Ian Hepburn: from golf administrator to business owner
Ian Hepburn: from golf administrator to business owner

REMEMBER Ian Hepburn? Most probably will as he spent close to 20 years working in management positions at club level and with golf’s governing bodies – Golf Queensland and the PGA (Queensland).

Between 1989-’95, Ian was the trainee and then assistant manager at Pacific Golf Club in Brisbane before joining the Queensland Golf Union (Golf Queensland) where he spent 10 years.

He was Golf Queensland’s golf operations manager before leaving to take up the executive officer’s role at the PGA (Qld) where he spent two-and-a-half years.

Anyway, I have been inundated with calls (okay a few) asking Ian’s whereabouts.

Can it be five years since the former golf administrator said goodbye to the golf industry and hello to life as a business operator on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast?

“In August 2009, my wife (Nicole) and I came up on a day trip and on the way said, ‘we have got to make the move’,” he explained.

“I have always loved the Sunshine Coast and jobs in the golf industry were limited so we started looking for a business and found Bar Connections at the Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore. (Bar Connections is a retail store specialising in licensed merchandise, home bar supplies and birthday and other unique giftware. The Hepburns also have an online business – www.StuffBlokesWant.com.au).

“Our first day of business was November 3, 2009 – Melbourne Cup day.

“I didn’t have a day off for seven weeks (52 days) until Christmas day.”

He didn’t even have time to reflect on whether he had made the right decision to walk away from an industry he is passionate about.

“It all happened so quickly and we were ridiculously busy leading up to Christmas so we didn’t think about it. It’s been a good move for us on a lot of levels.”

Still, Ian keeps in regular contact with a number of former colleagues. Recently he dined with his former boss Don Gregory, who was the general manager at Pacific GC and later Oxley GC.

“I keep in touch with Phil Laurie (former Golf Queensland communications manager), Scott Wagstaff (Carbrook GM), Danny Bradley (FNQDA) and Simon Magdulski (director rules and handicapping at Golf Australia).

“It’s really humbling because barely a week goes by when someone from the industry doesn’t pop in and say hello.

“You make lifelong friends and also keep in touch with people on Facebook.”

Running a business and organising a young family has meant Ian doesn’t have time to dust the cobwebs off the clubs.

“I don’t play often only because of family and business commitments.”

Ian and Nicole have two children – Emily, 13, and Lachlan, 11.

“I sneak out occasionally with a good mate, Derek Bergman, who was a trainee at Pacific Golf Club when I worked there.

“Maybe in a year or two I’ll join Horton Park Golf Club when the new course opens.”

Ian’s passion for the game hasn’t waned and he still keeps an eye on both professional and amateur results.

“There are kids winning state amateur events I have never heard of, but it’s still interesting and I enjoy following the interstate series and pro-am results.

“I must say I enjoyed my time in the golf industry – who knows I might get back there one day.”

About David Newbery

Chief writer David Newbery has been living, breathing and writing and editing golf for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge of the game comes from covering golf around the world. Hired by Inside Golf in 2009, David previously worked as the editor of The Golfer for 25 years and before that worked for numerous daily newspapers in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane-based journalist describes his golf game as “a work in progress”, but has had the privilege of playing golf with some of the game’s best players including nine-time major winner Gary Player. David enjoys travelling, reading, music, photography and spending time with family and friends – on and off the golf course.


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