Now in the final few hours of his Canadian PGA presidency, Lindon Garron fully realizes there are jokes on the launch pad with his name on it for Wednesday evening’s President’s Dinner at the Delta Beausejour in Moncton.
However, Garron warns with good nature that it would be wise to remember that he holds the hammer with the final word at Wednesday’s proceedings. Garron getting the last word in is nothing new as executive director Gary Bernard pointed out here a week or so ago, an opinion that brings a chuckle from Garron.
“It’s bang on,” said Garron.
“I’m a pretty strong-willed person as Mr. Bernard alluded to a week or so ago. At the end of the day, there are certain beliefs that I have and I do push those, but if you’ve got a compelling argument that is contrary to mine, then I’m good with that,” he said.
“I’m not going to lay down. As the saying goes, if you can prove it to me, I’m good with it. I think one of the challenges you face when you’re leader of any group is that you have to bring, if you can, the best out in people who you work with or volunteer with, whatever the case may be,” said Garron.
“My approach to that is I push hard. When they push back, if they do, then that means they’re really strong in their belief and I think that’s important,” he added.
There was a time not so long ago in Canadian PGA history when there was a whole lot of arguing going on, but very little listening, which led to voids between regions and the national association.
If there is one noticeable difference between the association now compared to back then, it’s that relationships have apparently gotten better within the Canadian PGA and beyond with other organizations within the industry.
“It’s easy to sit and pass blame and I don’t think anybody should ever do that. We’ve had different challenges facing us. At the time, maybe people didn’t think that was important. Maybe, there were financial restraints,” said Garron.
Garron has faced a few challenges himself, one of which will be decided by a vote today at the association’s annual general meeting in Moncton before the President’s Dinner.
On the first attempt, the Professional Advancement, Career Enhancement (PACE) program was sent back to the drawing board for fine-tuning which the association has done, along with cross-country information sessions.
Garron and the board needed an open mind and a willingness to listen to members in order for PACE to advance to Wednesday’s vote that is expected to pass the program, if you listen to talk on the street.
“We worked long and hard on that program and I think it was extremely beneficial to everybody. I, quite frankly, think it was an excellent program when it was defeated. I also believe that it’s a much better program now,” said Garron, who says the whole process of PACE brought the association together.
“I think we expanded on the trust factor and I think our members saw that the national board is willing to listen to what is happening across the country and address that and not work in a vacuum, if you will. Certainly, it’s been a difficult challenge to get PACE through,” he added.
“I truly believe this is a tremendous opportunity for our membership and, in particular, people who are a little younger than I am,” said Garron, pointing out that PACE goes beyond education and into promotion of Canadian PGA members to potential employers.
“The Canadian PGA is a competency-based association and I think (PACE) will allow us to expand on what we already have, which is a good image, but I think this will allow us to be even better,” he said.
If and when PACE does pass, the emphasis shifts to outside the Canadian PGA to realms in which potential employers circulate. In phase two of PACE, relationships within the golf industry become even more important.
“We’re working in areas of employment and relationships are a big part of the last couple of years. I think we’ve developed some great relationships with our partners in (the National Allied Golf Association),” said Garron, who expects forward motion once his term ends.
“I think we stabilized the ship and we’re actually starting to move some initiatives forward, which is very encouraging. A lot of things are happening, whether it be education, teaching and coaching. We’re doing some branding, image enhancement of our association,” he said.
“Our focus is clearly on the members. I think that’s one thing we have to stress that all these things that are done by our association, if there is not going to be a result that’s positive for our members, we’re not going to do it.”