OAKVILLE, ON: Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are pleased to announce that Fareen Samji of Burlington, Ont. and Bob Beauchemin of Brampton, Ont. have been named the inaugural winners of the Lorie Kane Community Spirit Award.
Following a national call for nominations to the Canadian golf community in 2022, Samji and Beauchemin were identified by the selection committee as co-recipients of the Lorie Kane Community Leader Award, celebrating a pair of individuals who demonstrated excellence in using golf as a platform to positively impact their communities.
“So many spirited and well-intentioned individuals use golf as a platform to contribute to their community and we are extremely proud to celebrate Fareen Samji and Bob Beauchemin as the inaugural recipients of the Lorie Kane Community Spirit Award,” said Golf Canada President Liz Hoffman. “Both were nominated by their peers for their wonderful efforts to share the golf experience in their community and I am pleased to congratulate them on this much deserved honour.”
A 5-time Canadian Women’s Long Drive champion and former golf touring professional, Samji is a respected entrepreneur, speaker, and author who founded the Smashing the Grass Ceiling golf program to engage women and young girls to connect and be inspired on the golf course.
“It’s amazing to see the support from the community around creating access to golf and long drive,” said Samji. “I’m humbled to receive this award and will continue to forge ahead and work to help people use the sport to create meaningful relationships.”
Beauchemin, a PGA of Canada professional and Head Teaching Professional at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, was nominated for his efforts to advance junior golf including First Tee Canada, as well as his mentorship to countless golf industry professionals through the Humber College Professional Golf Management Program.
“I am very humbled to receive this wonderful honour,” said Beauchemin. “Golf has been an integral part of my life for almost 60 years and has given me so much. If I have, in anyway, been responsible for passing on valuable knowledge or igniting a passion and love for the game of golf to the next generation, I feel it is a privilege.”
Samji and Beauchemin will each receive a $5,000 donation from the Golf Canada Foundation to advance a golf program or golf-related initiative of their choice.
Submissions for the Lorie Kane Community Spirit Award were evaluated by a selection committee that includes representatives from Golf Canada, the Golf Canada Foundation, Honoured Members of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, industry representatives and the Golf Journalists Association of Canada.
A 5-time Canadian Women’s Long Drive champion and former golf touring professional, Fareen Samji is a respected entrepreneur, speaker, mentor and author who founded the Smashing the Grass Ceiling golf program to engage women and young girls to connect and be inspired on the golf course. The golf program features a series of events ranging from 9-hole tournaments to clinics and retreats all designed to take the “scary” out of golf. The junior component to the program—Smashing Girls—is designed to give girls without access to golf, aged 11-17 the opportunity to learn golf, meet successful women mentors and learn critical interpersonal skills. Samji is also the Tour Commissioner and coach for ALD Canada Long Drive and works actively to recruit and develop long drivers to represent Canada at international events.
Samji published her book, Smashing the Grass Ceiling in 2017 to empower, motivate and inspire professional women to make meaningful connections. Through the Smashing program she runs workshops and clinics to help professionals increase confidence and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, the McMaster graduate is an entrepreneur who works in the field of event management, orthotics, orthopedic footwear, compression therapy and bracing.
Samji has been nominated for Citizen of the Year two times and is the winner of a Provincial Canada 150 award as well a recipient of the Leading Women Leading Change award. She is also the founder and creator of Pythons’ Pit, an entrepreneurial pitch contest for high school students that helps to foster innovation and creativity.
A respected PGA of Canada Class A professional, Bob Beauchemin’s contributions to advance the sport of golf have impacted thousands of industry professionals and juniors over a distinguished career in the game. As Head Teaching Professional at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Beauchemin has been a driving force behind the club’s commitment to the First Tee Canada program designed to increase the accessibility of golf for youth in traditionally underrepresented communities. Beauchemin operated two First Tee Canada programs at Oakdale in 2022, providing community youth with no-cost access to experience the sport, using golf as a vehicle to have fun and build confidence.
Beauchemin has also taught more than 1,000 aspiring golf industry professionals over his career through the Humber College Professional Golf Management Program (1997-present) in addition to the development and execution of The Humber PGM Player Development Program (2000-present). He has inspired new generations of industry professionals to become passionate and trusted custodians of the game, providing education and mentorship on the rules, etiquette and proud history of the sport. Prior to the launch of First Tee Canada, Beauchemin taught the former Future Links junior golf program since its inception, supporting hundreds of aspiring junior golfers at Oakdale and from the surrounding community through camps, clinics and lessons. An accomplished former Touring Professional (1975-1986), Beauchemin competed on golf tours around the world including the PGA TOUR, Australian Tour, and the Asian Tour in addition to the former Canadian Tour (now PGA TOUR Canada) with which he later served eight years as Commissioner and CEO (1985-1993). He was honoured by PGA TOUR Canada as a Life Member in 2007 for contributions to the advancement of the Tour and its players.
The Lorie Kane Community Leader Award celebrates individuals over the age of 19 with a demonstrated ability to lead community initiatives; who have contributed a measurable impact through volunteerism or charity; or have showcased excellence in their involvement with, or support of youth programs such as First Tee – Canada or other junior golf activities.
Launched in the summer of 2022, the recognition was renamed the Lorie Kane Community Spirit Awards (both the Community Leader Award as well as the Junior Leader Award) as a tribute to the Canadian golf legend’s contributions to advance the sport and charitable initiatives both on and off the golf course.
A call for nominations for the 2023 Lorie Kane Community Spirit Awards will go out later this year.