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Blind Golf Champion

"Nick Genovese"

The baritone singing voice of Nick Genovese of Dundas, Ontario, became a familiar one to CBC radio listeners of the 1960's. He is still in demand as an entertainer on the club and banquet circuit. What the radio listeners didn't know, but what was obvious to live audiences, was that Nick is blind.

On Friday, March 13, 1946, at the age of 17, Nick lost his sight in a welding accident at Steel Fab Ltd., where he was apprenticing. So, Nick simply decided to redirect his energies and develop what he had been told was a 'good rich voice’.

Being blind was no hindrance to a singing career nor to Nick becoming a success with his own insurance agency. During the years I lived in Hamilton, Nick handled my insurance requirements without a hitch. During my term as Kinsmen Deputy Governor, Nick was president of the Kinsmen Club of Dundas. Using the club's secretary Gary Staley, as his eyes, Nick was the top president in my zone.

But his most inspirational accomplishments have been on the golf course. He has won 18 titles, including the National Blind Golfers Championship. He's played golf with many top celebrities including Bob Hope. How does he do it? According to him it's simple.... A sighted coach lines him up on the ball, tells him the direction and distance to the pin, and Nick does the rest. For years Nick's brother Carmen was his coach. In 1975 Carmen passed away. Nick stopped playing golf.

In 1989, Nick sold his insurance agency, picked up his clubs and three coaches ... his son John, a 32 year old school teacher; Bob Lemaire and

Cam Holstein ... and headed for the links. In fact, as I sit here writing this story on Sunday, January 6, 1991, Nick and Cam are competing in a tournament in Phoenix, Arizona.

Pat, his wife of 35 years, is glad he's back on the links making a point to inspire all handicapped people.

Nick Genovese, a Canadian Achiever who converted a tragedy into opportunity so that blindness is now merely an inconvenience rather than a handicap. Yes, Nick is still using his magnificent rich singing voice at weddings, Christmas pageants and the like. So, if you're playing golf one day and you hear the strains of a basso profundo "fore" bellowing across the fairways, you'll know Nick Genovese is nearby. Go say hello, he'd like that.

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