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The PGA of Canada Remembers

PGA of Canada Life Member, Kenneth Matson passed away on March 14, 2017 at the age of 80. He is survived by his wife, Bernice; daughters Brenda, Diana and Rhonda; and his 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grand-children.

Born on December 13, 1936 in Toronto, Ontario, Ken began his love affair with golf as a teenager caddying at York Downs G&CC in Toronto. Bill Thompson, the Head Professional at the time, made a great impression on Ken. However, it wasn’t until he was almost 30 years old that Ken decided to take on golf as a career after spending his early working years at a variety of sales jobs.
In 1967 while at the Northwood CC, he became a Member of the PGA, all the while supplementing his income by teaching at the University of Toronto in the winter. In those years in the Toronto area, he was fortunate enough to play and discuss the game with some of the great players in Canadian golf history, including Moe Norman, Al Balding, Stan Leonard, and George Knudson.

In 1968, Ken made his way to Alberta when a spot opened up at the Broadmoor GC in Sherwood Park, along his wife Bernice and their daughters to begin a new chapter in his career. It was at Broadmoor that Ken flourished and where his joy for his profession was fully realized. Ken loved meeting people and getting to know them, sharing his stories and theirs. He simply loved being around the golf course. Nowhere was this more evident than at Broadmoor, where Ken would arrive at 8:00 every morning and often stay until 11:00 or midnight every night. Bernice would help him out in the shop, taking the early morning shift on weekends before going home to look after their three daughters. Eventually, all three of Ken’s children would end up working at the golf course over the course of their teenage years.

Ken was always involved with the junior program lessons and employing some of the kids in a variety of roles around the course. Among the juniors and young professionals that Ken helped mentor as they began their careers in the golf industry were; Gary Ward, Grant Cammidge, Chad and Tyler Rumpel, Bob Halvorsen, Peter Cushner, Garry Meyer, Henry Hemmes, Bruce Vermee, Ron MacLeod, Gregg Schubert, Jeff Sveen, David Adam, Wayne Hall, and Cyril Zupan. Ken was also active with the Board of Directors of the PGA of Alberta, serving in the early 1970’s with the likes of Frank Fowler, Bill Quilley, and Derek Gibson. Although Ken was more into teaching and club repair, he was a very capable player as well, with the highlight of his playing career being a high finish at the Tar Sands Open after three great rounds, an event where Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson, and Moe Norman were frequent competitors.

Ken resigned from Broadmoor after 21 seasons, and Ron Belbin was named as his successor. Ken spent much of his time thereafter in semi-retirement, but he remained in the industry, spending a couple of years owning a shop in Sherwood Park and making clubs before moving on to River Ridge in 1993. After River Ridge, he spent a year at Land-O-Lakes GC in Coaldale as General Manager. In 1999, another friend who owned Terrae Pines asked Ken to help out, and he did so for 6 seasons until 2004, the same year he was recognized as a Life Member of the PGA of Canada.

In recent years, Ken helped at Northern Bear GC as a starter two days a week during the summer where he continued to make his mark on many PGA of Alberta Members.

Ken will be greatly missed by the many individuals who had the great pleasure of meeting him.
A celebration of Ken’s life will be announced in his wife’s words, ‘to be held where the grass is green’.

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