Ryerson’s golf team has secured a partnership with Brampton Golf Club and financial assistance from sponsors to help the club chase after its best-ever finish in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship this fall.
As part of the club’s new agreement with Brampton Golf Club, the players can practice there during non-peak hours. Sponsors like Sysco Guest Supply will help offset the club’s expenses to attend tournaments.
It wasn’t easy for the club to find a course it could call home. When Vince Marra created the club in 2010, he was forced to deal with the reality of starting a golf team in the middle of a metropolis.
“We’ve never had a home course, we were really limited,” Marra said. Schools in smaller towns have easier access to golf courses that allow their teams to practice with regularity. “Our first couple years were tough, based on the level of competition in the OUA with teams that have been around for a while like Western and Waterloo.”
But Marra was determined to build the program, with or without a home course. In 2012, he obtained funding from Ryerson to purchase five hitting nets. Marra and his team practiced with the hitting nets in the Ryerson Athletics Centre to prepare for invitationals and the OUA championship.
Despite finishing at the bottom of the OUA that year, it was clear Marra’s hard work and love for the game would help the team grow from its humble beginnings.
Former team member Anna Simonsen recalled the days of practicing in the gymnasium with Marra, “He’s so dedicated and he wants it so bad that it really made you want to see the team succeed.”
It all started paying off the following year when the team worked out an arrangement with Richmond Hill Golf Club. At last, the team practiced at a real course on multiple occasions and yielded strong results. The team moved from bottom dwellers to 12th of the 16 teams competing at the OUA championship.
“I wholeheartedly believe it was because we were able to use the course to practice,” Marra said of the team’s rise. “It was great, we definitely saw the dividends.”
The club supervisor doesn’t believe a top-10 finish is out of reach this fall, but understands the hard work it takes to build a winning culture. “We’re toddlers in an old boys’ club.”
With access to courses in Brampton and Richmond Hill, the team has more resources than ever and is poised to build on the results of past years. Ryerson’s golf team will kick off its season Sept. 27 at the Brock Invitational.