To Play in a Senior Tour Event
Raised in Norman Wells NWT Canada until I was 5 years old where it is very cold and there are no golf courses, my parents thankfully moved us south. I then spent the rest of my youth growing up on the west side of Kelowna BC.
My parents opened the Norwel Golf driving range when I was 13 years old; this is when I took up golf. Having a driving range at a young age helped me reach a sub 10 handicap relatively quickly. My primary influence learning the game came from my dad, and a Family friend, Gene Regan who ran the driving range. Working and hitting balls at the range was how I spent most of my summers. When not there I was golfing as a junior member at Shannon lake Golf Course, sometimes playing golf from morning until sunset, it was a pretty great youth.
For much of my 20’s and 30’s like many others my golf game took a bit of a back seat to other activities as it was an expensive sport. I still managed to play approximately 10-20 rounds a year; for the most part I played between a 5 and 8 handicap. The exception being when I was 22 years old and worked for a year at the golf club. During this time I managed to drop to a 2 handicap. Practice was not something I did very often, preferring to just play. That being said I still managed to win the odd men’s night and local event.
My career path was one of a wandering nature, starting in the mining industry, working up north for 6 years at the Ekati Diamond mine. I then moved on to a more family friendly entrepreneurial position, opening and operating a Blenz Coffee shop for 5 years until the time came to sell. My next career was in the Financial industry, more of a search for stability than a passion choice. That being said I moved into management once again and took my family on a 6 year adventure throughout the Kootenay region of BC, living in 3 very different communities, Grand Forks, Nakusp, and Fernie BC. During this time my passion and love of the game started to show once again. I used golf as a way to meet new people, market myself and relax; it is also very affordable in the Kootenays, allowing me to play more often.
While living in Grand Forks, I joined the Christina Lake Golf Club and started playing a couple of times a week, and participating in Men’s nights once again. This time was pivotal in my life long golf journey; Kevin Maffioli, the head pro at Christina Lake runs an amazing operation and I learned how much a great club pro can affect ones impression of the game. Christina Lake is still one of my favourite courses to go and play.
The move to Nakusp lead to another development in my game, the love of competition. Although Nakusp only has a small 9 hole municipal course, it was fun to play and I met some really great amateur golfers to compete with on a weekly basis. I started playing often, sometimes playing numerous times a week, even playing the occasional multi round day. These days usually involved a few beverages and some friendly betting with my friend Kyle and the other club members. Although my game didn’t improve much during this time I found myself loving the game even more. The career at the bank was missing something and I found myself dreaming and talking about golf as a career.
Fernie was the next stop for my family and I; moving up to a bigger branch and bigger challenge was the way I thought I could satiate the feeling of discontent with my current career. I quickly started golfing and getting to know people at the Fernie Golf Club, playing often and loving the game. My game started improving with the full length Championship course and I had my one and only hole in one to date on the 11th hole; it was a 165 yard 8 iron and I got to see it drop in the hole. Even though It happened on a Men’s night special, and ended up costing me a round of drinks for all the guys, it was worth it!
The Big Career Change
While in Fernie my discontent for my banking career didn’t diminish and I was having trouble maintaining my health with the high stress level associated with the position; my family was also very tired of moving every few years. This is when I made the big decision to start over in a new career path once again. My amazing wife Aubin and our 3 children Parker, Avery, and Weston were fully behind me in the decision to follow my passion and start planning a career in the golf Industry as a Golf Pro. I came up with a multi year plan and enrolled in the Business of Golf and Resort management program at McMaster online and started the process. I also started practicing a little bit and saw some further improvements in my game shooting in the 60’s for the first time. It was going to be a multi year plan to make the transition but you could say fate had a different time line for me. My stress levels at work reached an all time high and consequently my blood pressure was skyrocketing so I needed to make a change sooner than later.
I started to make some calls and research opportunities in both The Kootenays and the Okanagan. One of people I called was Mike Van Horne, the former assistant pro from Fernie and currently the Director of Golf at The Rise Golf Course in Vernon. He happened to need an Assistant pro for the next season; I applied for the position and was the successful candidate. I then registered for the spring PAT in Vancouver and played in on my first attempt; something I was very pleased with considering the horrid weather conditions on the first day. Much to my families delight we were moving once again back to the Okanagan.
I am happy to say that choosing a career that I am passionate about has been amazing. My health and well being has drastically improved, and working is now a joy, not something that just needs to be done. The first first year at the Rise flew by and I found myself with an opportunity to Join the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna where we ended up living.
I am currently the Assistant pro at The Okanagan Golf Club and working the winter Season at the Simplex Sportszone as a golf pro giving lessons. I played a number of tournaments this last season with mixed results, ranging from my worst round in years at the Assistants championships to finishing fifth in one of our local Interior tour events.
Having the ability to work with a TrackMan over the winter has been great and helped me make some changes to my own swing improving my consistency and removing some not so perfect moves that I have adopted over the years due mostly to mobility issues caused by sitting at a desk all day long.
This leads me to my newest plan; loving life and golf, I have decided to make my best attempt to do something I believe is a dream of most scratch or low handicap players approaching 50, To play in a Senior Tour event!
I realize this is not a challenge to be taken lightly and some might say not realistic, but I believe if you have a dream a detailed plan and determination to go with it, almost anything is possible!
I am currently turning 44 years old this year, so I have 6 years to improve my game to a level where I can compete with the worlds best, not an easy challenge by any means. Being 6’4” tall and having an athletic powerful swing should help with my journey to the tour.
This blog will be my way of documenting my progress and keeping myself accountable.
I hope you enjoy following my journey and learn some great insights into the game of golf and what it takes to be successful in golf.
Thank you to My wife and Family for all the support, and for joining me on this great adventure. Your love and understanding makes this amazing journey possible.