Scott Johnson – From The Bottom To The Top

Scott Johnson (Photo: Joe McLean)
Scott Johnson (Photo: Joe McLean)
Scott Johnson (Photo: Joe McLean)

Scott Johnson, Director of Golf Operations at the Kanata Golf & Country Club, has had a life filled with golf. It has shaped his world. We recently sat down with the PGA of Canada professional to discuss it all.

Where did you get your start in golf?

I used to spend my summers in Cornwall with my dad. I started hitting balls in my back yard when I was 6 or 7 and got a membership at the Cornwall Golf Club when I was 8. I was fortunate that my parents didn’t make me get a job and I was able to play a lot of golf right up until I graduated from high school when I was 18. When I went to University I quickly learned that I would need to find a job, so for a couple of years I had pretty much given up golf. I worked at Party World supplying equipment for parties, trade shows (2 summers & 2 winters)

I was on the golf team at Ottawa U but wasn’t playing a lot of golf. After a year or so of being on the golf team, Head Coach Paul Carson got me connected with Andre Lacasse at Eagle Creek and I worked out of the trailer booking tee times, checking people in,  flipping burgers, fitting shoes – I did a little of everything.

Did you have any major wins in your amateur career?

I received an exemption and won the Ottawa Citizen Amateur City Championship in 2001 at Eagle Creek as well as a few junior championships at Cornwall and a field day in Montreal. I never won the club championship at Cornwall because there were too many good players.

When did you turn pro?

Andre supported me at the fall, 2001 Canadian Tour School and that was when I turned professional. It was a good experience but I didn’t play very well. I made the first cut but missed the second. My game was good but it wasn’t good enough, not at that level. It made me realize to play tour golf you have to be at another level, and it just wasn’t for me.

What were your expectations in turning pro?

I guess my expectation was to do what I’m doing now. I always looked up to Hocan Olsson who was our professional at Cornwall.

What positions have you held in your professional career?

I worked in the shop at Eagle Creek for four years with Andre Lacasse, but there was no Class A to work under when I decided to apply for my PGA card so I needed to move on. I moved over to Kanata as an assistant with Phil Rankin, and stayed there for four years. Phil and I went out to Eagle Creek for 2007 & 2008 after ClubLink purchased the Club and I came  back to Kanata in 2009 and slowly worked my way up to my present position as Director of Operations.

Is there an upside to being at the same Club for so long?

The upside of my job is the friendships I have made with the members. I am very fortunate to have a great membership at the Club

What equipment are you using?

I’m Titleist all the way. The perception used to be that the equipment was made for the better players and that’s just not the case. We’ve sold equipment to all levels of our membership. From an operator’s perspective I don’t want to stock a lot of equipment. I can make a phone call and be confident that within two days my order will be here. For me it’s the service. I don’t think anyone’s better. I’ve built a relationship with my rep Gavin Corbeil as well as his bosses Mike Rowan and Ted Manning. Their message to me is “whatever you need, let us know” and they deliver.

Have you got a good team at Kanata?

They are a great team. I have Nicolas St. Jean in Food & Beverage, Brent Deighan as my Golf Operations Manager and Superintendent Jamie Knorr. Everyone is great to work with and everybody is very calm in what can be a very fast paced environment. We work well as a team and our job with ClubLink is to make golf an enjoyable experience for all of our members and their guests.

Where did the knowledge and wherewithal come from to move up the ladder?

I have been fortunate to work with some great people who have taught me well. The rest you learn as you go. I think it is the same with most people and their respective jobs.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

That’s a good question because I’ve thought about it that at some point I’ll move on from here. It’s a reality that you can get complacent and comfortable being in the same place for too long, and that wouldn’t be fair to me nor the membership of Kanata Golf Club. The nice thing about our company is there are always opportunities to move around. That being said, I’m not ready to go anywhere just yet!

What have been the high points in life or your career?

I have two high points. The first was my first professional win with my dad caddying for me in 2006 at the Cornwall Open and the second was being named the Head Pro of the Year in the Ottawa Zone in 2014.

What do you enjoy when you’re not on the job?

I enjoy traveling and I love playing hockey, especially with our group of professionals and I recently got back to playing tennis.

Do you have any role models in life or golf?

My dad got me started and gave me my foundation in golf and Hocan Olsson is a mentor and really like a second dad to me. Whenever I have any questions or need advice, Hocan is definitely my go to guy. Away from golf my mom is someone I really look up to.  She is the most selfless person I know and just has a really good heart, it’s something I look up to and try to improve on every day.