'I just kept collecting': Legends Golf Car Museum boasts 85 vintage rides
'The only golf car collection in the world of any substance'
Like many obsessions, Ron Lyons' began innocently enough.
"I started collecting to decorate the clubhouse when we first opened," Lyons says, co-owner of Legends Golf and Country Club near Sherwood Park, Alta.
"I learned more about the different implements of the game — the importance of them and the rarity — and I just kept collecting, collecting, collecting."
Over the years, Lyons has accumulated a remarkable number of golf cars.
"Five turned to 10; 10 turned to 20; 20 turned to 40," said Lyons whose collection now boasts 85 cars.
"This is the only golf car collection in the world of any substance, right, and it is a part of golf history, an important part," said Lyons, 65.
Golf cars, he said, transformed everything from course architecture, to pro shop sales and the bottom line.
By the way, "cars" is not a typo. Before the utilitarian carts of today, golfers rode in cars, works of art and innovation.
Some of Lyons' samples from the '40s, '50s and '60s look like spaceships, others like speed boats, while others still look more like miniature automobiles done up in brilliant colour.
"They jump and they've got style. Nobody makes them like they did in the old days," said Lyons, who has published a glossy book about his collection called Golf Car Classics.
For Lyons, the collection is a tribute to the game of golf.
"It gets back to legends, our theme. We're to preserve and promote the history of the game and honour its legends.
"It's been a 25-year work-in-progress. We're just trying to find new ways to grow the game."
Golfer Ernie Afaganis has been playing at the course for years.
Now 90 years old, the former CBC sportscaster calls the 27-hole course "one of the best of this kind in the country."
Afaganis said he marvels at the energy and commitment Lyons has for the sport and his collection.
"He has more energy than any 10 people," Afaganis says.
Lyons and his wife Christine golf at courses around the world, Ron always looking to add to his collection.
"You meet a lot of people — you collect things — but the people part of it is the great part of collecting. You meet people from all over the world, everybody with the same love you have of golf."
The Golf Car Museum is open most Sundays in the summer and for special events like tournament days and is free to tour.
To see more from the Legends Golf and Country Club you can catch Our Edmonton on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and 11 a.m. on Monday on CBC TV.