club and the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada made the official announcement last Friday.

Highland has hosted the Mackenzie Tour’s season-ending event for three years, with Thames Valley Children’s Centre receiving more than $164,000. The Brandon Prust Foundation and the Harbour Grace Group have both contributed to fundraising.

This year’s tournament September 10-16 will benefit Childcan, which raises funds to provide responsive and compassionate support services to families facing the journey through childhood cancer – from diagnosis, through treatment, to recovery or bereavement.

“With September officially recognized as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re pleased Highland has selected Childcan to receive the tournament’s charitable proceeds in 2018,” said Freedom 55 Financial Vice-President Abbie MacMillan. “This builds on our support for children with cancer in Ontario, complementing our commitment to the Health Sciences North Foundation in Sudbury.”

“Childcan could not be here for the families and children coping with childhood cancer were it not for the generosity of our community,” said Childcan Executive Director Kathleen Barnard. “Initiatives like the Freedom 55 Financial Championship have an incredible impact on the financial, emotional, social and research programs we provide for our families.”

This year’s tournament will include the top 60 players on the Mackenzie Tour’s Order of Merit, with a purse of $225,000 and winner’s share of $40,500. For pro-am, volunteer, sponsorship, ticket and other fan participation opportunities, visit


Reed on the Greens is a three-time writing award winner, presented by the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. publisher and editor Jeffrey Reed is a long-time member of the London sports media. His third book, History of the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association, will be published later this month. Reach Jeffrey at

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.

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