Jim McQuaid is taking a swing at enhancing golf on P.E.I. as president of the P.E.I. Golf Association (PEIGA).
McQuaid was introduced to the game 11 years ago at the Belvedere Golf Club in Charlottetown.
“I was late getting into the game. My family’s in-laws got me involved and they were very accommodating as they taught me the rules.”
He joined the board of directors at Belvedere, which put him in contact with the PEIGA. He became the association’s president earlier this year.
During his two year-term, McQuaid hopes to expand the sport on P.E.I.
“Obviously we’re trying to grow the game as best we can. I think we’re looking to work together with people in the golf industry to enhance the game,” he said.
“For a lot of years, when I joined the P.E.I. Golf Association, not a lot of people knew what we did. Back then it was mostly for co-ordinating the pro competitions. But we’ve evolved since then.”
The PEIGA included a school program for kids learning the game and solidified men and women’s leagues for amateurs and seniors. They are also starting a program for women looking to pick up clubs for the first time.
“We have 100 new ladies signed up right now. We’re hoping to get them more involved.”
McQuaid has the task of growing the game on the Island as it faces a slump.
“We’ve seen a decline in golf the past couple of years, but I think it’s starting to level out. We’re hoping to bring it back to what it once was.”
Cost and time are two issues deterring Islanders from hitting the fairways, but golf isn’t as costly as it seems, said McQuaid.
“It’s not as expensive as people think and it doesn’t have to take as long. People could just go out and play nine holes.”
McQuaid enjoys watching young kids learn the etiquette of the game for the first time.
“Hopefully they’ll pick it up. if they are introduced to the game and get out on the course that’s how golf will survive and it’s a positive influence for them.”
McQuaid has a passion for the game both on and off the course.
“It’s a wonderful time walking down the fairways on the course, enjoying the fresh air. It’s healthy for you too,” he said. “We have some great people who give their time to be part of P.E.I. Golf Association. The future is looking bright.”