Having been a fixture at the Prince Rupert Golf Course for decades, president Iain Cullen is now looking to ensure that the course is sustainable well into the future.
Of course, that doesn’t stop him from going out to hit the links on the regular, with an impressive degree of success no less.
Cullen’s journey to his current role started in the birthplace of golf itself. Hailing from Airdrie, Scotland, Cullen’s family moved to Canada when he was just 11. The ocean liner RMS Carinthia was their transport, taking five days to travel from Scotland to Montreal in November of 1957.
Another five days in transit, this time by train, saw the family arrive in Prince Rupert. It proved to be an inauspicious start for the Cullen’s: just five days after arriving, Prince Rupert saw one of its worst disasters in history when part of Mt. Hays collapsed during a particularly terrible storm. Eight people were killed in the massive slide.
Cullen remembers the event vividly, and it contributed to a reluctance towards his new home for a good amount of time. As he entered high school and made friends however, a fondness for Prince Rupert began to foster.
His father a worker at an auto body shop, and his mother a bookkeeper, Cullen would eventually go into business with his father in a different venture: sporting goods. This is where much of town will recognize him, with Cullen operating out of Farwest Sports on 1st Ave. West since 1972. He retired from the role and closed the store three years ago.
As for golf, Cullen is an admitted latecomer to the sport. “I was in my thirties. I was out here playing once a week and all of a sudden I got the bug,” Cullen recalls. “I started playing lots, hitting balls at lunch, and practicing.”
|Cullen watches his shot head for the hole on the practice green. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
He was soon a regular at the course, and now some 40 years later is responsible for ensuring it has a strong future that will allow others to foster a love for the game as he did.
Cullen knew that to make sure this happen, it was time to give back to the course that had given him so much over the decades.
“We need many volunteers to step up. I’ve played golf for a number of years out of this club. It was time for me to step up, and I put my name forward,” Cullen explained on how he landed in the president’s role.
Cullen can point to many successes during his tenure so far. The course has been able to attract top talent in the form of golf pro Tyler Stene, and greens superintendent Peter Drake. There has also been an uptick in the number of charity golf events taking place, including the Firemen’s Scramble which just set a new record with more than $7,000 raised for the BC Burn Fund.
Cullen’s success is not just limited to the management side of things however. This year he managed to shoot his age, an accomplishment achieved by finishing the course in equal or less shots than the number of years you have been alive.
The feat is rare in the golfing world, as it requires longevity in the sport to be able and attempt it. For good measure, Cullen shot his age again earlier this month. (72, for anyone asking.)
|Cullen shot his age twice this year, a rare and impressive feat in the world of golf. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
As it was when he took his first swings, the relationships made on the course are what keep Cullen motivated to do his best work with the club.
“The camaraderie,” Cullen says when asked his favourite aspect of the sport. He’s always eager to either go out with a new partner, or old friends.
“Just going out and having a good time with them, it’s pretty special actually,” Cullen said of his many golf partners over the years.
“This course is made up of a bunch of characters.”
Cullen is confident that golf in Prince Rupert is on the right track, and that a successful headquarters for the sport will secure even further growth.
“This last year it’s come leaps and bounds,” Cullen said. “We’re pretty excited about where we’re at.”
Cullen expects to keep performing his role for the foreseeable future. With breaks, of course, while he attempts to add to his shooting his age tally.
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter