KENSINGTON, P.E.I. — Tim Yorke was nervous about how going under the knife would impact his love of golf.
“There was a lot of anxiety,” he said. “When you’re a competitive golfer and all of a sudden, you’re going through a major injury, (you wonder) am I going to be able to swing as fast? Am I going to be able to turn? ... Am I going to be able to walk the golf course?”
But the 53-year-old Kensington native said he had no cartilage left in his right hip. He suspected it wore down over time after years as a runner and growing up playing a lot of basketball.
The issue bothered him for the past couple of years, and he knew hip replacement was the answer.
“It got really bad last year,” he explained, “to the point that at the amateur I took the cart because walking wasn't going very well.”
He walked two practice rounds at the Canadian mid-amateur but wore down.
“At the 10th or the 11th hole, I was walking with a severe, severe limp and couldn’t swing into the right side,” he said. “Last year was a year of constant manipulation of trying to swing around the hip.”
In December, Yorke had hip replacement surgery done by Dr. Steve Miller in Charlottetown and later began physiotherapy with Sports Centre Physiotherapy’s Colin Moore.
“I was so lucky with Dr. Miller and the job he did and Colin Moore doing my physiotherapy,” Yorke said. “I did my routines, I did my workouts and I did my exercises.”
He started lightly swinging a golf club about 10 weeks after surgery. During his 12-week checkup, Yorke was given the greenlight to start building up the speed of his swing.
“Right from the get-go, swinging a golf club was never an issue,” Yorke said. “It never bothered me ... From all I’ve read and researched, actually the golf swing does it a lot of good.”
He first practised hitting a ball in a field to get a feel for it.
He returned to the course for Andersons Creek opening day on April 27 and picked up right where he left off. He shot rounds of 73 and 71 before a bogey-free 69 on his third round of the season.
A regular top-five finisher during the Prince Edward Island Golf Association tour, Yorke entered the first event of the season, last week at Avondale — and won.
The victory came under tough weather conditions after a beautiful Friday on the eve of the event.
“30 to -2 C, thank you,” Yorke joked. “It snowed on us four times out there, and we warmed up in freezing rain.”
He recorded rounds of 77 and 78 to finish with a two-round total of 11-over 155. Adam Gallant and Jason Campbell were three strokes off the lead.
Winning wasn’t a priority for Yorke heading into the weekend. It was more about getting back out with a supportive group of golfers and seeing how he held up with his new part.
“I went as a I felt ... I wasn't going to do anything stupid,” Yorke said.
His big goal for the season is to be ready for the Cooke Insurance P.E.I. Amateur Championship, July 6 to 8 at Green Gables Golf Club. The event is always special for Yorke and the rest of the field, but this year provides him a chance to make history.
“Nobody has ever three-peated the amateur championship,” he explained. “I had the chance in '98 to do it on my home course in Summerside — and I let it get away — and it’s always been something I wished I had the opportunity to do again.”
He is excited to be back on the course and is thankful for the great care he received while in hospital.
“Dr. Miller was fantastic,” Yoke said. “He’s really the reason that I’m playing golf.”
Results from the recent Avondale Open golf tournament.
Saturday Sunday Total
Tim Yorke 77 78 155
Adam Gallant 78 80 158
Jason Campbell 76 82 158
Curtis Martell 82 77 159
MacKenzie Clow 76 83 159
Steven Gamester 81 79 160
Jeff Hughes 83 78 161
Ben King 81 80 161
Nick Arsenault 77 85 162
Jeremy Brown 77 85 162
Cameron King 78 84 162
Ronnie Dennis 85 81 166
Scott Purdy 83 83 166
Tony Perry 83 88 171
Mark McKenna 87 91 178
Tony Burns 86 DNS –
Saturday Sunday Total
Ricky Knockwood 76 90 166
Sid Stead 86 83 169
Norm Platt 83 88 171
George Stewart 89 84 173
Jacob Richards 82 93 175
Liam Arsenault 80 97 177
Bobby Savidant 92 88 180
Leonard Doyle 95 87 182
Wade Yeo 95 87 182
Kennie Macwilliams 93 99 192
Bert Stevenson 112 DNS –