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Long-time local golf instructor calls it a career

'I always liked working with people, watching their development, and trying to get the best out of them. It was a real positive experience,' says Murray St. Onge

Murray St. Onge's teaching days are officially over.

The 69-year-old golfer, born and raised in Orillia, got his start teaching the game back in the mid 1980s when he started working with junior players at Shanty Bay Golf Club.

“I won a couple of club championships and my son and daughter were participating in the junior program, which I was asked to take over, and that’s how it all started,” St. Onge explained.

Once St. Onge started teaching local golfers, his passion for the game was elevated to a new level.

“I studied the game a lot, and I had a good understanding of the fundamentals of the game,” he said.

“The most important thing was knowing how to have fun and getting the best out of your students.”

St. Onge had success as a coach early in his career when he taught golf clinics at Georgian College in 1996 under the leadership of Warren Howes.

St. Onge went on to coach 14 players who earned an NCAA golf scholarship in just a two-year span. He coached over 60 junior golfers to NCAA golf scholarships in his teaching career, including his son and daughter, Mark and Julie.

St. Onge started teaching accomplished golfer Stephanie Sherlock at age 13. She went on to play on the LPGA Tour for four years and was a Canadian Women’s Amateur Champion who earned the top amateur ranking.

“That’s a real stand-out accomplishment for me, she was just a delight to work with,” he said.

In a written statement to OrilliaMatters, Sherlock says she was fortunate to have the opportunity to be coached by St. Onge.

“Not only is he a pleasure to work with, but he elevated my game to a level where I was able to compete with the best LPGA players in the world,” Sherlock said.

St. Onge also taught Drew Nesbitt, a professional player who shot a 59 on the European Golf Tour.

St. Onge has also been a recognizable face in the sports media landscape. He’s been featured In Golf Digest and SCOREGolf magazine and also worked with CTV Sports for eight years as a yardage and club selection analyst for the Canadian Open held at Glen Abbey Golf Club.

“That was kind of exciting for me to see the best players in the world; being a part of that was always special,” St. Onge said.

Since 2002, St. Onge has been the head teaching pro at Tangle Creek Golf in Thornton.

His passion for teaching is a natural fit for his personality.

“I always liked working with people, watching their development, and trying to get the best out of them. It was a real positive experience for me to be a part of that,” he said.

“For me it was about more than golf. As much as I liked seeing their golf game improve, I also really enjoyed seeing people mature and become really great people who moved on to bigger and better things in their golf and personal careers.”

Despite his love for teaching the game, St. Onge recently decided to retire for pandemic-related reasons.

“It’s just harder these days with the pandemic, and I’m at an age now where I put a lot of time and effort into my teaching career, so it’s nice that I can sit back and enjoy the things l like to do such as playing tennis and golf myself,” he said.

“Now I get to spend more time with my grandchildren who are interested in golf, so I’d like to be a part of seeing their enjoyment for the game, I’d like to play and hang out with them.”

St. Onge says the decision to retire from teaching was a difficult one.

“The thing I’ll miss more than anything are the people and the friendships that I’ve developed over the years in teaching,” he said.

“It’s just time to sit back now and enjoy life.” 


Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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