Murray Poje moved to Tsawwassen from Nanaimo at age 10 and has made this town his home base ever since, excluding a few excursions to the United States and South Africa. His move to Tsawwassen coincided with his introduction to the game of golf when he became a junior member at Beach Grove Golf Club.
Golf helped shape Poje's life, making him pocket money from selling used golf balls on the Cliff Drive embankment, to playing on the Palomar College golf team in San Diego, to being a 22-year Class "A" PGA professional with international tour experience (PGA, Canadian, Australasian and South African).
Poje is past B.C. PGA champion and is the founder and executive director of the non-profit Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour, Canada's number one played junior golf tour and the road to college golf for aspiring young players.
Q: How did you get involved in golf?
My dad joined Beach Grove Golf Club and his children could join for $50 per year.
Q: What was life like "being on tour?" Expensive?
Well, that was 20 years ago. On the Canadian Tour, I made about $1,000 a week and spent $1,100.
Q: What was it like playing golf in South Africa? Did your wife, Elaine, find it hard to leave that country?
The South African tour was the highlight of my golf career so far. The different cities every week, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, were a new experience and I love the country. My wife loves Canada, though, it is her home now, and we work together in the golf world a bit, so it is all good.
Q: Why and how did you start the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour?
At the time there was a need for more golf tournaments for young serious golfers to play in to develop as players, and learn how to handle the pressure of tournament situations, which comes with experience.
There was a need for more tournaments at a competitive, higher level for kids to use to develop a "playing resume" for college recruitment, etc. Jim Treliving and George Melville, who own Boston Pizza, both used to live in Tsawwassen and played golf at Beach Grove, so we played a lot together.
I approached them with the idea of sponsoring a junior golf tour. They came on board with Boston Pizza as the presenting sponsor of the program and 15 years later we are the biggest junior golf tour in the country with 60 events coast-to-coast, and a record number of members again this year, with huge thanks to Boston Pizza.
Q: How can people find out more about the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour?
Detailed info is online at www.maplejt.com. We are on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Q: After all these years, you find yourself back at Tsawwassen Springs as the head teaching pro.
What's next for Murray and Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour?
Well, I am taking a less hands-on role with the MJT now, but I really enjoy teaching the game of golf and am able to spend more time at Tsawwassen Springs helping golfers with their games. I have a spring break camp for juniors and a "spring break" on all lesson prices as well, to encourage people to get started on their season.
© Copyright 2013