The Golf Journalists Association of Canada has had an extremely productive and successful season in 2021. Through a number of initiatives, we have raised our national profile across the industry on multiple fronts while making a number of internal strategic changes for the betterment of GJAC’s agenda as an organization.
Time to take a moment to provide you with a year-end-review of where we stand, what’s in prospect going into 2022 and how we plan to continue to elevate the organization.
Our membership numbers have never been higher. Currently, we are at a combined 150 REGULAR and ASSOCIATE members with more additions hopeful to join next season. Thanks to Scott MacLeod, GJAC’s VP of Membership for the work he’s put in this year to grow our ranks.
Same rings true with our fiscal situation. That affords us three things: A solid platform to engage in philanthropic efforts as an association, the opportunity to continue to advance the GJAC brand nationally and a level of financial security to maintain operations in case issues arise.
We remain blessed with tremendous corporate support. Appreciation to RBC, Shaw Communications, Mackenzie Financial, Golf Town, TaylorMade Golf Canada, Triple Bogey Brewing, Adidas Golf Canada, PING, Callaway Golf, Titleist, FootJoy, Donald Ross Sportswear, Towel Tag and Dormie Workshop for all they’ve done to support GJAC’s efforts in 2021.
The most important accomplishment we got across the finish line this season was made in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Led by past president David McPherson and his working group of treasurer, Grant Fraser, Adidas Canada’s, Lesley Hawkins and GJAC member Lisa Vlooswyk we now have a DE&I platform which will guide our path forward. We still have a long way to go. But our commitment to DE&I is clear in two of our four GJAC objectives:
- Encouraging members to celebrate equity, diversity and inclusiveness in golf in the stories they cover and;
- Encouraging and supporting equity, diversity and inclusiveness in the membership of the golf journalism industry
I can’t thank David, Grant, Lesley and Lisa enough for their time and to those who assisted them with advice and support.
We had excellent member participation with our annual media awards this year. Taking over administration was Curtis Gillespie, who did a masterful job in streamlining our awards on multiple fronts. That includes how we reveal the winners. Look for an early announcement in 2022 with respect to next year’s GJAC media awards.
We’re all quite proud of our virtual summits this season. Presented and sponsored by RBC, we took a deep dive into Canadian golf course architecture, the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the State of the Industry with a group of esteemed panellists and moderators. Thanks to Golf Canada for their technical assistance and to the working group of Mike Johnny, Terry Lenyk and Dan Pino for their vision and organizational efforts in putting these summits on.
Despite the continuing pandemic and less than stellar weather, our annual golf day at the Pulpit Club was a great time. The event culminated with GJAC past president and board advisor, Garry McKay, being named this year’s recipient of the Dick Grimm Award. Thanks to GM Rob Roxborough, Mackenzie Crawford and the entire Pulpit Club team for the hospitality.
GJAC remains committed to helping rising young Canadian touring professionals with our annual player bursaries sponsored by Golf Town and Mackenzie Financial. The 2021 vote for these will be out shortly, so please watch your Inbox. This will be Mackenzie Financial’s final year as sponsor of the female player award. I’d like to thank them for the many years of support, especially Court Elliott for his assistance on Mackenzie’s behalf. A search for a new sponsor has already begun.
Happy to report our annual journalism scholarships will return next year. Following a one year hiatus, two new sponsors – SCOREGolf and GJAC member Dan and his wife Laura Keogh - will take over in 2021. SCOREGolf editor Jason Logan will once again oversee these bursaries for journalism students at Canadian universities and colleges.
GJAC has grown its social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn thanks to the efforts of Brendan Stasiewich. If you’re not following along please do so. We continue to routinely use both platforms to communicate with the membership.
Our organization has had an alignment with the Golf Historical Society of Canada for a while and I’m pleased to report we have established closer relations between the two groups. Led by President Jeff Rogers, GHSC has become a more active and progressive organization with the advancement of Hickory Golf Days as the society’s most visible platform. Grant Fraser, Dave Cowx and I were able to join in on some hickory golf fun this year. We’re in the process of working with GHSC on a couple of GJAC specific events next season including some regional opportunities out west. Don’t forget: if you’re a member of GJAC, you’re automatically a member of GHSC. If you want to learn more go to www.ghsc.ca.
I’ll wrap up by acknowledging Scott MacLeod, Grant Fraser, Terry Lenyk, Brendan Stasiewich, Mike Johnny, Robert Thompson, Curtis Gillespie, David McPherson, Jeremy Kehler and Garry McKay. This year’s board of directors has put in a great deal of time and energy to forward our association’s mandate. It’s been a tremendous group to work with and I look forward to doing so again in 2022.
Happy holidays to you and yours and we look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.