by Brad Ziemer
Four new inductees, each with a long list of playing accomplishments, will be welcomed this fall into the Golf Hall of Fame of BC.
Craig Doell of Victoria, Brian DeBiasio of Qualicum, Shelly Stouffer of Nanoose Bay and the late Ron Willey of Nanaimo will be inducted at a dinner Oct. 26 at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver.
Doell, DeBiasio and Stouffer all expressed delight at being selected to join the Hall of Fame. “I am thrilled to be selected to the Golf Hall of Fame of BC and to have my name in there with so many great players is amazing,” said Stouffer. “I never played golf as a junior, so to be recognized now for my accomplishments is pretty cool.
“Also, to know two of the other three inductees is special. I have known Craig since playing on the UBC golf team in the 1990s, and I have played on several BC teams with him. I have gotten to know and have played with Brian in the last couple of years. They are both great people and it will be an awesome experience to celebrate with all the inductees and my family in October.”
In the last four years Stouffer has become a dominant senior women’s player. Last summer, she became the first British Columbian to win a USGA national title, capturing the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. She has won the last four B.C. Senior Women’s Championships and has also won two Canadian Senior Women’s Championships and one Canadian Mid-Amateur title. She was named the 2022 PNGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year.
Doell’s long list of playing accomplishments include three Canadian Club Champions Championship titles and numerous BC and PNGA mid-amateur championships. “Obviously, this means a lot,” Doell said of being named as an inductee. “It’s a great recognition for the success and time spent playing in a lot of golf tournaments. It’s very fulfilling and I was very excited to receive that recognition.”
Doell’s first of two PNGA Mid-Amateur titles came in 1999, with the championship held that year at Marine Drive, site of this fall’s induction ceremony.
As much as he cherishes his many years of individual competition, Doell said all the Willingdon Cup and Morse Cup teams he played on were equally important. “All the good friendships you make being on those various teams have been awesome,” Doell said. “You become friends for life.” One other remarkable part of Doell’s lengthy playing record are the 18 club championships he has won at his home course, Victoria Golf Club.
DeBiasio spent much of his life in the Kootenays, and competing in top amateur events meant a lot of trips to the Metro Vancouver area and Vancouver Island. “Living in the Kootenays and trying to compete in the province, especially in the old days when everything was down on the coast or on the Island, I put on a lot of miles,” he said. “For all the hard work that went into it and all of the support that I’ve had, this is a real nice reward.”
DeBiasio’s game blossomed as a mid-amateur player. His biggest win came at the 1998 Canadian Mid-Amateur in Bathurst, N.B. “My best results were through my 40s and early 50s,” said DeBiasio, who just turned 70. “The big thing for me was I didn’t win a ton, but I was always right there. I was proud of my consistency and how I competed.”
Willey, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 81, won the 1959 BC Amateur title. He represented Canada in South Africa at the World Amateur Team Championships and later partnered with Johnny Johnston at the Americas Cup to defeat Jack Nicklaus and former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. After turning pro in 1962, Willey worked as a club pro in Idaho, California and British Columbia.
He did stints as head pro at Marine Drive and University Golf Club in Vancouver. He won the 1985 CPGA Senior Championship. Later in life, Willey brought the Nevada Bob’s Golf and Tennis franchise to Canada.
Willey, Stouffer, DeBiasio and Doell will become the 45th, 46th, 47th and 48th members of the Golf Hall of Fame of BC, which has also inducted two teams.
(To view each inductee’s full playing record please visit: RECORD)