By Doug Kennedy
It is that time of year when golfers are excited to get back to the course.
The Kincardine Golf Course has a familiar face in Jim Bell, who has been active at the course for over 60 years. Bell started to work at the golf course when he was 14-years-old, when his parents, Ryerson and Lily Robinson managed the course.
Course board member Charlie Hunter said the Bell has the best hand–eye co-ordination of any athlete he has ever known. Keith Davidson told me the same thing. It would not matter what sport he was in involved in; if he had a racket or club or bat or stick in his hand, it was magic to watch him play these sports.
Bell has worked just about all the jobs you can have at the golf course over the years, but Hunter says his favourite job is when he is out on the course cutting the grass.
Board member and longtime club member Bill Shewfelt says Bell’s dedication for 60 plus years stands out. He has always been a fixture and is a smiling face that you know you would see every time you were there. For me, as a junior golfer, on the course Bell always made me feel like I was welcome there and would freely offer little tips to help inprove my game, or a gentle reminder about proper etiquette that would help me be a good member.
Bell is always there to offer a little advice but would always say you’re in charge now and you’re doing a good job, do whatever you guys think is best. There has never been, and there will never be, a better ambassador for the Kincardine Golf Club.
Jim played and coached hockey in Kincardine from a young age. He also played and coached junior hockey here in Kincardine.Two junior C teams from Kincardine made it to the all-Ontario final. One was coached by Bell and the other team was coached by Doug Dunlop.
Bell played junior B hockey in Stratford and Goderich and he junior C in Hanover and Kincardine.
He was the first coach of the Kincardine Kings senior hockey team.
His sister Judy Hunter has been a top women’s golfer at the Kincardine Golf Course her entire life. I am not sure how many time she has won the club championship, but I would bet it is over 25 times. I think Jim has won the men’s club championship at least five or six times.
He was recently put on the Kincardine Sports Wall of Fame. The ceremony has not taken place yet but hopefully this summer that will happen.
Bell has two kids, Joline and Jay. He also has six grandkids, who he loves to spend time with. He spends his summers living in Kincardine and he spends his living in Barrie.
He will not be happy with me for writing this story, as he likes to stay under the radar. Bell has been a positive influence and role model to a lot of young kids and adults in Kincardine throughout his life.