By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

A 52-year-old Invermere resident has been recognized as the Columbia Valleys best golf professional in the province-wide standings.

Brian Schaal, the general manager and executive professional at Copper Point Golf Club, ranked #16 in the 2015 Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of BC after the final standings were tallied up this winter.

It was a great honour to be named in the Top 100 as there are over 650 golf professionals in British Columbia, explained Mr. Schaal. Being able to use the Top 100 logo in our emails, website, social media and business cards brings a sense of pride to the hard work and dedication weve given to make ourselves better golf professionals. The program was introduced in 2013 and I have been in the Top 100 every year.

Brian Schaal

Brian Schaal

Mr. Schaal, who has been an avid golf enthusiast for 35 years, was especially proud to see his Copper Point Golf Club co-workers as well as two other valley golfers also made the Top 100 list for 2015.

Im so proud of Scott McClain, Casey Johnson and Bryan Armstrong being named in the Top 100 as well. Having four golf professionals at the same facility named in the Top 100 could not be accomplished without great staff supporting us, a great ownership group and caring members.

Mr. Schaals love of the game began when he was 18 years old.

I love the people, the outdoors and, of course, the game itself, said Mr. Schaal. No one round of golf is the same as another, course conditions change, the weather changes, mental and physical ability change. As well, players of all abilities can play together in the same group.

When asked how he will continue to develop his skills on the fairway in the future, Mr. Schaal replied: With a shorter season, a busy work schedule, family, friends and other interests, its imperative that I find 10 to 15 minutes a day to practice at the driving range and try to play 18 holes at least once a week.

He also endeavours to participate in the Kootenay Pro Tour Series Tournaments held in the Columbia Valley each season.

Ranking in the Order of Merit is made difficult because of the travel thats involved to participate at coastal events during the golf season, he added.

The biggest challenge is our location as most events, education and volunteerism centres around the Lower Mainland, said Mr. Schaal. Our ability to produce points for the Development Program is typically based on a six-month season compared to a 12-month season that the Lower Mainland has.

The next Columbia Valley golf professional who will be featured in The Pioneer will be Casey Johnson.