I grew up playing baseball from the age of 8, and began to dabble with golf at the age of 17. I started working in the food and beverage industry at various golf clubs. This gave me the opportunity to experience the true golf atmosphere which in turn hooked me on the game. It was then that I decided to pursue a career as a Golf Professional. I worked at many prestigious golf clubs in Calgary including, The Elks Club, Bears Paw, and Country Hills (Pro Shop Manager). I turned Professional in 1995 and began my professional career at McKenzie Meadows Country Club. In 1997 Roy Abbenbroek (fellow CPGA Professional now at Seymour G&CC) and I moved to Burnaby, taking over the golf shop at Riverway Golf Course. In 2001 I joined the Professional team at Seymour Golf & Country Club.
Each year the CPGA presents awards of merit to members of the association for various accomplishments. A personal goal of mine as a buyer and merchandiser was to have our club acknowledged in this category. In 2005 my colleagues and I were recognized by both the PGA of BC and the PGA of Canada as the Golf Shop of the Year for both the Province of BC and in Canada. In 2009 we again received the honor of winning the Provincial award for Golf Shop of the Year.
I owe credit to the 3 Head Professionals that I have had the honor of working with throughout my career, all whom have helped shape my future.
I started my career with Scott Orban at McKenzie Meadows Country Club in Calgary. Scott encouraged me to never stop learning about the game of golf and started me on the right path in my teaching career. In 1997 Roy Abbenbroek and I came to Vancouver to run Riverway Golf Course. Starting a new business was an exciting and rewarding experience. During this time Roy demonstrated what a true Golf Professional is and stands for, making me a better person and Professional. Since 2001 I have had the honor of working under the guidance of Dale Schienbein who has given me the greatest opportunity to learn all the intricacies of running a golf business. With his encouragement and leadership both personally (especially my golf game) and professionally, he has inspired me to strive to be the best I can be.
Golf swings are like snowflakes… No two are alike!! I believe every golfer has a unique set of qualities that influence how they should best swing the club. Strength, flexibility, practice time, etc… are all variables that must be considered when developing one’s golf swing. Each individual has their strengths and it is important that their golf swing is built around those attributes.
Knowledge is always a good thing and I feel it is very important that my students understand why they are being asked to make changes to their swings.
Set up fundamentals are the real “secret” to this game. While they may seem boring, they are critical in the development of a consistent golf swing. The importance of a correct grip is but one of the fundamentals that every golfer would be wise to spend time reviewing. It is after all, your first and only contact with the golf club!!
Most common areas for an amateur to improve
Practice, practice and more practice. Most people don’t practice because they don’t know what to work on. It is my experience that practicing any aspect of your game will be not only enjoyable but also will pay dividends in your score (perhaps not right away, but they will). However make sure you are practicing what you are told by a qualified CPGA Professional. There are too many well meaning, yet unqualified, people out there that love to give advice!! Just smile and say: thanks, but I am working with my own Golf Professional.
Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable golf moments were my qualifying rounds for the Canadian PGA Apprenticeship program. There was only one opportunity annually to prove your playing ability. If you happened to have a bad day you “lost” your opportunity to become a Golf Professional for an entire year. Talk about pressure! I had the best caddie for these rounds in Roy, as he probably knew my game better than I did. I didn’t like to keep or even think about my score during these rounds. I knew that I was very close to the number, one way or the other, on the last hole. When I drained the last putt all I remember was watching Roy throw the towel up in the air with a huge smile on his face and racing over to congratulate me. What a great feeling. I did it!
Dog Agility & Training, Baseball, Running, Paddle Boarding, Pickle Ball and Biking. I also enjoy watching Football and Hockey.
Nancy Lopez – As talented and as classy a person you could ever hope to meet.