PGA of Canada president Gregg Schubert is going through a transitional phase, not only because his two-year term as president ends April 25.
At the end of January, Schubert will have reached 10 years at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club near Calgary before leaving to become head professional at Bearspaw Country Club in Calgary.
“The members here are the best that I know,” said Schubert, who also served as an assistant professional at Cottonwood in 1995-96.
“My kids grew up here. My daughter is eight, so this is the only place that she’s ever known and hung out and come to hit balls. My son is 12, so he was only two when we got here, so our family has really grown up here and the members have been so supportive,” he said.
The same holds true for Cottonwood’s leadership, including owner Lyle Edwards and general manager Tiffany Gordon, who also writes a regular GNN blog. According to Schubert, their support extends beyond Cottonwood to his work with the PGA of Canada.
“Lyle and Tiff allowed me to do what I’ve done the last six years on the national board and then moving on to the executive committee, vice president and president,” said Schubert.
“Their support has allowed me to expand my horizons nationally and internationally and bring some different perspectives to the golf club and some different ideas from the people I’ve met around the world in my PGA dealings,” he said.
“That wouldn’t have happened without their support and their ability to say yes, go do this because we support you in doing this. I can never repay Lyle and Tiff or the Edwards family for that because it’s been an experience for myself and my wife (Nicole) that’s been unbelievable,” said Schubert.
That support of Schubert in his PGA of Canada duties was never more evident than after the flood that devastated Cottonwood and Southern Alberta last June.
A massive clean-up was ahead at Cottonwood and Schubert had reservations about attending the PGA of Canada Championship at Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont., but was encouraged to go anyway. Tiff mentioned that in this blog from last June.
What he saw when he got back from was unbelievable.
“Everybody came together,” said Schubert.
“On certain days, we had 100 people out there shoveling and raking and scraping mud and then, the members got in on it,” he said.
“We’d have 35 degree Celsius days and there would be 50-60 members out there for three to four hours a day, raking and helping and doing whatever they could and for those who couldn’t rake or shovel, they were baking or bringing down bottles of water or Gatorade,” he added.
“It is a family down here. There’s absolutely no question, it’s hard to leave that, but there’s huge opportunities and that’s really what I’m looking at right now,” said Schubert, who served as an associate professional with the venerable Wib Lamb at Bearspaw from 1999-2001.
Schubert says that it’s a testament to the culture of Bearspaw that they’re going to keep Lamb, who has been at the club for 32 years, around to help ease his transition into the club.
“Wib is still going to be around. I consider Wib one of my mentors. He really helped me get to where I am and he’s still going to be around,” he said.
“I think it’s really unique and refreshing that Bearspaw has taken that tack and they’re honouring Wib in that regard,” said Schubert, adding that he looks forward to working with general manager Blair Felesky, as well.
“We really share a lot of the same ideas and common goals from the couple of meetings that we’ve had. It’s very comforting moving to that because I know that Tiff and I had the same sort of philosophy. It just makes the transition that much easier,” he said.
After making the move to Bearspaw, Schubert will have another big change in a few months when his term as PGA of Canada comes to an end.
“I hope that when I’m done, I can look back and say I’ve helped to lead the PGA to a slightly better position that it was a couple of years ago. If I’ve done that, I’ve accomplished my goal,” said Schubert.
If anything, he believes the PGA of Canada has elevated its credibility among other national and international associations.
“We have a voice in golf. Gary (Bernard), as our CEO, has really helped to push us to that forefront. We’re at the table with the USGA and the R&A now and the PGA Tour and PGA of America,” he said.
“We are having a chance to be part of the conversations and I think that that is very unique. It allows us to plan and guide the association for future years,” added Schubert.
“When you know the inside and know what’s happening and understand, I think that’s really unique and I think our members should be quite impressed with, should be happy with the focus,” he said.
“You’re never going to please 3,700 members at the same time, but I think that we’ve done what we can in the best interest of 3,700 members, not one zone or one particular group,” he said.