Coetzee Family Profile – April 2023

2019 the Coetzee’s win Low Net at Bond Head GC

 The Coetzee Family profile appeared in our April, 2024 newsletter. The Coetzee’s were the first family to get a “FATS tattoo”. It was such a great idea our family (Isaacs) copied the idea a couple of years later. 

Here is the profile as it originally appeared in the April, 2024 FATS newsletter.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my dad for providing us with the opportunity to play the beautiful game of golf – he introduced us to the sport at a very young age and it instantly became a way for our family to bond.

The Father and Three Sons Golf tournament has been an instrumental part of our lives since we were barely teenagers. It’s incredible to think back at all the memories we’ve created as a family and the meaningful relationships that have been developed with other families.

My dad (Ernie) began to discover his love for the game as a teenager, as a member of Markland Wood Golf Club. It was at this golf club where every year, he’d hear about his buddies and their brothers (McBride, Farrells, Popes, & McCanse families), going off to this amazing two-day golf tournament where they got to compete against each other with their dads as families. My dad was always so jealous back in the day, but it all seemed to come together for him when he and my mother were surprised/blessed with twins (Dylan and Spencer, 1996), in addition to his firstborn (Jake, 1994).

Our first tournament was in 2008, at Firerock Golf Course in London, Ontario, hosted by the Nash family. Our Dad signed our family up for the tournament as soon as we could reasonably hold our own through 18 holes of golf. A distinct memory I have from this tournament is heading up early on Thursday and driving around the Western University campus while our dad gave us a tour of all his favourite spots and past residences during his time there. At the tournament, on Friday, my brother Spencer and I were told (minutes earlier) that we were going to be hitting our drivers for the ceremonial tee-off…in front of everyone. We were the youngest at the tournament, and my dad didn’t think 4 minutes were sufficient to leave my brother out of the ceremony, so we each took a drive together. I remember the crowd roaring when Spencer introduced our family at the dinner later that night, we had so much fun. This tournament immediately became one of the most important things that we do together as a family, and we all ensure to make time for it every year.

In 2012, our fifth consecutive year at the tournament, we were lucky enough to be the host family at Battlefield (Legends of Niagara), Niagara, ON. We were still teenagers at the time, but we got a firsthand account of how much time and effort went into planning this tournament every year. Each host family is dedicating a massive amount of time over the calendar year to ensure those two days are memorable for all 30+ families.

In 2014, our seventh year in the tournament at Horseshoe Valley in Barrie, ON, hosted by the Clugston and Burkholder family, we were able to win our first-ever Low Net trophy! It’s the only trophy I’ve ever seen personally that I could compare to the Stanley Cup. Its appearance, stature, and history make this one-of-a-kind trophy a site to be seen, and an honour to win. We were lucky enough to win the trophy in 2019 at Bond Head, hosted by the Luciani family. The trophy came home with us, and due to COVID, stayed in our house being shown off to all our friends in all its glory, till the tournament resumed in 2022. The Low Gross and Scramble trophies have remained elusive yet our drive to compete for these titles in 2024 remains as strong as ever.

In 2018, to celebrate 10 years in the tournament that had watched us grow up – we decided to commemorate the tournament and all it has meant to our family with a tattoo! All 3 brothers and my dad got the same classic FATS logo stencilled on our back left shoulder, showing truly how important this tournament is to our family.

I’ve asked my brothers and my dad to share their favourite memories from the tournament over the last dozen years of participation. I’ve shared a few of my favourites above, so I’ll share my favourite FATS fact. We share a trophy (Low-Net) with NHL legend, Conn Smythe, who won the trophy with his brothers and dad in 1952.

My favourite memory as told by dad, “My favourite memory from the tournament over the year has to be my sons surprising me for my birthday in 2018, that we were all going to get matching tattoos to commemorate our love and commitment to this event. That was followed up by Dylan giving the introduction for our family at the dinner on Friday, retelling the story of how we got the tattoos and taking off our shirts one by one to show everyone, followed by a standing ovation from all our friends who were in disbelief”!

Favourite memory as told by Spencer, “My favourite memory or favourite event every year is the scramble. There is nothing I get more excited about than playing in the same foursome and on the same team as my brothers and my dad. Spending those four hours working with my family members to try to shoot the lowest score possible, mixing in some birdie juice, there’s no better competition. Although it seems like we always come up one or two shots short of winning the scramble every year, it’s still my favourite event because of the quality time we get competing as a family”.

My favourite memory is told by Jake, “My favourite memories were taken by my dad and brothers above, but I thought I’d share one of the most memorable moments (not necessarily my favourite). It was the tournament in Belleville in 2013. We had just met the Golfis and decided to try our luck getting into the bar. We had a great night of playing pool and darts, but my brothers and I were underage. It made the experience very memorable. As we were 17 and 18, we didn’t understand the rules of being at a bar. I walked outside with my beer in hand and was greeted by sitting policemen. Safe to say I learned my lesson and am grateful they only gave me a warning”.

Words can’t describe how important this tournament is to our family. We are incredibly grateful to all the individuals who are working year-round to continuously improve the tournament for all participants and ensure its legacy and traditions are set up to be carried on for years to come.

Ernie, Dylan, Spencer, Jake

Editor Notes

Editors Note (Gary): Any of you who know the Coetzees know that they always have fun together. That fun is multiplied when they are at the annual FATS event. Some of you may not remember that the original idea of creating a FATS Board was Ernie’s idea. He raised it before the pandemic and then in 2022 I called him to discuss it further. That led to Ernie, Michael, Ralph, Ken and I working on the proposal that the Fathers approved in 2023. Ernie now serves on our board and advises on all legal areas

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