Bill Keating is the Head Golf Professional at the Camelot Golf & Country Club in the East end of the City of Ottawa in Cumberland, Ontario and he was gracious enough to sit for an interview with Flagstick.com while Camelot was hosting the recent Golf Canada’s Junior Girl’s Championship. It came on the heels of him teaming up with fellow pro Lee Curry to win the PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone Pro/Pro Championship.
FGM: I hear that your story is quite interesting from the time you left the Rock (Newfoundland) to come to the mainland?
BK: In 1989 our family moved here, but I hadn’t started golfing yet. I started golfing when I was 15 in 1995.
FGM: Where did you get your start in golf?
BK: I was a member at Poplar Grove (now Champions Nest) from 1995 through 1998. So, I played four seasons there. I haven’t been a member anywhere since.
FGM: What were your circumstances after 1998?
BK: My parents had moved to Saudi Arabia for business and I had to pay rent and I was a college student at Georgian College in the Professional Golf Management Program.
It was my goal to get involved in the golf industry, so I thought I would get a job at a golf course to help pay the bills. Camelot was my favourite one in the city. Obviously, it still is.
I started working here in 2000 as a dishwasher. I got a job in the dish pit so I could wash dishes and play a round of golf once in a while.
FGM: I understand that you progressed through different jobs and positions at Camelot?
BK: I progressed to the job of line cook, and I then moved into the golf department midway through the season where I worked as the starter / marshal. I then moved into the back shop, then the pro shop and then worked as an assistant pro, associate pro and then finally head pro.
FGM: Who did you work under at Camelot?
BK: I worked under Barry Laphen for 8 years and then Scott Mikkelsen for 4 and then I’ve been in this chair ever since 2013.
FGM: I understand that you and your staff are encouraged to play golf with the members?
BK: My staff and I are active in the golf programs here, especially on Ladies and Men’s nights.
We have registration forms for the Ladies League where they can sign up to play with the Club Professionals. We play three out of four Tuesdays every month. They have their own event once a month.
We also play every Wednesday with the men and we are allocated to a team in the Men’s League so while we’re out there we are counting our scores just like the membership and getting points for our team.
FGM: How hectic was your Twenty-fifth Anniversary Year at Camelot in 2016?
BK: It was hectic but it seems every year no matter what’s going on it’s just getting busier. Look at our calendar and the few free days we have this month on the playing schedule.
Hosting the Canadian Junior Championships like we are right now is a nice week for us, especially leading up to my wedding to my fiancée Emily Allen on Saturday.
FGM: How do you spend your time during the winter months?
BK: During the winter, I teach at the Ottawa Athletic Club as well as taking care of business here at Camelot.
Teaching golf is one of my passions, I love it. It’s unfortunate that I have less time these days to give lessons, but I still love to get out there for an hour or two occasionally during the golf season.
FGM: How have you enjoyed your time at Camelot?
BK: It’s been very enjoyable working at Camelot for the past seventeen and a half seasons. The membership here is great and we have a very relaxed, private club feel at Camelot. This is home for me.
It’s odd that I just got a summer job here to pay bills and eighteen years later I’m still here and now in the position as the head professional at Camelot. It was a dream job for me when I was growing up.
I thought this was the best place in the city. It’s been a fun ride and surreal knowing that I’ve made it here. I’ve been treated very well here at Camelot Golf & Country Club.