There is plenty to takes place during the annual general meeting of Golf Canada, but outside of administrative topics, there is nothing more important that the recognition of the people who impact the sport. Without those who work for and volunteer for the association (and golf in general), it would not exist.
When the national governing body for golf convened visually on Thursday, March 3, a multitude of those people were recognized for their long and impactful service.
Three of them, who all happen to hail from Hamilton, Ontario, were announced as the recipients of the Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award. The grouping consists of long-time volunteers Ruth and Ian Giles and career golf journalist Garry MacKay, who also continues to volunteer his time in various aspects of the sport.
“Golf Canada is extremely proud to recognize two long-serving volunteers in Ruth and Ian Giles along with respected golf journalist Garry MacKay as the recipients of our 2022 Distinguished Service Award,” said Golf Canada President Liz Hoffman. “Their contributions have been incredibly impactful to golf in their community as well as at the provincial and national level. Each of their collective efforts has left a meaningful mark on the Canadian golf landscape and it is with great respect and admiration that we honour each of them for their passion and commitment to our sport.”
The presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to this year’s honourees will be celebrated in person during the week of the 108th playing of the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, July 19-22 at Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener, Ont.
Golf Canada 2022 Distinguished Service Award Honourees:
Ruth & Ian Giles (Volunteer)
The Giles’ pairing are long tenured golf volunteers who have shared their time and passion for the game with both Golf Ontario and Golf Canada, serving on numerous committees at the operational and executive level. Over the past four decades, the Hamilton residents have supported hundreds of local, provincial, national, international, and professional championships as duty roster volunteers in a rules or starting and scoring capacity. Ruth was previously honoured with the 2007 Golf Ontario Volunteer of the Year, the 2007 Bruce Mitchell Golf Canada Volunteer of the Year, and the Golf Ontario 2011 Dick Grimm Distinguished Volunteer of the Year. She also supported Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board middle school golf tournament over the years.
Ian served as the President of the Ontario Golf Association (OGA) in 2001 and in 2002 helped lead the association’s amalgamation with the Ontario Ladies Golf Association – today Golf Ontario. Before becoming President, he spent six years as a Golf Ontario Director chairing numerous committees including the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame committee in 2007 and 2008. A Level 3 rules official and past governor with Golf Canada (2003-2012), Ian has given his time to numerous Golf Canada volunteer committees including the Governors Council and has also served on a number Golf Ontario Volunteer committees. In 2014, Golf Ontario named Ian the recipient of the Dick Grimm Distinguished Service Award.
The Giles’ have been long-time contributors to the Hamilton Halton Junior Golf Tour—Ruth has served since 1999 in a variety of roles including past President (2002-03), secretary and a board member. Ian served as President from 1996-98 and has also contributed over the years as a board member and rules official. The selection of Ruth and Ian Giles marks the first time that a family duo has been selected for Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award.
Garry MacKay (Media)
A past President and founding director of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC), MacKay is a respected sports journalist who has covered golf for more than 43 years. He first reported on the RBC Canadian Open in 1968 for CKOC radio and is highly respected as the longtime golf reporter for the Hamilton Spectator where he has covered all aspects of the sport from local golf to the professional game. MacKay has also contributed to a multitude of Canadian and international publications during his tenure including Pro Shop, SCOREGolf, Ontario Golf and Golf Canada Magazine.
A decorated journalist across a number of sports, he has garnered a number of achievements including a SCOREGolf Award. MacKay has served on the selection committees for the World Golf Hall of Fame, PGA of Canada Hall of Fame, Ontario Golf Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and has also volunteered his time with the Stanley Thomson Society and Golf Canada’s Heritage Committee. MacKay is also a founding director, current board member, and treasurer of the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year Award as well as a founding director and current chair of the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a founding director of the Hamilton Halton Junior Golf Tour (1984), an organization he continues to serve on the board of directors and as a volunteer at the registration table, as a rules official, and at the scoreboard.
MacKay was recognized by Golf Ontario with the 2015 Lorne Rubenstein Media Award and in 2021 was honoured by his GJAC peers with the Dick Grimm Award.
Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1993 to recognize individuals who have had an outstanding impact on Canadian golf either nationally or within their community.
In addition to the 2022 Distinguished Service Award, Golf Canada will also celebrate Ken Casey of St. John’s, N.L. and David Atkinson, formerly Vancouver, B.C. and now Goderich, Ont. as co-recipients of the 2021 Bruce Mitchell Volunteer of the Year.
Another pair of distinguished Golf Canada volunteers – Barbara Allan of Kingston, Ont. and Jim Clark of Aurora, Ont.– will be named Honorary Life Governors for their long serving contributions to the organization.
Golf Canada’s Annual General Meeting culminated with Liz Hoffman of Wasaga Beach, Ont., a member of both Mad River Golf Club and The Thornhill Club sworn in to serve a second term as President of Golf Canada.