The Heart Award



London Ontario Sports is an involved member of the London community, and a proud supporter of our charity of choice: Heart & Stroke.

In 2011, our sister publication, London Ontario Golf, decided to honour a member of the local golf community who over the years has unselfishly given back to the game, while helping it grow. Our winners are: Mike Olizarevitch (2011); Fred Kern (2012); Patty Howard (2013); Mike Weir (2014); East Park Golf (2015); Bob Martin (2016); Mike Silver (2017); Lindsey Edmunds (2018); and Rene Muylaert (2019).

About the London Ontario Golf Heart Award

The London Ontario Golf Heart Award recognizes a London & area community member who helps grow the game of golf. publisher and editor Jeffrey Reed created the award in 2011 in order to recognize a community member who gives back to the game through unselfish efforts. Each June, the Heart Award recipient, as selected by the editors of, honours those within the categories of golf professionals/instructors, golf mentors, golf course owners/operators, golf course architects/designers and members of the media. June is Stroke Awareness Month. Heart & Stroke is the Official Charity of London Ontario Golf.

For more on the Heart Award, including news releases and photos, please follow the links at the home page of London Ontario Golf.

2011 Mike Olizarevitch


Olizarevitch retired in 2009 after 49 years at Fanshawe Golf Club in London, where he was head professional for 39 years. Passionate about the game and about helping others enjoy it, too, Olizarevitch’s vision in creating the Parkside Nine at Fanshawe Golf Club – North America’s first golf course specifically designed for the physically challenged – strengthened the fact he was a much-deserved inaugural Heart Award recipient. The Parkside Nine allows stroke suffers, those affected by heart disease and anyone who is physically challenged to still enjoy the game of golf. Olizarevitch volunteered at London’s Parkwood Hospital where a 3,000-yard putting green had been developed for rehabilitation and therapy for spinal cord and wheelchair-bound patients.

2012 Fred Kern

IMG_0829A member of the PGA of Canada since 1960, Kern was head professional at London’s Thames Valley Golf Club from 1971-2007. His biggest contribution to the game of golf was operating the Junior Tyson Tour from 1978-2009. Kern was also a mentor to many local pros, including Bruce Atkins (Echo Valley GC) and Patty Howard (Sunningdale G&CC) – two of his first assistants, as well as Justin Fairchild, Bill Fox Jr., Graham Hegler, Gil Parkinson, Dave Schweyer, Debbie Stevens and Marc Webster. A two-time competitor at the Canadian Open, Kern captured the London and Area PGA Championship in 1972, was CPGA Junior Teacher of the Year in 1996, and London Sportsperson of the Year in 2004.

2013 Patty Howard

SONY DSCA member of the PGA of Canada since 1975, Howard is widely considered one of Canada’s most knowledgeable and personable golf professionals. A member of the London Sports Hall of Fame (2009), Howard was Canada’s first female head professional at a private mixed club (West Haven Golf & Country Club 1990). Her numerous accolades include Club Professional of the Year (PGA of Canada, PGA of Ontario 2007), and Women of Distinction Award – Sport, Fitness & Recreation (2001). Howard oversaw the full scope of golf play at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club before retiring in 2013. In 2016, Howard was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.

2014 Mike Weir

Born less than an hour west of London in Bright’s Grove, Weir honed his skills under former coach Steve Bennett’s watchful eye at Huron Oaks Golf Club. Weir won the 1986 Canadian Juvenile Championship, 1988 Ontario Junior Championship, and the 1990 and 1992 Ontario Amateur Championship. In 2010, he was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.


A graduate of Brigham Young University, Weir was the Canadian Tour (now PGA Tour Canada) Rookie of the Year in 1993, and Order of Merit winner in 1997. In 1999, Weir won his first PGA Tour title at the 1999 Air Canada Championship with a two-stroke victory over Fred Funk, becoming the first Canadian to win on Tour since Richard Zokol won the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open, and the first Canadian to win on native soil since Pat Fletcher won the 1954 Canadian Open.

Weir emerged as one of the game’s brightest stars with his 2003 Masters Tournament victory, a dramatic playoff win over Len Mattiace. His breakthrough year on the PGA Tour earned him the 2003 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete of the year, and the Lionel Conacher Award, given to Canada’s top male athlete of the year, an award he previously won in 2000 and 2001. In total, Weir has won eight times on the PGA TOUR, has competed as part of five Presidents Cup squads, and six times competed in the World Cup of Golf. On a national level, Weir’s success and contributions through charitable work have attributed to two Order of Canada inductions (2007, 2009). In 2009, Weir was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.


Weir has used his success as a professional golfer as a platform for helping other families in need with the creation of the Mike Weir Foundation in 2004. Mike launched a national fundraising program through his foundation, called the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids, supporting Children’s Miracle Network. The first Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive tournament in 2007, held at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, raised $562,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario. Since 2007, the Mike Weir Foundation and the Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids has raised about $7 million for Children’s Miracle Network partner hospitals.

2015 East Park Golf Gardens

Heart 2015mFor more than 50 years, East Park has been one of London’s busiest breeding grounds for beginner golfers honing their skills from tee to green. Affordable golf plus a myriad of family activities makes the southeast London fun spot one of the city’s most active sports and leisure hotspots. And for more than half a century, East Park has given back to the community through fundraising and charitable donations. More than 75,000 people visit East Park each year, many of whom challenge one of London’s most popular 18-hole golf courses, play its two 18-hole miniature golf layouts and practice at its driving range. Founded in 1963 by a group of prominent Londoners, East Park is operated by managing partners Neil Kapp, Alon Shatil and Ian Stone, who celebrated East Park’s 50th Anniversary in 2013. It’s a good bet that more youngsters started playing golf at East Park than at any other London golf club.

2016 Bob Martin

_MG_0376f-003In the winter of 1963, Londoner Bob Martin moved his golf retail outlet from the East Park Golf Gardens pro shop to a tiny basement store at 609 William Street in London. The move marked the beginning of making Bob Martin a household name within every Canadian golf community. A pioneer with a big heart, Martin worked closely with London homebuilder Roy James, a member of the East Park founding group, as the new leisure hot spot prepared for its 1963 opening. Chuck Brown’s Golf Shop in Ottawa was the first off-course golf retailer in Canada; Martin’s was second. In 1978, Martin left his post as East Park managing golf professional, and opened his off-course shop year-round. He operated Bob Martin’s Golf, and later Bob Martin’s Golf and Fashions, until he sold his business in 2002 – three years before Bob’s Range opened on Wonderland Road South. During his 55-year career (he was assistant golf pro at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club from 1957-60), Martin has never stopped reinventing himself, all the while supporting endless local charities. He has given away thousands of free golf clubs to junior golfers, and continues to work tirelessly as an ambassador for the game. Between running his William Street shop under his own name, Martin did business with the Nevada Bob’s franchises, was part-owner of Oakville SportDomes, and operated the Wally World golf range with the Spivak family from 1999-2003. Since the late-1990s, he has teamed up with senior long drive competitor Ron Lampman of St. Thomas, and today London golf instructor Derek Highly as part of golf exhibitions and clinics. Martin also supports junior golfers through summer camps and continued philanthropic efforts. Today, Martin and his wife, Kathy, are proudly supported by their daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Mike Stoner. Without a doubt, Bob’s grandson, Griffin, will always have a golf club in his hands, courtesy of his grandfather.

2017 Mike Silver

Silver retired in January 2017 after 39 years as director of golf at Highland Country Club in London. One of the most beloved members of the Southwestern Ontario golf industry, Silver now holds the title, Highland CC golf pro emeritus, and fills an ambassador role which includes assisting in the promotion and operations of the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada’s Freedom 55 Financial Championship at Highland. A native of Copper Cliff near Sudbury, Silver started golfing at age 5. He joined the Highland staff in 1977, and since then has not only mentored hundreds of others while also investing in junior golf, but also has run his Highland Cares For Kids Charity Classic golf tournament for 38 years. PGA of Ontario Golf Professional of the Year in 2000, Silver has been a PGA of Canada member since 1971. He was awarded Master Professional status in 1998, writing his thesis on, Maintaining Playing Ability, and Maintaining Playing Ability for Seniors. There have been endless highlights for Silver during his lengthy career, including playing with Arnold Palmer at the Labatt International in 1981. In 2016, he finally shot his age, posting a 66. Today, Silver lives in London with his wife, Margaret.

2018 Lindsey Edmunds

Lindsey Edmunds, 34, along with her father, former Western Mustangs women’s golf coach, Alan Edmunds, founded the Western University Mustangs women’s golf program in 2002. Without school funding, and with no Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s golf, Lindsey arrived at the idea of establishing a women’s division within OUA men’s golf tournaments. Today, a highly-successful Mustangs women’s team competes within a separate OUA women’s division, and competes nationally at Golf Canada-sanctioned tournaments. Upon graduation from Western in 2005, Edmunds joined golf’s professional ranks, but in 2008 she suffered serious injuries after being hit by a car at a crosswalk while she was jogging in London. She was treated for whiplash, dislocated ribs, a severely sprained left ankle and a contusion to her right knee which later saw a blood clot develop, requiring surgery. With dreams of playing on the LPGA Tour gone, she was unable to walk the course for four nearly four years. Her first time walking during a round was in 2012 at the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Grey Silo Golf Club in Waterloo, where she competed on a sponsor’s exemption. In 2010, Edmunds joined Nike Golf as Southwestern Ontario equipment and apparel sales and fitting representative. At the time, she was the only female equipment rep in Canada. With Nike’s golf focus solely on apparel today, Edmunds continues to represent the brand made famous by Tiger Woods. Clearly, is proud to name Lindsey Edmunds as the 2018 winner of the Heart Award. It’s amazing how much she has accomplished at such a young age – not only as a mentor, and as a trailblazer in establishing the Western Mustangs women’s golf program, but also in fighting back after devastating injuries. For those reasons, and because of her ground-breaking role with Nike Golf, we are thrilled to be honouring Lindsey with the 8th Annual London Ontario Golf Heart Award. And in sharing Lindsey’s story with a larger audience, she will continue to inspire others.

2019 Rene Muylaert

Golf course designer Rene Muylaert, a Strathroy native who died in 2005 at age 69, is honoured posthumously as the 9th winner of the London Ontario Golf Heart Award, and the first winner in the category, Golf Course Architects/Designers. In total, he designed almost 50 Ontario golf courses, and was enlisted to design additions and renovations at numerous other Ontario clubs. Rene’s twin Brother, Charlie, partnered with him for about two decades – Rene designed the course layouts, while Charlie managed day-to-day construction at Green Par Golf Construction. Charlie died in 2015 at age 79. The brothers grew up on a tobacco farm near Strathroy, and later fell in love with golf course design in the late-1950s. Rene specialized in creating golf courses on small acreage in Ontario, and often worked with owners who boasted small budgets. In addition, Rene was a much-in-demand designer of course additions and renovations. Yet as talented as he was, Rene Muylaert was perhaps the most unassuming Canadian golf course architect who ever lived. London and area courses amongst Muylaert’s impressive resume include: Bear Creek Golf and Country Club (Strathroy) redesign; Echo Valley Golf Club (London) restorations; Greenhills Golf Club (Lambeth); Highland Country Club (London) restorations; London Hunt and Country Club (London) bunker renovations; West Haven Golf and Country Club (London); City of London municipal golf system (more than 30 greens designed); and his pride and joy, The Oaks Golf Club (Delaware). Oaks superintendent Rick Perrault worked with Rene as he designed the 1993-opened Oaks course, a par-72 championship course built on the sandy banks and bluffs above the Thames River valley. Said Perrault, “Rene was a quiet gentleman in the golf architectural world, yet he left a huge footprint on golf courses across Southern Ontario. He approached each new project as an opportunity to design an enjoyable, playable golf course that fit into the existing landscape. His name may not be recognizable outside of Ontario, but his contributions to golf in our region is remarkable. For those of us whom were fortunate to work with Rene and understand his passion and love for golf course design, we were truly lucky.”