Local pro golfer Weston Gillette will soon be soaking up the Arizona sunshine at the Head Professional Championship of Canada which runs Dec. 5-8.
Gillett, head golf professional at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club, is excited about the Phoenix event, which he has participated in several times in the past.
“It’s a really good time. It’s only guys who are head pros within Canada, so we are all like-minded and of a similar age,” he said, adding they typically take in a few hockey and basketball games as well. “It’s a fun time – we kind of make it a vacation as well.”
Gillette, who grew up in Lacombe, has been golfing since he was about 10.
Being raised in a smaller community rather than a sprawling urban center made getting to the course that much more convenient, he recalled, adding he spent hours honing his skills during those early years.
“I also didn’t live very far from here, so I could actually just bike over. I could also store my clubs here and just hit balls as much as I wanted to. I basically spent all of my summers as an adolescent up here.”
The challenge of always improving one’s own game was – and is – one of the most compelling attributes of the sport, he said.
“You’re not necessarily trying to play against someone else – you are always trying to beat your own personal score. As you get older, you also get stronger – so you improve quickly and you are able to see those improvements, too,” he said of his own experience. “It kind of gets you addicted. And the thing I also liked about it compared to other sports that I played was that it was very cut and dried. If you shot this score, that is what you shot. There are no other outside agencies affecting you – it’s all up to you.”
Next month’s trip will mark the fifth time he has headed to Phoenix for this particular tournament. He’s also played in tournaments abroad in such places as Hawaii and Bermuda, plus all over Canada and the U.S.
Gillette said he believes most folks have the potential to become good golfers – although starting out at a young age is a definite benefit.
“I think a lot of it just comes down to a lot of practice and hard work,” he said. “And as long as you have the fundamentals down, you can build on those.”
And even though he’s been golfing for nearly 25 years now, Gillette pointed out that he is always focused on improving. It’s also about attitude, he said.
“You have good days and bad days, but it’s still like an endless pursuit. You also have to realize that if you do have a bad day, it’s not the end of the world. No one is going to repossess your house,” he added with a laugh.
For those interested in giving golf a try, Gillette said the Lacombe Golf & Country Club provides a welcoming and friendly atmosphere – plus the whole ‘landscape’ of golfing has changed significantly over the years, he said.
For one thing, in the past some may have viewed golfing as a kind of exclusive, stuffy or even intimidating affair.
Today, you will likely find a comparatively more relaxed, casual feel on the greens.
“It’s a lot more welcoming than people might perceive it to be,” he said, adding that if anyone would like to chat more about exploring the world of golf, they are always welcome to give him a call. “I would encourage them to come out to the driving range and just get comfortable with the area,” he said.
Taking a few lessons will break down obstacles too – teaching new golfers is something that Gillette finds very enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s exciting to see them improve and even surprise themselves as their skill levels grow, he said.
“You see them getting better and better,” he said. “It’s pretty cool, and it takes you back to when you started.”
For Gillette, the sheer excitement of each new season hasn’t faded in the slightest with the passage of time. The camaraderie that comes with golfing is also a big plus – he’s made some great friends over the years who share his passion for the sport.
“I still get excited every single spring when the snow is melting – just to get back out there playing. Again, it’s like that endless pursuit of perfection – and it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s a game for life.”
Meanwhile, the Lacombe Golf & Country Club is offering early bird membership incentives including BOGO memberships which are now available for the 2023 season.
Check out www.golflacombe.com.