After 47 years in the golf profession, Swift Current’s John Gaudet finally feels that he has reached the pinnacle of his profession.
Gaudet, 79, recently became only the 24th person to achieve PGA of Canada Master Professional status.
Achieving Master Professional status is the highest designation a PGA of Canada Professional can ascend to.
“I am pretty proud of what we have done. It is the highest level you can get as PGA Professional. There are only 24 in Canada, there are about 4,000 pros. In the U.S. there are about 40,000 pros and there are about 333, so the ratio is pretty close to the same. I am pretty excited about it for sure,” explained Gaudet, who was the longtime Head Pro at Chinook Golf Course in Swift Current until 2010.
He only recently learned from PGA of Canada President Gregg Schubert that he had finally achieved his goal that was years in the making.
Only 24 Canadians have ever achieved Master Professional designation in Canada since it began in 1974. Gaudet is the first successful applicant since Henry Brunton in 2008.
“John has been teaching golf for many, many years,” explained Ken Koster, who took over from Gaudet at Chinook. “There are very few Master Professionals in Canada. He spent a lot of time working on his Masters Thesis and put a lot of effort and a lot of heart and soul into it because he really believes in the teaching and the playing part.
“To have someone like John in Swift Current and at Chinook Golf Course and to be able to say we have a Master Professional who is very good at what he does is definitely a big bonus for Chinook Golf Course and the city of Swift Current,” added Koster.
Part of the criteria was to write a thesis, a process that took Gaudet two-and-a-half years of research and writing to complete. His thesis, Golf after 50: Preparing for the Champions Tour, was recently published on the PGA of Canada website.
“When I started to do this I had no idea what, and I mean no idea, where to start, what to do, except contacting the PGA of Canada office to apply for it.”
Gaudet was quick to recognize the local guidance of Dr. Russ Siemens.
“We got together and he said he would be willing to help me. He totally showed me how to do the structure for a thesis, where to go, how to do this. I had to do the research and the writing but without him this would not have happened for sure.”
Gaudet spent over two years working to achieve the final steps of the Master Professional designation, including research, writing and trips to Florida and Quebec.
“I am pretty driven sometimes with everything I do. I wanted to reach the highest level I could in my profession. The only way to do that was to do this thesis to get the Master Professional,” said Gaudet.
There were some obstacles along the way, including when his first thesis submission was not accepted.
“There was times I wanted to quit. After I was turned down the first time I was going to pack it in but I said no we have gone this far lets keep going,” he explained.
He kept working towards a goal he first considered achieving over 20 years ago.
“It is just my personality and the way I am. I have to be as good as I can be in every aspect of my business. This is the pinnacle of what you do as a golf professional that’s for sure.”
Gaudet, who was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick and raised primarily in Moncton, is the first person from Atlantic Canada to achieve Master Professional status. His golf career has taken him to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Manitoba before settling in Saskatchewan.
Gaudet became a golf professional in 1965 at age 30 and came to Swift Current in the spring of 1993. He became the Head Pro at Chinook in 1996, where he spent 15 years before retiring in October of 2010. He still teaches lessons at Chinook though.
“In 45 years I never had a weekend off. Once I retired now I have weekends off if I want them. If I want to teach I teach, if I don’t want to I don’t have to. It is kind of neat in that respect, Saturdays and Sundays I can just do what I want to do.”
He has no plans for a full-time retirement just yet.
“I am going to teach as long as I can. As long as I can physically stay out there, as long as people want to take golf lessons from me… I have a lot of knowledge of what people want and what people do. It has been a lot of fun and it is still fun. So as long as it remains fun I will keep doing it.”