On the eve of the 2022 PGA Tour Butterfield Bermuda Championship Kim Swan, Chairman of Government Golf Courses reflects on the huge impact of public golf in Bermuda, the 50 years of Port Royal Golf Course and the influence of Ocean View Golf Club in Port Royal’s establishment.
Kim Swan has re-emerged as a golf practitioner in this the 50th Anniversary Year of his learning to play the game of golf and put himself to the test against players a third of his age and against players who were not born when he won his third Bermuda Open in 1984 at age 27.
Kim Swan reflects, “Dwayne Pearman, Cornell Bean, Glen ‘Dingbat’ Simmons, Darren Woods and others are among the youngsters from Port Royal who were born into golf because of the opening of Port Royal Golf Course in 1970.”
The origins of Port Royal connection to St. George’s through Port Royal’s first Chairman Reginald Tucker, a prominent local golfer and bank executive are profound. Ironically, the connection between Louis Rafael ‘Kid’ Corbin and Reggie Tucker (as he was affectionately called) was also very significant and we owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Jeffrey Sammons for uncovering this historic connection between Reginald ‘Reggie’ Tucker and Louis Rafael ‘Kid’ Corbin.
* Tucci’s Corner
Prophetically, Herman ‘Tucci’ Bascome the Ocean View Golf Club’s first Golf Professional hails from Whale Bay, Southampton and had his personal training golf holes near where holes 13. 14 and 15 on Port Royal are situated today. It as revealed to Kim Swan by his mentor Herman ‘Tucci’ Bascome that he had envisioned Port Royal as a golf course long before was developed.
* Alignment of Historic Anniversaries
Not only Ironically, but this year also marks the 70th Anniversary of Corbin’s untimely death in 1951, the 70th Anniversary Year of Ocean View Golf Club ( the same golf course Louis ‘Rafael kid’ Corbin was the Pro in 1933). It is also the 50th Anniversary of then Ocean View Pro Frankie Rabain becoming the first Bermudian to qualify for the British Open, the 50th Anniversary year of the meteoric rise in golf of Ralph Fray followed by his tragic death in 1971. Most important it commemorates the 50th Anniversary Year of Walter King becoming the first Bermudian to win the newly integrated Bermuda Open Championship and later that year making history by becoming the first golf pro at the Port Royal Golf Course.
* Natural Mystique:- The Port Royal – Ocean View – St. George’s Triangular Connection
Every local player in the field has a direct link to Port Royal, Ocean View Golf Club or St. George’s through golf and family with some have multiple connections.
Brian Morris, Sponsors Exemption
Brian Morris is the current Ocean View Golf Pro did his first apprenticeship at the golf St. George’s Golf Course – a pilot trainee superintendent program initiated by Kim Swan – a program in the 1980’s which saw him rotate between the three government golf courses St. George’s, Ocean View and Port Royal.
Michael Sims, Low Qualifier
Michael Sims of Southampton has enjoyed an outstanding career as an amateur, collegiate and professional golfer who credits early lessons with Port Royal Golf Professional Frankie Rabain as helping lay a strong foundation.
Camiko Smith from Spring Benny on hole #4 is a classic example of a local child gravitating to golf, from a golf course is in their neighborhood. Camiko father is also a legendary St. George’s Cup Match Captain
Damian Palyanda of St. George’s
Damian and his father are a Bermudian example of how a positive encouraging father can help shape a son. Many days practicing on the St. George’s Golf Course, this Father Son duo is making Queen Street, St. George’s proud.
Chaka Desilva of St. George’s is the grandson of Bermuda golfing icon Noel Van Putten and the great grandson of George DeSilva who were both well immersed in golf. Noel Van Putten was Port Royal’s 3rd General Manager between 1976 & 1984. Chaka was destined to become an accomplished golfer and we know his late father Red DeSilva is smiling over his success.
This Year we take time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary Year of Port Royal Golf Course and all those who persons and experiences that made its development possible.
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