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Oct. 16, 2021 | Saturday
Local News
Obituary: John Hinchley, 81, coach, teacher, raconteur
John Hinchley, 81, died on Sept. 23. (Supplied)

When you play golf, you generally strike the ball from either the left or the right side.

When you’re putting, you usually follow suit. While a few righties putt left-handed, and vice versa, very few putt from both sides.

John Hinchley did. And he had one of the most reliable putting strokes around.

With his 1960s-era Acushnet Bullseye bronze flatstick, he sank many a putt from either side of the ball. Long, short and in between.

It’s unclear exactly why or how he came to putt both ways, though he once said, “It depends on the putt and how it breaks. Sometimes I’ll hit it left, sometimes right.”

John Davidson Hinchley died suddenly on Sept. 23 and with him the NOTL Golf Club lost one of the good ones.

A popular member of the club, who enjoyed a good political debate and still enjoyed reading several newspapers regularly, Hinchley, 81, and his wife Diane were regulars at the course for many years.

He is survived by Diane (nee Lowry), daughter Kathryn (Paul), son Jim (Joanne), grandchildren Jack, Tyler, Evan and Ryan, sister Elizabeth (Don) and brother Edward (Jan).

Hinchley was a high school teacher, sports coach, golfer, amateur gambler, wine drinker and storyteller. He grew up in Owen Sound, attended Western and McMaster universities, and had a long career as a high school teacher and hockey coach in Oshawa and Scarborough.

As a horse racing enthusiast, he spent many great years betting the ponies in Saratoga and every Saturday with his friends in St. Catharines.

He and Diane, who were married for 55 years, retired to Niagara-on-the-Lake. But NOTL was always close to their hearts.

They met while teaching high school in the early 1960s at the old Niagara District Secondary School and after several years in NOTL moved to Oshawa to raise a family.

Over the years, Hinchley actively participated in the NOTL Golf Club’s men’s and WOOFs leagues, and with Diane in the Friday night Couples league.

Ever competitive, “he was his own worst critic and in recent years frequently threatened to quit the game as his consistency and distance were not what they once were,” said his daughter Kathryn. “But his sharp short game and, most importantly, the camaraderie with his many golfing friends kept him coming back year after year.”

Over the years, he was a member at Owen Sound Golf & CC, Oshawa Golf & CC and the NOTL club. He played junior golf in Owen Sound and won five club championships there.

Rarely in life does a golfer experience the thrill of a hole-in-one. Hinchley had six. Though some say seven. That no doubt will be fodder for a few stories when friends and family celebrate his life with a reception at the NOTL Golf Club on Oct. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.