Nearly seven years ago, Herb Paterson had just been named as a new lifetime member of the PGA of Canada, but you would almost think it was him honouring the people who bestowed that title upon him.
“I think the role of the golf professional is increasing in importance because he has become the ambassador of the game,” said Paterson at the time.
“A good golf professional can spread the word and get more people to play golf. I think that’s very important. Although the economy is down, we have found in the past that sometimes, when unemployment goes up, the number of rounds played goes up,” he added.
You can read more about Paterson’s background and the PGA of Canada honour here.
Paterson died Tuesday evening in Vancouver at the age of 90. Along with him went the same character and care for the game that we remembered when Paterson’s good friend Dick Grimm died last year.
As much as he respected the pros, they felt the same way when they saw him coming. One of those pros was Max Oxford, who Paterson eventually hired to become Eastern Canadian sales manager for Jim Morrison Ltd., which distributed Titleist products, among others.
“He was like a dad for me. He was absolutely wonderful,” said Oxford, who worked there and for Acushnet from 1987-2006, including a post as national sales manager.
“His theory was hire good people and let them do their jobs. He was wonderful to work for as was his son David,” added Oxford, recalling how Paterson became a Titleist distributor for Hawaii, as well as other locations outside of Canada.
As a result, he had a house and warehouse in Hawaii and “his expression was, `Well, somebody’s got to go see these places,’” said Oxford, recalling Club FRED, which Paterson belonged to and whose name was an acronym for French, Red, Eloquent and Dry, which came from the club’s favourite beverage.
“We used to get together and have a golf day and a wine sampling party,” said Oxford, adding that Paterson’s idea was to call everybody in the dinner Fred in case any level of inebriation caused somebody to forget another person’s name.
Relationships are foundation of successful businesses and Paterson’s went beyond that. The relationships he forged are why people in the industry are remembering him so fondly today.