Bruce MacDonald is reluctant to call his resignation as the Alberni Golf Club head pro a “retirement.” He is not stopping—just slowing down.
“It was time to slow down a little bit,” he explained. “As much as I love the business, it’s a big job.”
MacDonald has been in the golf business since he was a teen, working at and managing courses before being named the head pro in Campbell River. He was offered the job in Port Alberni in 1993, moved to the town, and has been there ever since. He has raised a family in that time, and helped grow the golf course to where it is now.
“It’s a move I would never regret,” he said.
MacDonald resigned as head pro in October 2017, holding a farewell tournament after 24 years to thank the club’s supporters.
His resignation, he said, was a difficult decision. MacDonald had a stroke in July 2017, shortly after handing in his resignation.
“Something told me it was time to slow down,” he said. “It was not an easy decision. I enjoyed all the people and all the times.”
MacDonald refers to his resignation as a “semi-retirement,” as he and his wife are still involved with the golf course.
“It’s a place that we cherish and love,” he explained. “My goal was to retire. It doesn’t work out that way,” he laughed.
MacDonald is still involved in the Charity Golf Classic, an event started the same year MacDonald moved to Port Alberni. It has been running annually ever since, and will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday, July 7.
Twenty-five years, emphasized MacDonald, is a long time.
“Most charity golf tournaments don’t last very long,” he said. “It’s huge. It’s a great weekend.”
The annual event raises thousands for local charities. Many groups or organizations apply for the donations, but only three or four are picked.
“So many people need it,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald is one of the co-chairs of the tournament, which has raised $750,000 for charities so far. “I always say I’m staying there ‘til we’ve raised one million,” he joked.
Along with golf, MacDonald is spending his semi-retirement working on regaining his health. Two of his favourite pastimes are fishing and gardening.
“This town has so much to offer, and so much to do,” he said. “I’m working to getting as healthy as I can first.”
MacDonald was also involved with minor hockey for a number of years—both his daughters, Quinn and Kyla, grew up playing Port Alberni minor hockey.
“I’m involved in everything, really,” he laughed.
You can still hear MacDonald on the radio, providing colour commentary for Alberni Valley Bulldogs games alongside play-by-play commentator Evan Hammond on 93.3 The Peak. MacDonald said he tried the job out a few years ago while another commentator was on sick leave, and ended up coming on board full time.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to be a play-by-play guy as a kid.”
MacDonald says he plans to keep up the commentary next season, calling the broadcast booth in the arena a “second home.”
“Hammer and myself have a great rapport,” he said.