Little did Dan Martin know that when he heard about Kitimat’s famed golf course many years ago while studying at college that he would one day become the club’s head pro.
“I was studying at the University of Portland on a golf scholarship when I heard about the course, which was a nine-holer back then,” said Dan, who grew up in Vernon.
He didn’t give the course much thought after that until many years later when in December last year he came upon an advert on the PGA BC’s website calling for applications for the position of head pro.
Through the golfing fraternity, he had heard of Winston Michell’s reputation as a golf pro and his tournament, Vegas Baby.
“I decided I wanted to work with him, so I applied,” said Dan, who was working as assitant pro at Black Mountain Golf Course in Kelowna at the time.
“I had always been head pro in my previous positions and I wanted to be one again,” Dan added.
His various jobs have taken him from B.C. all the way to Korea, where he gained lots of teaching experience, which is one of the reasons Winston snapped him up – in fact, Dan has been tasked with developing junior golfer lesson program at the club.
“We want every kid in Kitimat to at least try playing golf once.”
He said the club is looking at introducing video lessons, a computer program that records golfers’ movements and allows them to see their mistakes on playback.
Another area for development on the cards is to look at developing golf programming that runs throughout the year, including indoor hitting areas and a TopGolf franchise.
TopGolf consists of hitting micro-chipped golf balls at giant dartboard-like targets on an outfield – the closer you get your ball to the centre or ‘bullseye’ and the further the distance, the more points earned.
Dan’s position will free Winston up to focus on growing revenue for the club and preparing for the influx of people when construction starts on the LNG Canada facility.
“Based on what happened during the Kitimat Modernization Project we are preparing ourselves, bringing in people that will help grow golf in Kitimat. We want to get ahead of the growth curve,” said Winston.
As executive pro, Winston will also be looking at introducing more adults to the game of golf.
In the meantime, before the season starts, Dan has already settled into Kitimat.
“I love the mountains and the outdoor life in Kitimat, especially the hiking,” said Dan.
The best thing about moving to Kitimat? Only three traffic lights, says Dan!