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Pair for the course: Cape Breton twins turn golf into careers

SYDNEY, N.S. — Identical twins Eric and Adam Tobin don’t just share physical characteristics  — their careers are also incredibly similar.

The Cape Breton brothers are both PGA of Canada members who run golf courses in Nova Scotia and Ontario, respectively. Eric is general manager at Oakfield Golf and Country Club in Enfield, N.S., while Adam Tobin is director of golf at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ont. 

Shared passion

“It’s kind of unique — you don’t see a lot of twins that actually get into the same line of work. It was a thing when we were younger that gave us something to do together, so that’s kind of where the game started. And then to see it obviously evolve into something that we really enjoyed doing together but then found a way to make a livelihood out of it is kind of a neat story when you think about it,” said Eric, who credits their shared passion for golf to a Cape Breton Post essay contest he won in 2001.

The Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck was hosting the Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational and the 10-year-olds were more interested in seeing the Great One and fellow NHL legends Brett Hull and Joe Sakic. However, the beauty of the course and the chance to see future Masters champion Mike Weir play made them lifelong fans of the game.

“It was definitely more of an interest in hockey at the time,” said Eric. “My father was a diehard Leafs fan and hockey was always a big part of our younger years, so we were heading there to see the hockey players but then everything else kind of piqued our interest.”

Tobin twins Adam, left, and Eric pose for a photo at the Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck during the Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational. Eric won a Cape Breton Post contest to attend the event, and while they were mainly interested in seeing NHL legends Gretzky, Brett Hull and Joe Sakic, they soon became interested in the game of golf. Contributed
Tobin twins Adam, left, and Eric pose for a photo at the Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck during the Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational. Eric won a Cape Breton Post contest to attend the event, and while they were mainly interested in seeing NHL legends Gretzky, Brett Hull and Joe Sakic, they soon became interested in the game of golf. Contributed

 

Pitch-and-putt course

Adam said that not long afterwards, they went on a family vacation to the Dundee Resort and Golf Club. On an overcast day with not much else to do, they signed up for their first golf lesson. Soon they were spending most of their days at a local pitch-and-putt course in Howie Centre, honing their skills.

Then, Adam won a contest for a free junior membership at the Lingan Golf and Country Club where their interest turned to infatuation.

While attending college, the pair worked summers at the Algonquin Golf Course in St. Andrews, N.B., where Adam said many golfers did a double-take when they first met his brother then him.   

“I would be working in the pro shop and Eric would be out at the bag drop greeting people when they pulled up. Then I would meet them when they walked into the shop, so there was a lot of confusion there,” he said with a laugh.

While they still work in the same industry, the brothers eventually took slightly different paths, with Eric focusing on the business side while Adam directed his attention on golf services. 

Brotherly bond

However, their brotherly bond persists and they still talk every other day, often sharing advice 

When Eric was working at Bell Bay — where their golf journey began — the clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 2016 and Adam hosted a fundraising event at his club to help with the repairs. 

“We focused on different aspects of the business but we’re still in the same business so if I have questions that I need to bounce off him about more of the macro version of golf operations then I reach out to him, and if he has any questions about his tournament operations or any questions or concerns about pro shop operations I’m the first one that he calls,” said Adam.

Eric added that they have even included their members in the relationship, regardless of which course they are working at.

“My members are his members, we always say,” he said. “So if my member goes up to his club then there’s no charge and if his members come down to mine, it’s the same. So it just kind of creates more of a family environment, and that’s kind of cool because when his members come down, they see me and they see that familiar face, and even if it’s not Adam, I look like Adam kind of.”

Chris Connors is a reporter with the Cape Breton Post. 




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