During a brief ceremony at the 119th PNGA Annual Meeting, held May 12, 2018 at Overlake Golf & Country Club in Medina, Wash., Peter Fibiger of Victoria, B.C. was formally elected president of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, the fifth-oldest golf association in North America.
Fibiger succeeds Mary O’Donnell of Bellevue, Wash., who had served as president the previous two years, being just the second woman to serve as PNGA president.
A member of Highland Pacific Golf Course in Victoria, Fibiger has plans for his term as president. “We want to bring more young people into the game,” he says. “That’s no secret. It’s good for the game itself, it’s good for the golf industry, it’s good for business. We want to stay current and relevant.”
He goes on to speak about the benefits of the golf community staying connected. “Along with the PNGA serving and supporting the region’s state and provincial golf associations, I see the Association as being a bridge between the U.S. and Canada specifically, where everyone benefits mutually from the collaboration.”
Fibiger first became involved with the PNGA in the mid-1990s. Already heavily involved in his hospitality and tourism career in the Victoria area by then, he was approached by Dr. Jim Allison (who would receive the 2002 PNGA Distinguished Service Award) about donating stay-and-play packages to the annual Evans Cup auction fundraisers, raising money for the Evans Caddie Scholarship program.
Peter, as ever, jumped in full-force, helping to raise thousands of dollars for the program over the years, gathering teams to play in many of the Evans Cups (even winning a couple times), and even becoming a Director for the Western Golf Association, which administers the scholarship program.
In 2003, Allison, along with then-PNGA Executive Director John Bodenhamer, approached Fibiger about being on the PNGA board of directors. “I was really excited about that,” Peter says. “I had an affinity for all things American, and the whole concept of the PNGA crossing the border, being international, was really appealing to me.”
Once on the Board, Fibiger would be elected to the PNGA Executive Committee in 2008, serving several years as vice president. Also since 2008, he has served as the chairman of the PNGA Communications Committee, overseeing the Association’s Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine and the ever-widening spectrum of communications assets such as enewsletters, eblasts and websites. He has been key in the continuing collaboration of the allied Associations in spreading the good news of the game to the region’s golf community.
An entrepreneur and businessman from the get-go, Fibiger has a long and varied history of deep community involvement and creating business partnerships, stemming from his career in the hospitality and tourism arena.
“I’m a bottom-line person, but I also like seeing things from a broad perspective,” he says. “What’s good for the region, what’s good for business, how can we help people and communities be successful. I’ve always seen this as the goal, in everything I’ve been involved with.”
He was a board member of Tourism Victoria for nine years, serving as its vice president four years and chairing three separate committees; CEO of the West Shore Economic Development Association; board member of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, chairing its tourism and economic development committees; board member of Sporthost Victoria, chairing its partnership committee; and a committee member of numerous sports and community associations in the Victoria area.
Born in Denmark, Peter’s family moved to Victoria, B.C. when he was six months old.
“I had the good fortune that we lived in a house above the 12th tee of Victoria Golf Club,” Peter said. “I became a junior member of the club, and worked there as a caddie, picking balls on the driving range and helping out in the pro shop. While other kids had paper routes, I worked at the golf course.”
At age 17, though, he walked away from the game and got on with other things in his life. He attended the University of Victoria, where he played on the school’s hockey club.
“I met Shirley and we got married, and did what most young couples do,” he says. Well, not quite what most young couples do – he and Shirley moved to the Yukon in the northern reaches of Canada and built a log cabin and lived there for several years, while Peter worked as a contractor in construction and forestry, writing sports articles for the Yukon News and Oak Bay News in his spare time. “It was the ‘70s,” Peter says, with a happy shrug.
When their son Jesse was born in 1978, the young family moved back to Victoria, and Peter began a long career in the hospitality, tourism and promotion business.
In 1985, he built and managed a bed-and-breakfast, but felt that was his last start-from-scratch building project. In 1987 he created his own marketing and public relations firm, focusing on the tourism industry. It was then that he got back into golf.
“As with most endeavors,” he says, “it’s all about people and developing friendships and business relationships, and golf is great for that.”
In 1998, he and a business partner founded the online magazine SportFishingBC.com, which still serves the region’s angling industry.
Recently retired, Peter and Shirley, married now almost 50 years, spend their winters in Arizona, but still call Victoria their home. Along with their son Jesse, they have a daughter, Nessa, who lives with her husband in Seattle. Nessa recently gave birth to twins, which is another reason to stay close to the Northwest.