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Tee Box with a View: PNGA immediate past president talks golf, COVID, Canada-U.S. border, and the next crossroads

by Peter Fibiger

Peter Fibiger served as PNGA president from 2018-2021.

In the 20-plus years that I’d served in some capacity or another on the PNGA Board of Directors, I’d seen a number of presidents, each of them exemplary individuals, come into their leadership roles and go on, after what is normally a 2-year term, to act as immediate past president for the ensuing two years.

This had the comforting effect of each successive board continuing to enjoy the presence and camaraderie of those fine folks with whom they’d worked to maintain and, in one way or another, improve the many ways in which the PNGA continued its mission to serve the best interests of the game and its adherents in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s safe to say that the role of immediate past president also served to ease its occupant out of a position of responsibility without a concurrent loss of immediate access to the friends and colleagues on the board with whom so much had been shared over the preceding years.

Would that it had been so for yours truly.

As plans for the PNGA Annual Meeting took shape in the Spring of 2020 the world was turned on its ear (thanks, COVID!), and within seemingly less time than it once took Sergio Garcia to commit to a swing, the door at the border that separated this Canadian from all his U.S.-based family, friends, golf courses, and unique getaways, slammed shut.

Gone was the access to our Seattle-based daughter, her husband, and our magical, inexhaustible twin granddaughters.

Gone were the always enjoyable drop-in visits with the staff at the PNGA offices.

Gone was another Arizona winter retreat and all that full-shoulder-turn-enabling dry heat.

Gone was Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

In the two years since then we’ve learned what a completely inadequate substitution for face time that  FaceTime has become, and how difficult it is to secure a tee time when a whole new subset of individuals have discovered the joys and agonies of a golf-addicted life.

But at least our hands have never been cleaner.

On April 1, the Canadian government will finally, hopefully, dispense with the need for cost-prohibitive testing in order to re-enter the country after traveling abroad. As I look ahead with unbridled enthusiasm for a return to a life that can once again include real proximity to my friends and family south of the border, I stop to remind myself that what was once thought of as normalcy can hinge on the whims of a viral variant.

So here’s hoping we can continue to enjoy each other’s friendship and each other’s golf courses on both sides of the border without further interruption.

Peter Fibiger served on the PNGA Board of Directors for 18 years, including 12 years on the Executive Committee and more than a decade as the PNGA Communications Committee Chairman. He also served as PNGA President from 2018-2021. He lives in Victoria, B.C., and don’t get him started on the pandemic-caused Canada-U.S. border closure of the past few years.. Click here to read the full article on Peter’s impact on the PNGA and the golf community.