2001 Invitation

Can it be five years ago already that those first hardy competitors strode bravely onto the rain sodden first tee, gazed over the majesty of the legendary 102 yard opening test of nerves “Putter’s Nightmare” and began the inaugural Jeff Butler Anti Classic Invitational?

Indeed it can. And just as surely as the second weekend in April means Magnolia Lane, Amen Corner and the Green Jacket, so the third Wednesday in September has come to be synonymous with Victoria Park Subway Station, the plastic tee-mats of hole number four, “Cliff Hanger”, and the awarding of The Oak Shafted Putter.

And what better time than this, the occasion of the upcoming 5th Annual Jeff Butler Anti-Classic Invitational, to reflect on and immerse ourselves in the glorious history of the course itself and allow it to take its rightful place in golf history.

In 1897, (the only year, some of our older competitors may recall, between 1894 and 1901 in which The Open Championship was not won by one of The Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, James Braid and J.H. Taylor), why who then could have known or suspected that far across the Atlantic, events were unfolding in Upper Canada that would lead fatefully, almost inexorably, to the eventual creation of “one of the finest and most challenging Par 3 facilities in Ontario”?

For it was in that year that Walter Massey, scion to the famed family of farm implement manufacturers, quietly purchased 100 acres of rolling farmland just outside the city limits of Toronto and named it “Dentonia” after his wife, Susan Marie Denton (of the Boston Dentons). And it was exactly one hundred years later that the JBACI started.

Susan Massey continued to live at the farm, and in 1926, as the flamboyant Walter Hagen was accepting the first of four Wannamaker trophies, Mdme Massey donated part of her beloved estate to the City of Toronto for public parkland on the condition that it remain known as Dentonia Park. The enormous 100 room house was given to to the Crescent School for boys in 1933, and traces of its grand architecture still echo in the majestic spires of Crescent Town. Many competitors use the 14th floor balcony of one of the towers (the one where Christmas lights remain festively throughout the year) as a target to line up their tee shot on number 16 – “Bunker Hill”.

In September of 1961, the very same year in which Arnold Palmer won his first British Open and Gary Player became the first international winner of The Masters, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto acquired the land from the City of Toronto in 1967,  and as part of the wonderful pageantry of our Dominion’s centennial celebration, the Dentonia Park Golf Course opened top an eager public, bopasting such lavish amenities as a licensed restaurant and public phone in the club house and not one but two drinking fountains on the course itself.

And as with all classic courses, this complex and colourful tapestry of history has lived on to this day in many of the traditions of both the JBACI and the course itself. Take, for instance, the naming of the holes.

Legend has it that the number 10 hole, “Short Poke”, commemorates a carnal act committed by the Masseys that would have taken place within the sight of the place now where the chap with the ’82  Impala  proffers potato chips and other comestibles. (Some suggest a bit waggishly, perhaps, that number 15, “No Relief” is a tribute to Mme Massey’s constant remonitions about the shortness of said poke.)

Stand now on the 12th tee – the signature “President’s Choice”, and one can almost hear the sound of City Dairy cows ruminating on the grass of these verdant leas  — and indeed some have surmised that the course, which revels in tradition, has maintained this time honoured method of maintaining the greens to a daunting 3.4 on the stimpmeter.

The sense of Victorian propriety which permeated the times also set the stage for today’s stringent dress code. Competitors again are reminded that while the course encourages players to dress in comfortable attire, shirts without sleeves are absoutely verboten.

And the typhoid which tragically ended Walter Massey’s life in 1901 is surely akin to the fever which holds today’s competitors in its unrelenting grasp.

But enough of the tradition of the course itself, what of the moments of the first four playings of the JBACI. What is it that about this course and tournament that attracts competitors from as far away as Simcoe, Ontario and Berlin (now Kitchener)?

Quite simply, the camaraderie and traditional spirit of friendly but frantic competition.

Who among us can ever forget Paul “P2” Pearson surging on the back nine, bravely shrugging off the unrelenting weight of a 25¢ skins game to capture the Low Net. Last year’s playoff between Dale Maksymyk and Ted Thompson, the air thick with tension and anticipation until the very instant Thompson chunked his tee shot 8 yards. And of course, the founder of the eponymously named tournament himself in the ’99 competition, his “Last Chance” tee shot arcing toward the Eastbound Warden train as Icarus toward the sun.

Here then, is a full Honour Role of past Champions and Trophy Winners.

2000

Low Gross: Dale Maksymyk
Closest To: J.J. Lyons
Low Net:  Ted Thompson
Most Honest: Chris Turcot??????

1999
Low Gross: Grant Larsen
Low Net: Bryan Duckworth
Closest To: Ted Thompson
Most Honest: Jim Murphy

1998

Low Gross: Grant Larsen
Low Net: Paul Pearson
Closest To: Gord Kidder
Most Honest: Stu Eaton

1997

Low Net: Dale Maksymyk
Low Net: Martin Keen
Most Honest: Jeff Butler
Best Practice Round: Fraser Douglas

(Closest to Pin not Awarded in Inaugural Year)

The Invitation Committee is Honoured to Request the Pleasure of Your Company and Competitive Spirit for the playing of

The  5th Annual
The Jeff Butler Anti Classic Invitational
Wednesday, September 19, 2000

Dentonia Park Golf Course (Victoria Park and Danforth Ave.)

Pre- Tee-Off Refreshments: 12 Noon

Tee-Off: 1 PM

Post  Match Refreshments  2:20-4:30

Awards Presentation  5:00

Further Refreshments: 5:00…

Entrance Fee: $25.00 (Canadian)

Please regard this as your non-transferable Invitation.