Golf has been a big hit in life

  • Joseph Lambert, practising his golf swing (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Joseph Lambert, practising his golf swing (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

  • Joseph Lambert as a young man working as a bellman at the Sonesta Beach Hotel (Photograph supplied)

    Joseph Lambert as a young man working as a bellman at the Sonesta Beach Hotel (Photograph supplied)

  • Joseph Lambert with a golf bag he won years ago in an amateur competition in Philadelphia (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Joseph Lambert with a golf bag he won years ago in an amateur competition in Philadelphia (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Joseph Lambert got his first job at 12, working as a caddie at Riddell’s Bay Golf Course.

He’d head there after school, eager to do his part to help out at home; his parents, Joseph and Edith, had seven children to support.

“I used to get about ten shillings for each bag I carried, and I usually carried two,” the 79-year-old recalled.

He taught himself to play the game by watching the golfers as he helped them.

The course opened to the caddies every Monday at 4pm. He would run “like heck” from Heron Bay Primary School to get in a couple of holes.

His passion only grew as he got older. He’s frequently played while on holiday in Canada, the United States and England.

“When you are out there on the golf course you are in another world,” Mr Lambert said. “You leave all your troubles behind. I like to walk the golf course just to see the beauty. I have seen some beautiful golf courses.”

One of his favourites is Cranberry Golf Course in Collingwood, Ontario. He also likes English courses with sand traps so deep you need a step ladder to retrieve your ball.

“Sometimes I’d hit a ball down there just so I could go down into them to see what was there,” he said.

Thirty years ago, he won his first set of new golf clubs and bag in an amateur tournament in Philadelphia.

“Before that I always played with old golf sticks people gave me,” he said. “When people see this bag coming off the plane they think it must belong to someone.

“Golf has been good to me. I sponsor a couple of guys such as Daniel Augustus. All he wants to play is golf. He went down to Florida and did pretty well.”

The 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia kept him busy last week. On Wednesday he watched from 5.30pm until midnight, before giving in to sleep. His hero, Tiger Woods, was in the tournament.

“I’ve never met him, but I have seen him play down in Florida,” he said.

His older brother, the late Edward Lambert, was a groundskeeper at several courses; the Lambert homestead was on Sunnyside Park Drive, a few minutes away from Riddell’s Bay.

From his back porch on Scenic Heights Drive, Mr Lambert can see his old home. Pointing at all the houses surrounding it, he marvels at how the landscape was once all farmland.

Like his own father, Joseph, Mr Lambert’s father was a stonecutter before becoming a boat pilot. His paternal grandmother, Nancy, helped start the Seventh-day Adventist church in November 1900 and was one of the first Adventists baptised here.

“They say that she was a woman with a lot of jewellery,” said Mr Lambert, a member of the Southampton congregation. “She sold it all to help set up the [church].”

In his late teens, he played the drums in the Bermuda Militia Artillery. He marched all over the island with the Christian Lads Brigade Band, performing with them in England and Canada.

Although he’d known his late wife Ursaline for years, he thinks it was the band that united them.

“We were in school together,” he said. “She lived at Sinky Bay in Southampton. When we were marching I used to see her, and the rest is history.”

The couple raised two daughters, Carmelita and Adelle. Mr Lambert worked in construction until he grew disenchanted with the long hours.

“I was coming home covered with mortar at night,” he said.

He got a job at the Southampton Post Office based on his knowledge of the parish. When he handed in his resignation, his boss questioned how he would live on a smaller salary.

“It didn’t pay a lot of money, at first,” Mr Lambert said. “I was getting between $200 and $300 a month. Later we were unionised and the money started to flow in.”

He started out riding a push bike with a metal basket on the front.

“It was good exercise, I enjoyed it,” Mr Lambert said. “I was fit back then; I played a lot of football and cricket.”

After a couple years he’d saved enough money to buy a Lambretta motorbike to cover his route — from Middle Road to Camp Hill.

“I’d come in around 10 or 11,” he said. “I’d get the mail sorted and delivered. Then I’d go to my other job. I worked as a night bellman at the Sonesta Beach Hotel for six years.”

In 1984, the Bermuda postal service started cutting staff. Then 44, he accepted a redundancy package and went back into construction.

“I did hustles,” he said. “I was learning how to build houses. I told the guy I was working for, ‘I’m retired, if I don’t want to come in tomorrow, don’t worry about it.’ He was fine with that.”

Now truly retired, he spends his time doing things around the house and walking.

“The roads are really crazy now though,” he said.

He loves to travel. Halifax is one of his favourite destinations, but he thinks his next trip will be to England to see a nephew.

Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Tuesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or with their full name, contact details and the reason you are suggesting them.

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Published Dec 17, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 17, 2019 at 7:32 am)

Golf has been a big hit in life

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