Gary Bernard has spent just over a month in his new role as full-time Canadian PGA executive director and faces one of the more important events in his short time on the job when he attends the annual general meeting on March 24 in Moncton. GNN had a chat with Bernard recently to get his take on the important PACE vote that will come up at the AGM, but also other issues affecting the Canadian PGA.
Gary Bernard has served in several capacities during Lindon Garron’s two-year term as Canadian PGA president, which ends at the annual general meeting in Moncton later this month, so Bernard plans to get in a few good-natured verbal shots at Garron at the President’s Dinner.
However, his experience tells him that Garron will get the final word, which he quite often did during discussions and even arguments over his term as president.
“Personally, with me, he’s been a great supporter. At the same time, he can be extremely demanding. If you say you’re going to do something, then you should do it,” said Bernard.
“He’s also been forthright in his approach. He’s a straightforward person and, for me, I’ve always appreciated that. I love the fact that he’s that way,” he added.
“I know exactly where I stand with him and he and I have had some great battles, if you will, over philosophy and what we should do. We haven’t always agreed on things in PACE, or we haven’t always agreed on approaches to things.
“I think I’ve grown to respect him even more because of that fact because I know in his mind and in his heart, every time we had a discussion, he thought to himself, `Okay, how’s this going to affect the members from St. John’s, Nfld., to Victoria,” said Bernard.
That might suggest that Garron’s strong will makes him a close-minded person, but nothing could be further from the truth, according to Bernard.
“He’ll fight tooth and nail on an opinion, but boy, I’ll tell you if you make a good, persuasive argument, he’s open to persuasion too, but don’t come with any fluff and just expect him to change his mind on an issue,” he said.
Bernard believes that Garron has carried on in the tradition of those who went before him such as Al Scott and Warren Crosbie with his dedication and the time he put into the job. “They all did a great job and I think he’s just building on that,” said Bernard.
“I think all of the presidents, when you look at the amount of time they take away from their families and their positions to volunteer in that role for the association on behalf of the members, it’s an incredible amount of time,” he said.
“(Garron) has been involved at a zone board level or a national board level, probably over the last 20 years, so he brings a wealth of experience. He wants things to be better for the members in the field. He pushes that as much as he can,” said Bernard.
Having said that, the Canadian PGA could get several benefits directly from Garron’s term as president, one being the work he did on PACE, along with others.
“If PACE goes through, I’m sure he’ll have a huge amount of satisfaction,” said Bernard, adding that the Canadian PGA also has a solid standing globally through Garron’s work with the World Alliance of PGAs.
“Without that kind of relationship, the Canadian PGA doesn’t have the status it currently has with the World PGA Alliance,” said Bernard.
Garron, therefore, deserves the final word after being roasted in Moncton.
So, what’s your take on Lindon Garron’s term as Canadian PGA president, one that has seen PACE reworked and could conclude with it being passed by the membership, a stronger alliance with other golf associations within Canada and other PGAs around the world? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below or start a discussion in the GNN Forum.