PROFESSIONAL Mark Gibson recently joined an elite group of individuals when he was awarded life membership of the PGA of Australia.
Gibson’s name now sits comfortably alongside the likes of Norman von Nida, Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Charlie Earp, Paul King, Alex and Dave Mercer, Peter Senior, Graham Marsh, Rodger Davis, Ian Baker-Finch et al. The 63-year-old is a former (two-term) chairman of the PGA of Australia.
“Being awarded life member of the PGA of Australia is a great honour,” said Gibson, who runs Exceptional Golf at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.
“There are some incredible people that have contributed to the game on the playing and vocational side and to join them is an honour.
“On the vocational side you have Charlie Earp, Paul King, Bruce Green and Alex and Dave Mercer.
“They are people that have contributed greatly to the game of golf – both in knowledge and mentoring young people.”
PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman told Inside Golf Gibson was well-respected by the PGA and its membership.
“When people talk about Mark Gibson, whether it’s Charlie Earp or a young associate trainee, the common theme is his commitment and passion for the PGA and his drive to continue to learn and pass on his knowledge,” Kirkman said.
“Mark was chair of the PGA of Australia for six years and in that time he drove progression within the organisation.
“He has given 15-20 years working on voluntary committees from state, council and board.
“Mark is one that has given back (to the game) and is still doing it with training and assessment with the associate program and mentoring PGA professionals, especially in the field of coaching.”
To be awarded life membership of the PGA of Australia, the board must first approve the nomination. Then it goes to the membership to vote on and the nominee must receive at least 85 per cent of the vote.
In the PGA’s 110-year history only around 40 PGA members have been awarded life membership.
“When you think of the membership and the history of the PGA, it’s a great honour for the membership to vote him (Gibson) in as a life member,” Kirkman added.
Gibson, who did his traineeship under the guidance of Reg Want at Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club, qualified as a PGA professional in 1979.
He then went to work for Charlie Earp at Royal Queensland Golf Club.
“To have a ringside seat watching one of the great mentors and coaches was an incredible learning curve for me,” Gibbo, as he is affectionately known, said.
“I worked with Charlie for 18 months and then I got the club pro’s job at Gladstone Golf Club.
“I was the club’s first professional and stay for four-and-a-half years before going to Keperra Country Golf Club to work with Ian Triggs.
“Working with Triggsy (Ian Triggs) was also a great learning curve.”
Gibson then got the head pro’s job at Pines Rivers GC before moving to Caloundra GC for five-and-a-half years.
With a passion for teaching, Gibson moved to Royal Pines Resort in 1994 before switching to Lakelands GC where he remained for seven years.
In 2006, Gibson returned to Royal Pines Resort where he set up his successful coaching academy.
Gibson is a dual Australia Teaching Professional of the Year.