Articles About Gord

Hole-in-one for blind comedian

By VINCENT BALL
EXPOSITOR STAFF
Brantford

But seriously, folks... blind comedian Gord Paynter got a hole-in-one at North-Ridge Golf Course on Sunday.

"It was really exciting," said Paynter, 44, who used a driver to ace the 184 yard second hole at North-Ridge. "All the years I've been playing that course I've hardly ever even been on the green.

"I'm either short, off to the left or off to the right.

But a day after his ace, Paynter, who has been blind since his early 20s, was giving much of the credit for his big moment to his niece, 13-year-old Mallory O'Leary, and his wife, Catherine Camp-Paynter. And that's no joke.

"My regular caddy and helper couldn't make it, so Mallory came out to help me," Paynter said. "She's the one who set me up and pointed me in the right direction.

"She did a great job. All I had to do was swing the club."

The driver was a club his wife purchased for him a couple of years ago.

"I hardly ever used it because I found that I couldn't get the kind of distance that I wanted," Paynter said. "It gave me all kinds of loft but no distance."

"I threw it in the bag yesterday (Sunday) and after hitting some pretty good ones on the driving range I decided to give it a try."

Paynter was playing with Ian Loveless and Steve Syko, two members at North-Ridge, when he got his ace.

"When I hit it, they all said, 'Nice shot, Gord; you're on the green, Gord, and oh, it looks like you're near the pin,'" Paynter recalled.

But no one could see the ball as they approached the green.

"Mallory thought that maybe I had gone over the green and was in the rough," Paynter said. "I got out my wedge, my putter and was walking to the back when Ian said, 'It's here,' meaning in the hole.

"I fe1t like a little kid."

A diabetic, Paynter was 18 when doctors told him he would eventually go blind. However, he didn't take the condition seriously and, four years later, while hitchhiking across Europe, he lost his sight.

He then sunk into a period of depression and battled his way out of it by relying on his humour. He had studied theatre and English at Brock University in St. Catharines.

His break through in comedy came in 1984 when lie performed at Yuk Yuk's Komedy Kabaret amateur night in Toronto. His show was a huge success and he began doing regular performances.

Paynter appears at comedy clubs around the country and also speaks at motivational seminars for a variety of groups including the March of Dimes and Special Olympics.

He grew up in Brantford's north end and played North-Ridge as a kid. His last found of golf as a sighted person was about 24 years ago.

Paynter took up the game again five years ago and has become a NorthRidge regular.

He relies on his sense of distance and his hearing to help him play. He requires a caddy to guide him to his ball and around the course.

The guide also sets up his ball and ensures Paynter is lined up properly. The rest is up to Paynter.

"The golf swing is just a matter of mechanics," Paynter once said. "I don't move my head or my eyes and I have to trust my guide to line me up properly."

 
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