Past champion Gudmund Lindbjerg passes at age 71
by Brad Ziemer (courtesy British Columbia Golf)
Gudmund Lindbjerg, who won four Pacific Northwest Golf Association titles and three Washington Golf titles, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 71.
Lindbjerg produced a rather remarkable amateur golf career despite not playing the game until he was 29. He emigrated from Denmark in his early 20s and at that time was more interested in hunting ducks than chasing birdies on a golf course.
But after trying the game for the first time, golf had him hooked. He shot even-par with a borrowed set of old clubs the first time a buddy took him out for a round on a nine-hole course. “The next time I think I shot 100, but then I got hooked,” Lindbjerg joked a few years ago.
The Port Moody, B.C. resident and longtime member of Pitt Meadows Golf Club, won countless other titles, including four consecutive BC Senior Men’s titles, starting in 2008; and won three Washington Super Senior Men’s Amateur titles, in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
John Gallacher, himself a 2017 Washington Super Senior Men’s Amateur winner and three-time BC Senior Men’s champ, was a close friend of the man his pals called “Goody.” The two often traveled together to tournaments and partnered in team competitions. Last September, Lindbjerg and Gallacher won their third straight Pacific Northwest Golf Association Super Senior Team Championship at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash. The two players also combined to win the 2014 PNGA Senior Team title.
“We certainly did a lot of travel together for the last 25 years,” Gallacher said. “We played as a team when we could. Our wives used to say to us, you two should be spouses because you see more of each other than you do your wives.”
Gallacher said Lindbjerg worked hard to became a good player. It helped that he was a natural athlete. Lindbjerg was an elite handball player in his native Denmark. “I think he just never stopped trying and worked hard at it,” Gallacher said.
“When I first met him he was paired with me at the Golden Ears tourney at Pitt Meadows when I was a member there. I convinced him to join because he was playing public golf. He was pretty good back then, but it really changed his outlook on golf because he had a facility he could play and practise at. And he had a job that allowed him to work very early in the morning and get off at lunchtime and go and play golf every day.”
Lindbjerg, who worked in the B.C. fish industry for many years before retiring, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and Gallacher said treatment failed to thwart the disease.
Lindbjerg once said he was club champion at Pitt Meadows more times than he could remember. Head professional Wes Doka provided the details. Doka said Lindbjerg won the men’s club championship at Pitt Meadows seven times and won the senior men’s club championship nine times. He joined Pitt Meadows in 1994.
“He was always trying to help other people with their games,” Doka said. “If you played with him, whether you wanted his advice or not, he was going to give you some information on how to play golf. “He knew how to win. He’d show up for a tournament and he’d be ready to play.
“He put a lot back into the club as well. He volunteered on the greens committee and he was the resident mole catcher for a long time here. He’d be out there setting traps to catch moles. He was just very respected for his golf, but also for the person he was.”
Doug Roxburgh, a 13-time winner of the B.C. Amateur Championship and a four-time B.C. Seniors champ who was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, also respected Lindbjerg as a player and a person. “He was the one guy I always wanted to know what he was doing on the course,” said Roxburgh. “Gudmund was very athletic. He worked out and kept himself fit and man, he could hit shots the rest of us just couldn’t hit.
“He was a fierce competitor. I know at times he didn’t believe in his putting, but whenever I played with him he made plenty of putts and hit so many fantastic shots.”
Lindbjerg is survived by his wife Elaine, three daughters and five grandchildren.