Conversation with Tiffany Chaisson

A Quick Nine with Fairways Fund CEO, and golf blogger Tiffany Chaisson

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

Fairways

  1. You haven’t been playing golf for too long but you’re becoming well known as an avid player who travels the world and plays the game.   So what’s the story…how’d you get into the game and who should get the credit for getting you interested in the game?

I played 9 holes in August 2013 when I was visiting PEI Canada and renovating my house there. I shot 118 for 9 holes (yes I counted). My friend Jenny, asked if I wanted to learn to golf the following year when I moved to Canada. I love sports and needed a new sport as couldn’t play my usual (netball, touch football, surfing, or indoor rock climbing) so golf it was. I also hate being bad at anything so I was determined to improve. I started in July 2014 and by the time I left Canada I had shot 54 at the course I shot 118 on the previous summer. I was addicted and loved watching my improvement. This July I am celebrating my 3 year golf anniversary and as per the last two years to celebrate, I will play in the Club Championship.

  1.  I’ve lost track, how many courses and how many countries have you played?

I have now played 120 courses in 11 countries in less than 3 years.

  1.  I’m sure there are countless memories but is there one moment for you playing the game that stands out?

I have been very lucky that I have golfed with hundreds of people around the world and have so many fantastic memories however there is one that pops into my head. I was playing a solo round on the Costa Brava at Golf Platja de Pals in Spain and chipped it in for the first time. No one was around and yet it was sublime.

4.  You’re CEO of Fairways Fund.  An impressive title for certain but what is this organization and what is its mandate?

Fairways Fund is a nonprofit sponsoring underprivileged junior golfers all over the world. Our mission statement is Golf Without Bounds and we pay for membership, lesson packages and range access for underprivileged juniors to help develop golf at the grassroots while supporting golf businesses and professionals. We currently have 20 juniors in four countries, Canada, India, Nepal and Bolivia and in future we will also help our interested juniors transition into employment within the billion dollar golf industry be it as a professional, greenskeeper or hospitality. We want golf to be inclusive and any child to be able to play regardless of their financial limitations.

  1.  Where do you see the organization in 5 years?

I will be working for Fairways full time and I would like to have one of our Bolivian juniors secure a scholarship in the USA, see Pratima Sherpa in Nepal play on the LPGA and have expanded into many more countries supporting juniors who love the game but cannot afford to play it.

  1.  Is there a story from this work you can share?  Are you having any success?

How do you define success? Is it helping a junior transition into a pro golfer or is it watching young Tomy in Bolivia win a second hand shirt and pair of shoes in a golf tournament?

This week I have had three things happen which make me very happy and give me the knowledge I am doing what I am meant to be. Edwin in Bolivia sent me a message saying golf is growing in Bolivia because of me and my visit (I was there for 9 weeks helping with a junior clinic and getting our juniors into golf tournaments), I connected with Pratima in Nepal who has just been granted a visa so she can go to golf school in the USA for two months and I golfed with one of our Canadian juniors who was so very excited to meet me. His mother advised that he was delighted to have been invited to the winter lessons I had arranged and had been watching all my YouTube videos and had really come into his own through golf. He is currently 13 and he told me he would love to become a teaching professional and would like to travel and help teach golf to juniors in other countries through Fairways.

  1.  How can people get involved to help and support Fairways?

We have online sponsorship options available however this month we will be launching Awesome Foursomes, an online auction of donated four ball green fees from golf courses all over the world starting at 50% of the value. If you are a member at a golf course you can ask if they would like to support underprivileged junior golfers globally by donating four green fees that we can auction off while advertising and promoting their course via social media or you can bid on a course you have always wanted to play and get a discounted price knowing the money will help children play this wonderful sport.

  1.   What drives your passion for the game?  You play.  You travel.  You have a socially driven business.  What keeps you energized to do this?

I am not sure to be perfectly honest. I hear my voice raise in excitement when I talk about golf and I wonder who I am. I just love it. I am unreservedly happy with a fairway under my feet and while relatively new to the sport; if I can share my passion and help children continue golfing I will be satisfied.

I have always had a lot of energy -my family seem to think I have undiagnosed ADHD – and I have always been able to get a lot done while juggling numerous projects.  My background is project management.

We would not have been able to be so far advanced with the nonprofit in such a short time if it wasn’t for our COO Jeremy White, who I wrangled in to be my co-founder in April last year. We work very well together and at times he channels my passion but I enjoy meeting new people, traveling, helping people and now I happen to love golf. I just made myself a job where I get to do all of it.

  1.  What course tops your Canadian bucket list and what is your dream foursome you’d love to tee it up with?

What province? There are so many good golf courses in Canada. Around here it would have to be Cabot Cliffs/Links as I continually hear how good they are, however I am sure I will find a hidden gem others consider a goat track that I will fall in love with and play golf for the soul.

My dream foursome?  Hmm well Jimmy Fallon would be fun to golf with, Seve would be interesting golf chat (and I could practice my Spanish) and Hogan would be wonderful to watch. You didn’t say they had to be alive right?

MJ – no, not at all.  Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best with Fairways and expanding your course count.  Have a great summer.

You can learn more about Fairways by visiting their website here or their site on Facebook.  And you can follow Tiffany Chaisson and Fairways Fund on Twitter

2016 in Review – Top 5 Posts

2016 in Review – Top 5 Posts

I want to thank everyone who follows and supports my blog.  Three years now and I am still enjoying the opportunity to share reviews and travel information on interesting and wonderful public golf courses in Canada.  Expect more of the same in 2017.  It was a great year of golf for me, with chances to play in British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario.  I was able to play some amazing courses, meet great people and see parts of the country I have never experienced.  As is often the case there were some hidden gems and I tried hard to make a commitment to improve my photography skills and share more of these experiences with you.

Meeting and playing golf with fellow bloggers, venturing back into competitive golf after a brief absence and being able to maintain a single digit handicap are all things I look back on fondly.  Canada really is an amazing country to play golf in.  I find it so rich in golf courses that I recently increased my Bucket List of Canadian public courses from 74 to just fewer than 100.  Canada has well over 2000 courses so I have done some research, listened to Twitter followers and went with my gut in a few cases but added over 20 courses to my list.

In 2016, my top 5 posts all have an eastern Canada connection.  My 2015 PEI trip was legendary and I have written extensively on it.  Four of the top five posts were course reviews from this trip which I staggered as new blog entries over the winter of 2016.

#1. Stanhope Golf Club

Easy to walk, relaxed in nature and offering an incredible underrated and stunning back nine, Stanhope offers high marks for fun.  A benign opening nine gives way to an amazing stretch of golf holes on the back that are both challenging and awe inspiring.  Playing on an afternoon following a tough weather morning at demanding Crowbush Cove; Stanhope was a perfect course to cap off an epic day of 36.

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Not everyone gets to play golf with their best friend but at Stanhope it’s encouraged.

Click here to read the full post

#2 Oh, The Places You Will Go

Fairways Fund CEO, Tiffany Chaisson is someone I am proud to call a friend.  She also brings this amazing marriage of golf enthusiasm with unbridled passion for the game (making my own passion for the same seem pedestrian).  The opportunity to meet my Twitter friend in person, over a round of golf, came in July when we were fortunate to be hosted for a round at the incredible Ladies Club in Thornhill, ON.  The Ladies Club has a rich history and an amazing story of its inception that both Tiffany and I wanted to learn about.  Head Professional, Paddy Kelly hosted us and joined us for a round at this Stanley Thompson design which is a shorter course, but long on beauty and challenge.

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Ladies Club Head Professional, Paddy Kelly; Fairways Fund CEO, Tiffany Chaisson; and me!

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#3 Green Gables Golf Club

Sticking to Stanley Thompson, his work in Cavendish, in PEI, was my third most popular post in 2016.  Recent renovations by Tom McBroom helped bring this course back to its original lustre and an early morning fall tee time helped show off all its beauty.  The iconic Anne of Green Gables home, Oceanside views, classic Thompson design…it was there to enjoy.

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Anne’s house.

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#4 Eagles Glenn Golf Club

Practically within walking distance from Green Gables, still in Cavendish, is a more recent design.  Eagles Glenn, as I look back, is an outstanding golf course which is well framed by the rolling countryside and the design brilliance of Graham Cooke.  Superbly conditioned and on a stunning fall morning, this was a consensus favourite by our entire group.

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The Cartners won the last hole and were ready to tee it up.

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#5 Glasgow Hills Golf Club

This club of all the 10 played on our trip to PEI invoked the most discussion.  Stunning, immaculate in its conditioning and incredibly demanding, it presents a back nine which I really enjoyed.  With the most elevation changes of any course on the Island it demands accuracy and length.  But spend time before and after the round in their amazing clubhouse and restaurant and you’ll only focus on the great shots and the great views.

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This view from the patio of the clubhouse at Glasgow Hills is the best.

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2016 in Pictures – The Ladies Golf Club

In an effort to step up my photo game this year I am pleased to share 10 of my favourite golf images over the past year.  With a healthy layer of snow already in southern Ontario I hope this brings back good memories from your 2016 golf season and stokes the fire of anticipation for 2017!

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The Story: The word golf enthusiast is not appropriate for Tiffany Chaisson because it simply does not properly reflect her love for the game of golf (I defer to her choice; Golf Passionista).  I have never met a golfer more passionate about the game then the CEO of Fairways Fund (which is its own fascinating story).  This is the second fellow blogger I was able to tee it up with in 2016.  Hosted by Paddy Kelly and the fine people at The Ladies Golf Club for a summer round, this photo was not staged.  No, instead, I was photobombed and the result is quintessential Tiff.  Great memories of one of the more fun rounds of golf I experienced in 2016.  The course, I would argue, is one of Stanley Thompson’s more underrated courses I have played; I loved it.

 

 

Oh, The Places You Will Go

Oh, The Places You Will Go

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Dr.Seuss

Dr. Seuss, golf and transformational figures are not topics I’d ever weave into a golf blog post.  Until now, of course.  The author a lighthearted series of children’s books weaves in messages for life for kids of all ages and within the book ‘Oh The Places You Will Go’ I was drawn to comparisons of  someone who I would argue to be the most passionate golfer I have ever met; ‘passionista’ is her term.

Tiffany Chaisson (@tiffchaisson) is active on twitter, loves the game of golf, travels the world, and now – two years into her golf journey – is a CEO of a not for profit to support kids playing golf by removing financial barriers to participate.  This is a new venture for Tiffany and her enthusiasm for Fairways may, (strong emphasis on may) even be more infectious than her love of playing the game.

We met this week for a round at the historic, iconic Ladies Club in Thornhill, ON for a round of golf with head professional Padraig Kelly.  Paddy hosted Tiff and I to a round and a tour of the clubhouse where we learned more about this history of this Stanley Thompson design which is built primarily for women players.  I will share more on the course in a future course review, but the experience we shared on a tranquil July morning is best reflected in this shot.  It is one of my all-time favourite golf pictures.

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Tiffany Chaisson showing her enthusiasm and an impressive vertical!  Love this image, it reflects a passion for the game we should all tap into more often.

Looking back, my reflections of my golfing journey made me appreciate the places I have gone.  And more importantly the people I have met.  New friends and acquaintances drawn together through a love of the game can only make you smile more on the course.  And, as Paddy was right to say, players tend to play better when they smile more.  Makes sense it was one of better rounds in some time.

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Paddy Kelly showing a solid club twirl after his approach on 17.

I will close off with this quote, as I reflect that my own golfing experience is certainly one of ‘fun to be done’!  Thanks for the gracious hospitality to Paddy Kelly and his team at Ladies GC.  And to Tiff, like Dr. Seuss, you have proven to be a transformative teacher.

“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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New friendships forged through golf.  Paddy, Tiff and I.