A haven in Heaven by Serge Savard

There is an even worse place on the planet to rest after a glorious career on the skating rinks. For years, Serge Savard lived winters in true paradise. Five to six times a week, the “Senator” strikes his ball at one of the most beautiful golf courses in the area.

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And at Hilton Head, a small ubiquitous island in South Carolina, golf courses, each more beautiful than the previous one, are nested along Route 278.

Newspaper He used his visit to Augusta to meet Mister Savard in his winter lair last Monday. What was a small detour of 215 km and two and a half hours of the road after traveling 1,800 km in 18 hours the previous week?

The 75-year-old businessman has found his own corner of peace. He enjoys a stunning view of the ocean, and enjoys life. Five times a week, he takes off on one of two adorable Colton River Club courses. The Pete Dye Experience and Nicklaus Experience are ranked among the 100 Most Beautiful Private Courses in the United States. Nothing less when one knows the wealth and reputation of the biggest club in Uncle Sam’s country. Moreover, famous architect Pete Day has put up a plaque in 2007 behind the tee in Hole 1 where he reveals: “It is the most beautiful course I have built.”

The view over the Atlantic Ocean and the sublime Coleton River. Senator since its founding in the early 1990s has been built on a former farmhouse.

“I came to Hilton Head since my early years as General Manager of the Canadians in 1983. I got to know the place by founding the American Hockey League at the time. After three years of lease, I bought an apartment on the island (Hilton Head). I sold it a few years later by buying land. Overlooking the sea and then building the house, he says quietly.

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“It was my son Serge Jr., a good golfer, who asked me to choose this club. Many acquaintances also advised me that it was chosen for its path and easy to navigate. I was hesitant about the Long Cove Course. Above all, I do not regret my choice.”

Over time, Mr. Savard became friends with many of the members. So much so, that he was required to tickle the little white ball, he joked with a broad smile. His friends got to know him mostly from his résumé Serge Savard: Canadian to the endWritten by Montreal journalist and author Philippe Cantine. Translated into English, he proudly distributed dozens of copies in Coleton River.

But more than anything, the ex-chief of rooms for 13 years loves the quality of his life that allows him to forget the harshness of winter in Quebec. “It’s definitely cooler than Florida here in January or February, but it’s a great place. The residents are good, it’s safe and there’s no traffic. That’s not the case in Florida,” he says.

Secluded with his wife in a corner of paradise, Mr. Savard has quietly sailed through the epidemic that has hit the United States hard. Now that he has been vaccinated, he hopes life will return to normal one day.

He and his wife plan to return to their home on the south shore of Montreal at the end of May, if the epidemiological situation is not catastrophic.

Why at the end of May?

Among the reasons mentioned: the start of the beautiful golf season in Quebec.

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The person who says he’s still active in the business world even if he retires is now a co-owner of the Mirage, in Terrebonne, since the fall.

This acquisition compares with that of Château Champlain by his Messier group, Savard et Associés, in the mid-1990s.

“I think we can do well with the Mirage. We’ve really tightened management. We expected the years to be more difficult at first due to restrictions on the organization of events, but we are sure it will be a good season for 2021,” the jubilant businessman explains Golf in Quebec.

He reiterated that the prestigious club would continue to be a 36-hole resort. There is no debate about changing the division in the heart of the agricultural region and transforming the area into a real estate area.

“I wouldn’t put my name on a similar project,” he says, to calm anxiety. From the start, we said it was not in our plans. “

One thing is for sure, that by moving from Hilton Head to the Mirage, only the landscape will change.

Impressed with myrrh, a little excited about Nicklaus

Where and when did you learn to play golf?

As a man from Abitepe, there was no real club when I was young. I started playing golf when I was playing for Canadian juniors in 1964. I showed up with Carol Vadnais at my local club and rented a bag. Then I stopped when my children were born. When they were old enough to play, I went back on the field with them. Since my retirement, golf has occupied my days. In Quebec, I was a member of the Richelieu Valley Club for 45 years. I will stay that way even though I am now among the owners of the Mirage.

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Could pandemic restrictions nullify the Mirage acquisition?

not at all. We have examined the file and performed due diligence. It was clear that with the situation, we were tightening management. We are 18 project contributors.

Which golfer has distinguished you in particular?

Without a doubt, Arnold Palmer. Its simplicity, ease of handling, and image aided the sport. He did a lot for golf. As for Jack Nicklaus, he didn’t impress me when I met him. It was during a promotional activity on Prince Edward Island when I was a missile co-owner of QMJHL. It was not very nice.

What are your fondest memories of gentlemen?

Jack Nicklaus triumphs in 1986. He won at the age of 46 with his son. It was a special moment. I’d also like to add the stunning shot of Phil Mickelson among the trees at the age of 13e Pit in 2010. His ball had stopped three feet from pennant to equal 5. Then he won. I was also happy with Mike Ware winning in 2003 because I’m left-handed. We felt disgusted at the time. In less than 10 years, two left-handed players have won four times. They helped us!

Are you still watching the Canadians matches on TV?

Yes, I am still watching the matches. But sometimes I go to bed before the end. You also need to know how to leave school. It must be said that the supporters haven’t really spoiled for a few years. I am a fan of hockey and soccer.

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