Ken Wiebe goes tee to green with Derek Ingram, a two-time winner as CPGA teaching professional of the year and co-founder of the University of Manitoba golf program.
The Sun: What was it that drew you to golf?
DI: I liked the individualness of it, that you could practise on your own and if you hit a bad shot, you had to look in the mirror. I love the independence of it.
The Sun: Did you watch a lot of golf on TV as a youngster?
DI: I loved watching golf after I got into it. Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus were heroes. Watching them was awesome.
The Sun: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a pro golfer?
DI: I knew when I saw Nicklaus win the ’86 Masters that I wanted to play the game for a living. As a kid I dreamt of being a PGA Tour player. I wasn’t a great junior player, but I went to junior college for a year in Paris, Texas, just outside of Dallas. The school wasn’t very good but I got a lot better. I came back because the school was so easy, I thought I better get a university degree to have something to fall back on. I finished my degree at U of M. At that point, I thought I could be a pharmacist but I really wanted to try being a golf pro. I gave it a try as an assistant pro at Niakwa and I really enjoyed it.
The Sun: You played parts of two years (1998 and 1999) on the Canadian Tour. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
DI: Quite frankly, there’s a lot of things, if I knew then what I know now. I was a little inconsistent with my work ethic. I needed a coach, for sure. There’s no chance to make it without a coach. I was under-funded as well, generally using my own money. It’s almost impossible to do it that way. I got a lot better in those two years. I was coaching and teaching before that and I knew I wanted to do that. In fact, I was still coaching and teaching while I was playing. I really didn’t commit completely to playing and it’s probably because I just love helping people achieve their goals, as much as mine.
The Sun: What makes a good teacher?
DI: Probably the ability to listen is most important and you have to care, to the point where it keeps you up at night. You want to search the internet, read books and ask people questions to find out the answers because it just drives you crazy that you have to help somebody. People who are willing to try anything to help people get better and sometimes having the ability to be quiet and listen.
The Sun: I know that you don’t get to play as much, but has teaching helped make you a better player?
DI: There’s no question it’s helped my game. I’m probably a better player now than when I played (on the Canadian Tour). I’m more complete now than when I was playing for a living.
The Sun: Do you have an off-season?
DI: For me, it’s become a full-time job, coaching, teaching and travelling year-round.
The Sun: What other sports do you enjoy?
DI: I love all sports. I love baseball, I loved badminton growing up, basketball, curling. But I love hockey, it’s probably my favourite sport in the world.
The Sun: What do you love most about golf?
DI: The biggest thing for me is the feel and the sound of well-struck shots. I also love the beauty of being out on the course by yourself or with friends. I just love the game.
The Sun: Your work with Canada’s national program has taken you around the world, could you have envisioned that when you first started teaching and coaching?