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For itinerant golf pro, it’s have driver, will travel

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Troy Shantz

A golf pro who travels the world teaching the game he loves has landed in Bright’s Grove.

Gordon Crossman has worked as an instructor in 20 different countries over the past half-century, as well as managing, consulting and even helping design golf courses.

“I’ve done everything in the business,” said Crossman, 76, who arrived in town last week to teach at Huron Oaks and Greenwood golf courses for the season.

The Canadian Professional Golf Association pro has played on the South American tour, and even worked on a cruise ship.

That’s meant living much of his professional life out of a suitcase. In his 20s, he quit a well-paid sales job to work as an assistant pro in Toronto for $90 a week and has never looked back, he said.

He took his first foreign teaching assignment at the age of 27 on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. He then worked his way throughout South America and the Caribbean, but often returning to Canada for gigs.

Crossman lived in Brazil for four years and considers it one of his favourite countries. A club in Rio even provided him with a house, a maid and a brand new wardrobe.

“The thing I tell any pros that work for me — if there’s anything that becomes available overseas, check it out. The perks that you get are really good.”

It’s the teaching that keeps him going, the process of seeing how his advice improves a player’s game. He described his hands-off approach to instruction as “simple, stupid,” hence the name of his company, The Natural Move golf academy.

“That’s the problem. People are thinking too many things, trying to accomplish too much when you can really only focus on one thought,” he said. “It’s not that difficult.”

At 76, Crossman said he has no intention of slowing down. He knows at least one pro that taught into his 90s.

“It’s something I can do as long as I want … rather than sitting at home waiting to die,” he said with a laugh.

“If someone calls and says, ‘Come to Timbuktu,’ I’ll be there if the price is right.”

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