The Grande Meadows golf community is saddened with the passing of founding member Dave Brenton on May 21.
Dave was well known throughout Newfoundland and Labrador a great athlete, volunteer and family man. Throughout his lifetime Dave gave freely of himself to improve the lives of others whether it be volunteering with the Kinsmen Club, the Town of Marystown, the Burin Peninsula Health Care Foundation or the many sports in which he participated.
Among his many achievements perhaps Dave is better known for his sports involvement including his more than 30 years as a Physical Education teacher at MCHS. He was a great basketball, softball and hockey player during his playing days and like the rest of us would play golf occasionally by traveling to Terra Nova Golf Course in Port Blandford. He was always more than willing to teach those skills to younger people by coaching many minor as well as high school sports teams. Besides being a great player and coach Dave was probably an even better organizer.
I had the privilege of working with Dave on many events including 2 Newfoundland Summer Games, a Burin Peninsula Summer Games and for 2 years on the Board of Directors of Grande Meadows Golf Course.
Once preliminary work had been done by Horatio Cluett and his group to get government support for Grande Meadows Golf Course there came the need to get 200 members to put in some money to make it a reality. Dave was one of the people who pushed tirelessly to get those people. Here we are 26 years later and Grande Meadows has become a 9 hole gem of a course in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dave was a member of the Board of Directors for the first 2 years that Grande Meadows was in operation and was instrumental in setting the course along the path to success.
However, Dave moved away from the BOD after those 2 years as he thought that you needed a business sense to be there. No, he didn’t move away from Grande Meadows – that competitive instinct was still there so Dave moved over to organizing tournaments which he did for several more years. He was one of the principal organizers of the Annual Grande Meadows Invitational which will be held for the 24th year in a row from June 11 – 13. Dave played in 15 of those Invitationals including last year when due to Covid it was held in September. The photo below shows him along with the other winners in his Group last September.
Even as he moved away from serving on the BOD and the Tournament Committee, Dave was always there to lend a hand in any way that he could help. Being such a good organizer he would pitch in at the end of tournaments to help with sorting out the winners. You could always count on Dave to have his Division sorted out very quickly.
As well Dave loved coming over to Men’s Night every Thursday evening and it was always a pleasure to chat with him before play began too. Many’s a time he kept us all entertained with his sense of humour. I think Dave loved that part of the golf experience more than the golf itself.
I think I would be remiss here if I didn’t poke a little bit of golf humor back at Dave. You were guaranteed that if you played a round of golf with Dave you would be laughing your head of sometime during the round. Whenever Dave hit an errant shot in the woods he would always find his ball and no matter where it was he was going to try to hit it out. You would hear a bang or a crack every now and then as Dave broke the limbs or branches of trees to be able to hit the ball. There were times the ball came out and Dave followed with his club in 2 pieces or badly bent in the shaft. His response always was “No guts no glory!”
On the putting green Dave would always be looking for gimme putts. Most people take them inside a foot – Dave wanted them inside 10 feet. If you didn’t give him the putt he came back with the response “Some buddies ye are!”
Speaking of his buddies – Dave went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well as other southern golf destinations for many years to golf during Easter week when schools were closed with his best friends Dennis Kelly, Sam Synard and Dan Walsh. Now here are 4 pretty evenly matched golfers who are very competitive and wouldn’t give an inch if $5 was on the line. There were many lively discussions over whether a ball was in the hazard or out of bounds. One had to be very careful on the course to be not accused of breaking some rule!
Good friend Sam Synard relates the story to me a 2019 golf trip to Orlando, Florida. Dave’s responsibility was to book tee times at different courses for each day. In the middle of their trip they arrived at Dubsbread Golf Course via Uber for their round. They walked into the clubhouse to check in for their 1:10pm tee time but were told by the starter that there were no tee times there that day as a club tournament was being held. Dave insisted that he had booked tee times there while the starter said it wasn’t possible as this tournament was booked since the year before. When they got things settled they discovered that Dave did indeed book at Dubsbread Golf Course for 1:10 pm but the course he booked at was located in Kansas City, Missouri. Needless to say Dave was a little red-faced but more important to him was how they were going to get their money back for the golf which he had paid for on his credit card. Well wouldn’t you know as luck would have it for the first time in over 20 years Kansas City had a snowstorm the day before and the Dubsbread Golf Course was closed. They would get their refund.
Grande Meadows is indeed a better place today because of the tireless efforts of Dave Brenton in the early days of the course as well as his continued support of Grande Meadows throughout the past 26 years. Dave will be fondly remembered around the golf course and the clubhouse where many of his funny stories will be retold whenever there is a get together. However, they will never be told as well as Dave could do it himself. Dave may be gone but he will not be forgotten at Grande Meadows Golf Course.
On behalf of the Grande Meadows family I extend our sincerest condolences to Dave’s wife Anne, his children Angie, Richard and Margaret, his grandchildren whom he adored, his brothers and sister as well as his large extended family. Hopefully your many great memories of Dave will help you all cope during this most difficult of times. God Bless you all.
Rest in peace dear friend!!
Written by long time friend Barry Stacey.