To say Bruce Imrie never had an enormous influence or powerful impact on golf in this province would be a severe understatement. Bruce clearly demonstrated a genuine love of the game, and it was contagious for anyone around him. In fact, Bruce played a vital role in helping many individuals from this province to go after and pursue their own career in the game.
His influence made a lasting impression, and the results speak for themselves.
Bruce grew up just outside Montreal, Quebec and started his golf career at the Summerlea Golf and Country Club. From an early age Bruce showed a keen interest in the game and started to have some modest success. Having won a few golf tournaments Bruce was encouraged to further his interest in the game. He was simply enthralled with the prospect of making a living from the game. A few years later Bruce had obtained his CPGA Golf Professional designation.
Bruce packed up his young family and came to Newfoundland in the early seventies and took the head professional job at Blomidon Golf Club in CornerBrook. Before long he was offered the same job in 1975 at Bally Haly Golf Club in St. John’s. At that time both Bally Haly and Blomidon were the only official full 18-hole course layouts in Newfoundland. But that was about to change. Golf was ready to explode in the province and more courses were about to be built to accommodate the demand. Bruce was quick to recognize what was about to happen.
Bruce Imrie helped organize many Provincial and National Golf Tournaments including the 1979 and 1989 Canadian Ladies Amateur. He was also heavily involved in the 1986 National Crown Life pro-am and all the Bob Cole Classic Golf Tournaments that played out in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
But aside from helping organize these prestigious events Bruce is best known for his Junior Golf development and his direct impact on the lives of so many he touched. The Bally Haly Junior Golf program exploded under his direction in the early 80’s. Part of the reason the program thrived was the fact the club opened its doors to all juniors in the city regardless of whether your mother or father was a member.
Nearly every weekday morning at 9 am Bruce would round up all the Junior Golfers and start his golf instruction. Included in that instruction would be some informative exposure about golf etiquette and rules of the game which Bruce was very knowledgeable about. Before long the program was busting at nearly 175 sign ups each year and the club had a problem accommodating all the kids. In fact, within a few years the club had to shut down all outside junior memberships and concentrate on only the kids who had their parents as members.
Bruce also recognized the fact that if he was to grow the game, he needed to give those dedicated and hardworking juniors more time to play golf. Soon those dedicated juniors were labelled Elite Juniors and were given student passes with the ability to golf on the weekdays after 6 pm and the weekends after 3 pm. Before long Bally Haly had to introduce more memberships (intermediate) to accommodate all the graduating juniors transitioning up the ranks.
His infectious love of the game impacted so many young aspiring golfers in the province. Some of these individuals went on to win various golf tournaments while others simply made a career out of it.
Bruce’s only son followed in his fathers’ footsteps and left the province for Glen Abbey Golf course. Colin worked himself up the ranks and eventually received his CPGA designation. He is currently the Director of Golf Operations at the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto. It is there that Colin heads up a very generous staff at one of the most prestigious golf clubs in Canada. Others have included a young Jim Stick who himself had a good golf career in Newfoundland and later turned Pro.