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Landscape Architect/Golf Course Designer Steven Ward Passes Away
One of Picton, Ontario’s most-respected community members has passed away.
Steven Ward, 69, the long-time principal of GolfPlan Limited and formerly, GolfPlan Associates, died unexpectedly at his winter home in Florida.
After creating a company that planned and designed golf courses and resorts around the world (he once joked that he had worked on every continent except Antarctica), Ward turned his attention towards home in the last two decades. In that time his portfolio in the Eastern Ontario golf scene rose as he designed courses like Trillium Wood (Belleville, ON) and Timber Ridge (Brighton, ON), La Cite (Hawkesbury, ON) and helped re-shape and renovate designs like Renfrew GC, Canadian G&CC, Cedarhill G&CC, and Madawaska GC.
There was no place that he had more impact, professionally and personally, than his home club, Picton GC. He served there as an enthusiastic board member and also designed their nine-hole addition in the proudest of fashions. He continued to renovate the entire course and head their Greens Committee. Ward contributed a seasoned voice at the club where he enjoyed his time with his beloved wife Kathleen, and daughter Casey, who has gone on to her own career in the game as a PGA of Canada Professional.
Ever a humble soul, many in golf did not even know Steven’s incredible resume and impact on the golf world. To many he was the ever-present and proud caddy for Casey, at the amateur level, and eventually the pro level, culminating in the duo teaming up for Casey’s appearance in the 2019 CP Women’s Open.
Steven was not shy to provide support through charitable efforts in Prince Edward County. In 2014 the Ward family established the Jack and Ruby Lockyer Ward Fund in honour of Steven’s parents, in concert with the County Community Foundation. It strives to create a better community for all to live in, something Steven wholly believed in, undoubtedly influenced by his parents. They were very well-known and impactful in Picton, a tradition he continued.
For our team at Flagstick, Steven was a valuable resource, contributor, and a friend.
He never failed to return a call and gave his measured insight on a design or business question without hesitation. A number of years ago he wrote a feature on golf course design for us which he insisted he would do for the education of the reader rather than financial gain.
When on course projects, he always welcomed us to come and see the work in progress, even when it meant answering an endless array of distracting questions.
For myself, his firm handshake, reserved laugh, and probing industry questions were always a highlight when we crossed paths. I appreciated his perspectives, and always felt better informed after our time together. Over twenty years ago I began a true respect for the intricacies of golf architecture thanks to time spent with him trudging the snow-covered property that would become Timber Ridge GC. It was the start of a valued friendship. One that will be remembered fondly.
His loss will leave a hole in the community, and in the hearts of many.
We extend our sincere condolences to Kathy, Casey, and their many family members and friends.
We will share details of any public life celebrations should they become available.