Iconic PGA professional and longtime Prince Rupert golf club pro, Morley (Moe) Hays passed away on May 28 in Victoria at the age of 74.
“His shoes are pretty big shoes to fill, and none, who has golfed here in the last 40 years, will forget him,” Doug Kydd, past club president and club captain, told The Northern View.
”He was one of a kind. Everyone who knew him knew about his unbelievable ability to remember people and capture their names,” Kydd said. “He made them feel special by remembering them, even five years on.”
For more than 40 years, Hays served in the role as Rupert’s club pro before retiring in 2013. Expansion of the golf course from nine to 18 holes, as well as the construction of a modern club, were efforts of Hays instituted after his move to the city in the early 1970s.
“Moe was constantly at the golf club. He was a pro in every sense of the word. He was a golf pro 24/7, 365 days a year.
“It was very comforting to know that he was going to be there for any type of conversation. ‘Moe the Pro’ was definitely an apt name for him,” Kydd said.
Hays was named a regional recipient of the BC PGA’s Association’s Teacher of the Year Award in 1998 for the Kootenays and Northern B.C., and became the PGA of BC’s golf professional of the year in 2003.
An avid golf promoter, Hays expanded knowledge of the sport by travelling to Haida Gwaii, South East Alaska, and throughout the North Coast to put on clinics for those new to the game.
He was influential to many a young golfers, which resulted in a large number of Prince Rupert juniors heading to successful careers in golf. Among them was Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member and three-time LPGA Tour winner Lisa Walters, who went on to become a three-time PGA tour champion.
“Most of us kids playing there were basically pretty good kids at that point in our lives, turned out to be good adults and I really do think Moe’s influence played a part in that,” Walters said.
“He enabled us to do our own thing. It wasn’t a country club situation by any means, but it also couldn’t have been a better environment for where we lived and what we had. Moe was at that golf course every day; he wasn’t a five-days-a-week guy — he was always there.”
Other current PGA of BC professionals such as, Edd Boudreau (Gorge Vale Golf Club), Sandra Comadina (McCleery Golf Course), and Mark Strong (Sagebrush Golf Club), plus former PGA members Ryan Webber, Ian Pattullo, and Hays’ daughter, Jackie Touchet all benefited from his coaching and skill in the sport.
Moe’s love of golf came from his teenage years as a caddie at Penticton Golf & Country Club. In 1965 he joined the PGA of Canada tour as an apprentice professional under Bob Kidd until Hays moved to Prince Rupert in 1973.
Hays was awarded his 50-year Class “A” Professional status in 2020, long after his retirement, but would be seen in the community at the Prince Rupert Golf Course still sharing his know-how with young junior payers and teaching novice ladies classes.
He is survived by his wife Pam, daughter Jackie and son Bob, three grandchildren, with another granddaughter due to arrive soon.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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