While Nick Taylor was making history at the RBC Canadian Open, most of his family – like millions of other Canadians – was watching along on TV.
Former Ledgeview Golf Club president – and Taylor’s father-in-law – Phil Dodd was plunked on the couch of his daughter’s Abbotsford home as Andie Taylor (nee Dodd) was tending to newborn Harper Rae Taylor, who was born in early May.
Harper may have no memory of what her father accomplished that afternoon, but in due time it’s likely that his historic win will come up. Dodd said the momentum continued to build on that championship Sunday and both he and Andie felt just how special that moment was – even from the other side of the country.
“As much as you’re busy with a little one, you know that a tournament is going on and Nick just kept getting closer and closer,” he said. “I think around the 17th or 18th hole we were getting pretty excited and after he made that birdie on 18 there were some tears but then you’re just waiting around for the playoff to begin.”
That’s when friends and family arrived to the Taylor house to take it all in.
“A couple of other people came over to watch the playoffs and that’s when the calls and texts started coming in,” he said, laughing. “And all of a sudden, before you know it, the house was full and it’s a big celebration. It was a special day.”
Taylor got on Dodd’s radar from a young age and it was apparent that he had talent in golf very early on. Dodd said Taylor was a constant at Ledgeview and wanted to be around the game and that course whenever possible.
“When Nick was 11 or 12 years old, he was coming to Ledgeview more and more and moving a bit away from the other sports he played,” noting that Taylor also played hockey and baseball as a youngster. “Once you get that golf bug there’s not much you can do about it. He was at Ledgeview constantly. As soon as school was over in the summer, he would get up in the morning and be there all day long and get picked up at night.”
Dodd said Ledgeview had a few more restrictions on junior players when Taylor was coming up and they could not play until late afternoon. But that didn’t dissuade Taylor – he would go to the range, the putting green or practice chips. Dodd said he was always practising and coming up with creative ways to stay sharp.
He said Ledgeview helped challenge Taylor to continually try to get better.
“He was playing all day long and you have to get creative because of the way the course is,” Dodd said. “The lies, the quickness of the greens and the undulating fairways – it was just a matter of constantly trying new things, testing your skills and just doing that for years. I truly believe it was also finding the love of the game and pushing himself to be the best he could be.”
All those hours spent at Ledgeview transformed Taylor into an excellent junior golfer, and he had a lot of success at Yale Secondary. That strong play and talent led to him being recruited by several American college golf teams and then settling on signing with the University of Washington.
But before he made his journey to Washington he met his future wife Andie in Grade 12. Dodd said one day Taylor sort of just showed up at his house with Andie and then never left.
“It was typical of teenagers hanging out,” he said. “Just coming over and planting themselves on the couch and then hanging out as much as they could.”
The relationship developed from there and has blossomed into a family of four. Son Charlie was born in 2019. Dodd said that when Taylor is home, golf is not discussed. He said he’s proud of the way his son-in-law has matured over the years.
“Our approach was always just let them be normal teenagers, and he was getting golf talk from all sorts of different angles so we decided to just not discuss it much,” he said. “As far as their personalities, Nick was always a dedicated guy and that has continued. Whether it’s to golf or to his family, he is very dedicated and that’s what makes him a professional in every sense of the word. He’s always been like that, though.”
Dodd said that Abbotsford has been very fortunate to have such great people represent them through Ledgeview over the years. He said the talent that has come out of the course is incredible.
“I think we kind of take it for granted because if you were to look at any other course in the country you would be hard-pressed to find even one that went on to have the success that guys like Nick and Adam (Hadwin) have had,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal. I think this win will mean a lot for golf tourism in Abbotsford and people will want to play the course he grew up on.”
Dodd said he believes the win should also strengthen the local junior and high school programs. Dodd said the epic winning 72-foot putt and the moment in general is still unbelievable.
“(Nick is) thrilled and the whole Canadian golf community is thrilled and sometimes you just have to remind yourself how cool it was,” he said. “It was a huge Canadian sports moment and it’s just amazing that Nick made it happen.”
Dodd said a larger celebration is in the works later this summer, with hopefully Ledgeview and the City of Abbotsford involved in some way.
Taylor was not available for comment as he was competing at the US Open. He did not make the cut in that championship.