Toronto Golf Club’s very own General Manager and COO stops by on today’s blog to answer a few questions about his take on why he choose the golf industry, favourite golf course, favourite PGA players and more. I am honoured that my Uncle John took the time to be interviewed. He has defiantly left his mark in the Golf Industry and has had so many opportunities worldwide to grow the game of golf. I am so proud of him and look up to him immensely. My goal going forward is to somehow be included on his next golf trip…see final answer of interview.
What made you choose to be in the Golf Industry?
I was attracted to the golf industry initially due to my love for the great outdoors and affection for the game of golf. I grew-up playing as a Junior at Whispering Hills Golf Club in Hanover, Ontario but never thought I would carve-out a career in the golf industry. I’ve been very fortunate enough over the years to be afforded some incredible opportunities to work in the industry both in the golf course maintenance and club management areas. I choose to remain in the industry as it’s very enjoyable to spend time with people who really ‘want’ to be at their clubs. It’s gratifying to be able to help people enjoy all the benefits that the game has to offer. The industry itself has a terrific community of individuals and families who enjoy their trade. Who wouldn’t want their office in this environment?
What was your first job in the Golf Industry?
Working on the greens staff at Saugeen Golf Club in Port Elgin, Ontario during the summer of 1988. I worked 25 hours a day for my boss, Gary Gravett.....and survived. Spent my fair share of time on the end of a weed-eater then graduated onto cutting greens and night-time watering of the course. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it and decided to embark on a career in the industry.
What was your favourite class in College / University?
Turfgrass Management at the University of Guelph. Dr. Jack Eggens really caught my attention as he pontificated endlessly about the various types of turfgrasses on golf courses throughout North America. He was a dynamic professor who was passionate about the horticultural industry in Canada.
What was the best advice you were given for your golf game?
Leave the course in better condition than you found it. It’s not the responsibility of the golf course maintenance staff to repair your divots and rake the bunkers after you. It’s a game of honour and integrity and one must respect the environment in which the game is played.
What is your top 3 favourite golf course and why?
1. Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland – those who have been there know why it’s considered by many to be the best golf course in the world. I couldn’t wait to get to the next tee – an unforgettable links experience overlooking Dundrum Bay. If you go, you must stay at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa – very memorable. 2. Royal Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland – a true test of golf (two courses) in a spectacular setting on the coast. Designed by Harry Colt – say no more. 3. The Toronto Golf Club, a pure golf experience like no other in North America. 3rd oldest golf club in North America and recently renovated by Dr. Martin Hawtree from the United Kingdom. In my view, one of the best private golf clubs in the world.
What do you feel are the benefits of playing a Par 3 Executive Golf Course?
Excellent area to work on your short game, very fun to play and you don’t need the same time commitment as 18 holes. It’s perfect for after work or for a couple of hours on a weekend. Much more relaxed as well...it’s a great place to bring the ‘non-golfing’ type for an introduction to the game in a non-threatening environment.
Who is your favourite player on the PGA?
Mike Weir. Although he’s past his prime, the Master’s win was unforgettable for all Canadians.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Playing more golf!
Both your children play golf if you could give them and any other children a golf related tip what would it be?
Relax and have fun – it’s just a game and even the pros can’t get it right every day. It’s a game for life. You will see some of the most beautiful properties in the world if you enjoy the game of golf.
Where do you hope is your next golf related trip?
Trump International Golf Club, Aberdeen, Scotland. Designed by Dr. Martin Hawtree.