With Bradford Highlands Golf Course set to close at the end of the season, the course's Head Golf Professional Ryan Lamb has accepted a new role as Director of Golf with Silver Lakes Golf & County Club in East Gwillimbury.
It's bittersweet for Lamb who started working at Bradford Highlands when he was just 12-years-old.
The golf pro at the time Laurie Buckland, who Lamb says was his mentor, let him wash dishes at golf tournaments in exchange for playtime on the course.
"He saw some talent and let me hone my skills," said Lamb.
From there he worked his way up to the back shop, then the pro shop, and eventually into management.
Lamb is also a graduate of the Professional Golf Management program from Humber College.
His role at Bradford Highlands had him overseeing the facility and dealing with all aspects of the business from food and beverage to course operations.
Lamb will miss the friends and colleagues he has made over the years at the course but is excited for the next chapter of his career with Silver Lakes.
"The community, the camaraderie, the friendships, the 3,000+ acquaintances," are just some of the things Lamb will miss the most about Bradford Highlands. "There's a lot of great memories here."
He said he's seen Bradford Highlands go from a 'cow pasture' (a term in the golf industry for a flat, hard, plain course), to a mature, tree-laden, beautiful course.
"It's too bad," he said about the course closing at the end of the season.
The golf course opened in 1987.
Six years ago, the golf course owners sold an interest in the property to the Bayview-Wellington Group, which built a subdivision next to the course off Line 6 and Simcoe Road. The course continued to operate under a lease agreement, which will now come to an end after the 2021 season. A.R.G. Group Inc. plans to expand the current Green Valley Estates subdivision by Vaughan-based Bayview-Wellington Homes off Line 6, with townhouses, semi-detached, and single-family detached houses.
With the pandemic, Lamb says golf has never been more popular. He says golf is safe in that it gets people outside, distanced, benefiting both physical and mental health.
"One of the positive things about this pandemic is that it brought a lot of new people into the game," he said, noting the course is seeing an incredible amount of new players.
"I am looking forward to the new challenge over there (Silver Lakes) as their Director of Golf," he said, noting he will be solely focused on running the golf operations.
Lamb's last day at Bradford Highlands was Saturday and starts his new role at Silver Lakes today, but promises to visit the Highlands this summer to say hi and play a few rounds with members and staff.