Greg White – A Love Of The Game
Marked by distinctive hair that matches his surname, Greg White is always willing to take the time to chat with fellow golfers. The Head Professional at Cedarhill Golf & Country Club is well known for his positive outlook at all times. “Whatever it takes to do the job” could be his mantra concerning his job and life in general.
Growing up as the 3rd of 7 children (6 boys and 1 girl) in a military family, Greg travelled across Canada at a young age. Stability finally hit home when his parents were stationed at Rockcliffe in the east end of his hometown, Ottawa, where he attended Sir Wilfrid Laurier HS for 5 years. At the tender age of 15, what was to be a harbinger of things to come was “Duffer” White taking the lead in gym class, teaching of all things – golf.
Although Greg was proficient in all sports, his favourite was table tennis and Greg says, “I won many snacks and lunches during recess and lunch hours with my table tennis prowess. I also had the quick hands for hockey, but as I wasn’t the greatest skater, I was usually a step behind.”
That was not to be the case for golf, a sport he came to know through his father. “My dad was my biggest influence in the game of golf. He was a late comer to the game and became a member at Chaudiere (Chateau Cartier) along with my brother Steve. With money in the family tight, we couldn’t afford any more memberships and I started caddying at a young age.” Greg says that he couldn’t wait to caddy for the “Chaud’s” esteemed Head Professional Stan Kolar. Kolar was an exceptional player who won many provincial open championships and White says he really learned the game while watching the pro play money games against all-comers.
Greg’s opportunity to play at the “Chaud” as a junior member came when his brother started throwing clubs and couldn’t control his temper. Their father was not amused by the behaviour. “My dad switched my brother’s membership over to me,” Greg says with a smile. As a committed member Greg would bike from Rockcliffe to the golf club on a daily basis in the summer months and it was play, play, play. It didn’t hurt that he was playing junior golf with the likes of Bill and Mike Brown, Greg Olson and Eric Kaufmanis, and watching Don Davidson practice on a regular basis. It boosted his skill set immensely to mingle with these provincial and national level players.
Greg’s first tournament win was the “B” Class championship at the Chaudiere at the age of 16. “I was always competing and had no fear,” he says. He developed a great short game as you can do when you’re playing regularly and played in some big money games with his partner Stan Brigham.
One of the highlights of his amateur career was at the age of 17 when he was the low Ottawa area golfer, finishing 20th in the Canadian Junior Championships. All too soon, Greg finished his last year of junior golf at Hylands Golf Club under the tutelage of Bud Malloy.
At the age of 18, right out of high school, Greg turned professional and began to learn the business of golf at, coincidentally, the same place he hangs his hat today, Cedarhill Golf & Country Club with Don Renaud. He would continue that education working at Carleton Golf & Yacht Club with Paul Going and Manderley-On-The-Green with Don Ferne.
Learning the business as a golf professional meant opening before sunrise and closing well after sunset, but Greg also found the time to take advantage of as many training seminars as possible that were offered by the CPGA -Ottawa Zone and he still believes that education is important. In fact, he says he is still learning in this computer age.
Greg tried his hand at a mini tour in Florida during his first Canadian winter as a golf professional and while that venture wasn’t a success it did prepare him to be a better golfer within the Ottawa Zone. His reputation as a “mudder” was given to him at Prescott Golf Club in his first professional tournament. He beat Roger Dagenais in a playoff for his first professional win in a pouring rain. Greg also wears his 1986 Zone Championship ring proudly. His final round in the championship at Outaouais Golf Club was a 66 and he beat the field by 2 strokes. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Greg was at or near the top of the points and low stroke average on the leader-board of the Mr. Gas Tour.
During this formative time in his career, Greg bonded with his fellow professionals and formed friendships which have lasted to this day. “It was fun getting together with the guys and playing for money. We had a lot of laughs”, said Greg of the experience. Greg also served his time on zone committees and believes that every professional should give back to the organization.
At the age of twenty-five Greg became the Head Professional at the Pembroke Golf Club and stayed there for 13 years. During that time, the club expanded from 9 to 18 holes and as the head professional he was in charge of all aspects of the golf operations. Two of his golf assistants were Dan Shields (current pro/manager) and Miles Saunders. Greg indicated that “It was tough to make a living but I did have a lot of time to practice.”
Time for a change prompted a return to Ottawa and Greg worked in 1993 giving lessons with Danielle Nadon and in 1994 worked with Christian Lavoie at Kingsway Park. For the next fourteen seasons, from 1995 to 2008, Greg worked at the Camelot Golf & Country Club with his buddy Barry Laphen and then received the opportunity to return home to Cedarhill Golf & Country Club where he had begun his career.
Ask anybody who knows Greg will tell you, he is pretty easy-going, talented in dealing with people and always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that his members are satisfied. It has garnered him many fans among golfers in the community and his industry peers.
Praise for a job well done is always nice and when it’s coming from your Club’s General Manager, it’s even sweeter. “Greg is one of the friendlier customer service professionals that I have met”, says Cedarhill General Manager Gord Walton. “He interacts well with the (club) members and speaks well with staff members. He’s passing along the proper way to conduct business to his staff and is the definition of leadership from the top.”
During the winter months of January and February, Greg tries to get away to Florida to relax, play a little golf and try his hand at fishing. There are also the teaching vacations in Cuba to look forward to if he want but always on his mind is his year-round job as Head Professional at Cedarhill Golf & Country Club. Just as he has with each and every one of his career positions he gives it his full attention.
Greg White’s love of the game has never dwindled and his commitment to the golf industry is a fine example for the next generation of golf professionals to follow.