Tom Byers Junior Golf Day

Written by Jim Claggett

Most of us have done this during a round of golf. You take a chance with a shot, and maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t, but you tried. In the case of the first annual Tom Byers Junior Golf Day at Inglewood in Calgary in May of 2022, organizers tried, took the shot and wow, did it ever work out!

“We thought if we get 25 or 40 kids, that would be a home run,” said former Calgary Flame Lanny McDonald, Tom’s brother-in -law and one of the people behind this special day.

So how about more than 70 kids of varying degrees of ability showing up.

Tom Byers was a long-time member at Inglewood who passed away in September of 2020. As McDonald tells it, this big, gentle, bear of a man had no children of his own, but he had a magical connection with everyone else’s.

“All of our grand kids would seek out Tom, when they were younger and climb up on his knee and say ‘Tom, can you read me a book,”?

McDonald said Tom really loved that and always had time for kids. He also had a great love for the game of golf and the willingness to share it with those kids. So having a junior golf day was a natural way to honour the man.

Calgary Flames Alumni: Tim Hunter, Colin Patterson, Perry Berezan & Lanny McDonald with photo of Tom Byers

So, what was Tom the golfer like? Well, McDonald says he didn’t hit the ball very far, but his handicap was between six and 12 at varying stages, so he had game. Some might call it, sneaky game.

“You always thought you had him,” said McDonald. “You out drove him by forty yards, he didn’t make his second shot to the green and you’re on the green putting for a birdie, 35 feet away. Tom had such soft hands from anywhere around the green, chip it to within six feet, make the putt and now you’re struggling to two putt.”

Tom Byers

Staff at Alberta Golf were a key piece in pulling this day together as they got involved, creating a fit’s-like-a- glove format for the kids which consisted of 30 minutes on the range, 30 minutes putting and another 30 chipping. All under the watchful eye of several PGA of Alberta pros. A lunch followed as well as some positive words from McDonald and other Flames alumni. The kids went home with memories and a Flames hat as well.

Along with those who signed up, KidSport and Kids Up Front brought in some disadvantaged youth to come give the game a try. It is exactly what Tom would have wanted said McDonald.

“It made perfect sense to do something with junior golf and try to honour him and get more kids off the sidelines and into the game,” said McDonald. “We had so many of Tom’s old friends drop by and say hello and think this was the greatest thing.”


Included in the onlookers was Tom’s widow, Joanne and McDonald says it played out perfectly for her to see firsthand what transpired.

“For Joanne to see it, knowing that Tom’s legacy lives on was so great.”

It was a perfect balance of remembering the man and exposing more kids to game without having them out on the course and maybe getting frustrated or intimidated by the length of a golf course.

There were a variety of swings on the range, along with chipping and putting styles but it didn’t matter to anyone what it looked like.

“To see kids make that long putt for the first time, the smiles on their faces. It was a good day for golf, to remember Tom,” said McDonald.

He says he gets approached at hockey games by parents whose children were at the event and are asking about the next one. He simply tells them to watch for the announcement coming from Alberta Golf. Here we are in 2024 and bring on the third annual Tom Byers Junior Golf Day on Sunday May 19 2024 at Inglewood Golf and Curling Club.


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