Bennett Wins 2020 Heart Award

by Jeffrey Reed

(London, ONT) – Today, LondonOntarioGolf.com (est. 2004) announces City of London municipal golf system manager Steve Bennett is the winner of the London Ontario Golf Heart Award for 2020.

Bennett is the 10th winner of the Heart Award (est. 2011), which recognizes a member of the Southwestern Ontario golf community who has unselfishly helped grow the game of golf. For a list and biographies of previous winners, visit https://londonontariosports.com/the-heart-award/ .

Each spring, 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. Bennett wins as both a golf pro and as a mentor.

Steve Bennett won the Greater London Mini Tour trophy 15 times. Now he adds the Heart Award trophy to his mantle.

Heart & Stroke is the official charity of LondonOntarioGolf.com and its partner publication, LondonOntarioSports.com. February is Heart Month, and June is Stroke Awareness Month. Learn more at https://www.heartandstroke.ca.

“A golf club is like a small village,” said Bennett. “You get to know people on a day-to-day basis, and you try to make their day at the club an enjoyable experience. There’s also merchandising, which I love. But I only do what a golf pro is supposed to do. So it’s very humbling that I would even be considered for the Heart Award.”

A PGA of Canada professional since 1978, and a member of Team Titleist for 24 years, Bennett, 61, joined the City of London’s golf staff in 2010, and in 2016 took the post of convenor for the Junior Tyson Tour (est. 1968), Canada’s oldest continuous junior golf tour.

The Gov, as he is affectionately known by the Canadian golf community, was born in Seaforth, Ont., and played his first game of golf at Seaforth Golf and Country Club (now Seaforth Golf Club) at age 11. He began his career as assistant golf professional at Canterbury Golf Club (now Huron Oaks Golf Club) in Bright’s Grove, Ont. in 1978, was named head pro at Canterbury in 1981, worked as head golf pro at Sarnia Golf and Curling Club from 1993 to 2003, then returned as head pro at Huron Oaks in 2004 until he took his current post in London.

Bennett is best known as Mike Weir’s coach when the 2003 Masters Tournament winner began his junior golf career at Huron Oaks during the early-1980s.

“As a young kid playing at Huron Oaks, it was great having the opportunity to play with the Gov,” said Weir, who joins the Champions Tour in May. “He was such a good player, a great short-game player, with a great wedge game – that is what I learned most from him. Without a doubt, that rubbed off on me. And the Gov has always cared deeply about junior golfers – and it wasn’t just me, it was all of the juniors at Huron Oaks.”

Bennett also gave Weir his first job – working in the back shop and at the range at Huron Oaks. Said Weir, “I spent more time chipping balls back onto the range and working on my pitching game than doing actual work. But he still gave me shifts because he recognized I was passionate about the game. And whenever we had time, he would help me with my short game.”

A champion of junior golf, and a long-time supporter of numerous charities tied to the game, Bennett will be honoured at the spring LondonOntarioGolf.com/LondonOntarioSports.com luncheon and awards banquet on Friday, May 1 at Highland Country Club in London. Details including ticket information will be available soon at LondonOntarioGolf.com.

Note: A feature story on Steve Bennett is published at LondonOntarioGolf.com here, and is available for publishing in whole or in part. Please credit Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.