By Dave Mills
(UXBRIDGE, ON) – Following an extensive search process, the Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) has found its new Executive Director (ED). Steve Carroll, former ED of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association and most recently, ED of the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA), has been approved by the GAO Board of Directors and will start his new duties on January 2nd, 2014.
"To say I’m thrilled doesn’t come close to how excited I am," said Carroll. "I’ve had an amazing three years with Ontario Volleyball, and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved there. But to take on the GAO, and follow in the giant footsteps of Dave Mills, is just a huge honour and a wonderful challenge."
Steve Carroll’s appointment culminates a four-month search project that elicited an "overwhelming" response from possible candidates, according to GAO President Jim King.
"The quality of applicants was, frankly, astounding and very gratifying," King said. "We had candidates from all parts of Canada and outside our borders. It certainly made the selection process very challenging, and I can’t adequately express the Board’s gratitude to the search committee.
"But we’re unanimous in believing that we chose the ideal candidate…one with an unparalleled record of experience, knowledge, skills and reputation in the Ontario sports community."
A graduate of the University of Calgary, Steve Carroll also holds a Masters in Sports Administration from the University of Ottawa and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE). In addition to serving as ED of the CPGA (now PGA of Canada) and the OVA, he held the same position with the British Columbia PGA and worked earlier in his career with Golf Canada (formerly the Royal Canadian Golf Association). He is also deeply involved as a volunteer with the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
"I guess you can say I’m ‘steeped’ in golf," he said. "I’m even married to a PGA of Canada golf professional and coach, and our two sons enjoy the game. But I’m also committed to the business side of sports management, and I find the challenges and opportunities inherent in sports associations very energizing – and rewarding, when you can achieve progress and make a difference."
The game of golf has always been one of Ontario’s leading participatory sports. As the organization primarily responsible for the growth and prosperity of golf in Ontario, the GAO has an obligation, in Carroll’s view, to explore alignment opportunities for the betterment of the game and its membership. He sees the need to engage and build a sustainable, productive and synergistic working relationship among the GAO, Golf Canada and other golf organizations and businesses within the province, and across the country.
"Throughout my career as a provincial and national sport organization director," said Carroll, "I’ve made it a priority to collaborate and cooperate with partner organizations and stakeholders in an effort to collectively grow the sport. I’ll bring the same energy, commitment and determination to my new role with the GAO."
For its part, the GAO is optimistic that the recent challenges facing the ever changing golf industry in Ontario can be addressed in a proactive and effective manner by working as partners with the other industry associations.
"We certainly understand there are no quick fixes and that all players in the golf industry must work together for the long term growth of the game," said King. "Over the last five years, our organization has done a terrific job in growing its programs and maintaining member commitment, and we are confident that this will continue in the future."
"Hopefully with an energetic new Executive Director — who met or exceeded all the criteria we set out at the beginning of our search — along with an improving economy, we’ll be able to focus on growth and development of the game… from the Ottawa Valley, west to Windsor, north to Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario."