Featured Profile: David Stewart
One of Saskatchewan’s All Time Greatest Amateur Golfers Discusses his Role Models, Practice Routine and Work-Life Balance
Image Credit: Golf Canada
The golfing season in Saskatchewan goes by fast. It goes by even faster when you’re a competitive golfer!
Follow any competitive golfer on their social media platforms and you’ll see how they keep their game sharp in the off-season. The best of the best are getting their swing reps in by hitting golf balls indoors, working with a fitness expert in the gym and managing their time effectively.
There are many role models in the game of golf today, including (in my opinion) Rickie Fowler, Brooke Henderson, Adam Hadwin, Lexi Thompson and countless more. Again, follow any of these listed Tour player’s social media platforms and you’ll see determination and dedication to getting better on and off the golf course.
What about role models right here in Saskatchewan?
If there was ever an ideal role model for young Saskatchewan golfers (and any young athletes for that matter!), when it comes to interacting with fellow golfers, gaining respect and top tier time management skills, look no further than Saskatchewan’s own David Stewart. One of the province’s all-time greatest amateur golfers, Stewart had some amazing role models of his own growing up, including his dad Ron, legends Colin Coben, Martin Ring and many more.
When the first competitive golf event of each summer comes around, which is traditionally the beginning of June at the Scotia Wealth Open in Nipawin, David always seems to be in contention. Yes, he’s an experienced competitive golfer, but there’s more to successful golf than your core golfing talents. You need a solid work-life balance.
Speaking of the Scotia Wealth Open, it’s where I personally witnessed one of the best 3 holes stretches of golf I have ever seen in my life. Standing on the par 5, 12th tee at Nipawin on day 2 of the 2018 Scotia Wealth Open, David held a slim lead over a few other golfers. David blistered a drive out at least 310 yards, striped a mid-iron into the multi-tiered green, and dropped a 15 foot putt for eagle. He followed that up on the par 5, 14th hole with a drive that can only be described as perfection. One of the most intimidating tee shots in all of Saskatchewan, the 14th hole at Nipawin is so narrow that the players have to walk single file down the fairway. The ideal shot shape on the hole is a left to right movement that slips between the tree lines. A lot of players bring out a 3 wood or long iron in order to avoid the depths of the trees, but David stepped up to the tee confidently, driver in hand, and found the fairway. Left with an iron into the long par 5, David capitalized on his tee shot and made birdie and ultimately won the event.
There are numerous more examples of David’s prowess on the golf course, but that’s not the main intent of this featured profile. It’s to learn more about one of Saskatchewan’s most respected golfers off the golf course.
Between spending quality time with his wife Jade (pictured with David) and their dog, working full time, enjoying the lake and working on his golf game, many are curious as to his time management secrets.
We sat down with David after the 2019 golfing season for some revealing insight into how he manages his time on and off the golf course.
SaskGolfer: First off David, thanks for fitting us into your busy schedule. Congratulations on another great summer of competitive golf. What was the highlight of your 2019 golf season?
David: Hosting the Saskatchewan Amateur and Mid-Amateur at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club was definitely the highlight. I believe the course showcased itself extremely well; from the green speed to overall course conditions, our volunteers and staff really embraced the opportunity to provide the most fair and difficult test.
SaskGolfer: As a Member at Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, and being active in the local golfing community, how do you balance your married life, work life and competitive golfing during the year?
David: It is a challenge, for sure. Scheduling my time week’s in advance so I understand my meeting commitments, family time, and travel takes priority. Post secondary school has brought a different dynamic but I enjoyed a nice break from July-September off. I have never been a technical golfer and I’ve relied heavily on feel and the basic fundamentals to stay sharp. When I have the time in the evening’s I work 100% on alignment, balance, posture, and tempo and ensure my short game is sharp. The weekends are my time to get my 18-hole rounds in, and still keep the evenings free to hangout with my friends and family. Ultimately, it’s just about balance and making sure I have a handle on my schedule 4-6 weeks in advance.
SaskGolfer: How big of an influence was your dad Ron on your success in golf? Who else has played a role in your golfing accomplishments over the years?
David: My Dad has always been my golfing hero. I had the opportunity to watch him play from the age of 3 onwards. Caddying for him in provincial amateurs, The Northern, and Prince Albert’s Cooke Golf Club tournaments taught me a lot about handling pressure, basic etiquette, and grinding through good and bad rounds. Prince Albert has always had a strong contingent of strong players with different styles of game. I credit watching guys like Colin Coben, Martin Ring, Brian Bamford, Cam Bergen, and countless others to watch and visually learn. My golf coach growing up was Danny Jutras and from a young age he engrained the fundamentals of the game. I credit his instructional style and the peers around the Cooke Municipal Golf Course as my influencers to the game.
SaskGolfer: What advice would you give the young Junior golfers who are developing their game and looking to pursue their academics and golf at the University / College level?
David: Choose your desired undergraduate program first and your ultimate career goals. Find 3-5 programs either in Canada or the US that provide you those educational opportunities and then narrow your focus down to communities that offer affordable housing and tuition, strong peer support, and the opportunity to play. I chose a smaller team so I could learn how to balance travel, class, and the time to practice and improve my game. Visit the schools in your list and meet your teammates and tour the campus. In the end, you’ll know what location provides the best fit. I really think maximizing your opportunity to play events will teach any college player how to manage their time. Nothing really teaches you the challenges of securing your first job, paying bills, and still finding the time and resources to golf…using college as a testing ground will help you prepare for life after school.
SaskGolfer: Yourself and other amateur golfers in Saskatchewan were lucky enough to play in a lot of competitive golf events with PGA Tour golfer Graham DeLaet, what was that like?
David: He is an incredible talent and a really down to earth guy. It has been quite a few years since I played golf with him, but I remember world-class ball striking and wedge play. I don’t think there are many players in the world that hit the driver and long irons better than he does. Continually giving back to the community stands out to me; he’s always been proud to call Saskatchewan home.
SaskGolfer: You’ve won multiple Golf Saskatchewan Provincial Championships, what’s next as far as a personal goal in golf?
David: Continually get better and improve my short game so I can compete at a national level. My weaknesses are pretty clear, and that’s the ability to work the ball both ways, chipping/pitching, and overall ability to scramble. I had the opportunity to play with this year’s Canadian Mid Amateur winner Joe Deraney and I saw first hand what elite competitive golf is. My goal is to compete in a future national Golf Canada event, and to hopefully be within a few shots of the lead in the final round to experience that feeling.
SaskGolfer: Competitive golf has provided you with many opportunities to play some amazing courses in Canada, what’s your favorite?
David: There are a few but probably The National Golf Club in Ontario, Victoria Golf Club (Pebble Beach of Canada), and St. Andrew’s by the Sea in New Brunswick. Hands down though the best golf tournament I’ve played in terms of golf course quality, setup, logistics, and hospitality was the 2007 Canadian Amateur at Riverside.
SaskGolfer: How many strokes does your dad Ron get in a head-to-head match with you these days?
David: Zero! He still has game and every time we tee it up I think he’s going to beat me!
SaskGolfer: Thanks for your time David, enjoy a well earned off-season.
Written by Scott Allan / SaskGolfer