Alberta Pair Honoured By Golf Canada

By Gord Montgomery, Senior Writer, Inside Golf

Two Albertans, long known for their work in the golf industry at the amateur and professional levels, have been honoured by Golf Canada with Distinguished Service Awards, for their efforts to foster the growth of the game over the past number of years.

Dunc Mills, from Edmonton, was touted for his work with not only his well-known junior golf circuit, the McLennan Ross Junior Tour, which he will step back a bit in 2024 but also his longstanding toil for Alberta Golf in a variety of ways. Since 1991, Mills has had a hand in the structure of the provincial governing body for amateur golf and working on the association’s annual publication, Alberta Golfer, as both a contributor and an editor. As for the tour he launched in the 1990s, Mills has overseen, as the Executive Director, more than 600 tournaments throughout Alberta for young golfers.

Said Mills, in a joking manner, on his latest award: “To be honest with you, I didn’t know Golf Canada had a Distinguished Service Award. Two dollars and that award will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald’s!”

All joking aside, Mills noted that this latest honour caught him completely off-guard. He was notified via a telephone call from the president of Golf Canada in Toronto of his inclusion into this category of selected recipients.

“It is nice to have that recognition,” he said of this follow-up to being inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame in 2023. Asked which meant more to him, the provincial honour or the national one, he didn’t hesitate in responding.

“I would probably say the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame, certainly not to diminish the award for being recognized on a national stage. But when you know most people in the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame, I don’t mean the players …. But for me on the Alberta Golf side, to be mentioned in the same breath as people like Fuzzy Bergh and Jack Brooks, and people like that who I knew first-hand and the thousands of hours they put in, to be recognized in the same vein as them, means a lot to me.”

Mills wasn’t sure when he’d receive his award, noting it could be done at the LPGA event in Calgary or the National Junior Championship in Innisfail, AB, this coming summer.

As for Tiffany Gordon, the recognition she received comes from the professional end of the business and, like her Alberta counterpart, she was also surprised to receive this honour.

“One hundred percent. When I got the call, I was like ‘What?’ It’s very overwhelming.”

Over her 30-plus years in the golf industry as a head professional, she captured a plethora of awards. She was named the best Club Professional of the Year in Alberta and Professional of the Year for all of Canada. She’s also acted as the PGA of Alberta president and board member. She’s a past member of the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada and the Canadian Superintendent’s Association, has served on the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame selection committee, and is presently the Secretary and incoming VP of the PGA of Canada.

Given all that, this latest honour was a thrill, she said in closing. “For me, it’s way up there,” among all her other honours. “To be recognized by Golf Canada… I look at how the PGA of Canada and Golf Canada work so well together. A lot of other countries aren’t like that. I’m very proud of how we work with the amateur body, getting more people playing the game. It’s all the things we stand for, right? It’s just about two associations working so well together. Being recognized by Golf Canada …. I’m still overwhelmed by it, to be honest.”

Looking ahead, Gordon noted there’s nothing she thinks she’s overlooked doing in her career — at least to this point.

“I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about that,” she commented noting her latest stop in the golf world, Carnmoney Golf Club in Calgary is another new venture of sorts. “Here at Carnmoney, I’m lucky to do all the things I’ve wanted to do. I work with members. I teach. I support. I promote. I have a great staff and team that I love working with. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Gordon will receive her award officially in July when the LPGA tees off a tournament at the Earl Grey Golf Club in late July.

In a press release announcing this year’s honourees, it stated: “Golf Canada is proud to honour the long-time contributions of Duncan Mills, Tiffany Gordon, the late Denzil Palmer, and Kim Locke, as our 2024 Distinguished Service Award recipients,” said Golf Canada President David McCarthy. “The effort and collective dedication of this year’s honourees has been influential and impactful to the game in their communities, as well as the provincial and national level. We are proud to recognize and honour for the indelible mark they have had on golf in Canada.”

Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1993 to recognize individuals who have had an outstanding impact on Canadian golf nationally or within their community.