The Ponoka Golf Club has a new team member at the top, general manager Lorne Fundytus.
About a month ago, Fundytus became the first new general manager in three decades at the club after Rob MacPherson exited to run the River Bend Golf Club in Red Deer.
The hiring also marks the first time in a long while that Ponoka will see two people running the course — Fundytus handling the business and restaurant side, while long-time assistant pro Ryan Moore was promoted to head pro and will look after the golfing end of things.
The trip Fundytus took to this job resembled a golfer hitting shots in to various bunkers and a few water hazards before finally winding up with an ace on his last one.
“For many years, I was self-employed in the chemical industry and later as an account executive in Medicine Hat working with the restaurant and hospitality equipment industry,” he said.
“However, several months ago, my life took a dramatic and very personal turn that forced me to take some time away. I had only been back working for a couple of months when I walked into the new Rimoka facility in Rimbey to check on some things.
“That’s when Peter Hall (Rimoka CAO) wanted to chat, since we had worked closely together on things for a few years.”
It was in that meeting where Hall told Fundytus of the job and how great a fit he would be.
Fundytus was hesitant at first, but decided to get in his application, as in his words, “The job I was in is a lonely field and I just wasn’t happy at the time.”
As it turned out, it was his extensive restaurant and hospitality experience that earned him the job.
“The selection committee was very interested in my management experience and connections within the food and beverage sector, and definitely not my golf skills,” he added.
“Since I started on March 11, it’s been crazy and a huge learning curve, but I absolutely love it. I’m excited to be involved and the work has really rejuvenated my entrepreneurial spirit.”
Having Moore on the golf side is great as well since Fundytus said he doesn’t know much about that part of the business.
Another plus is still having MacPherson as a resource he can call on.
“Rob did a tremendous job wearing two hats in running this course and there really is nothing obvious that will be changed here,” he said.
“But I’m still in touch with Rob, mostly due to the knowledge he has of how things work and what’s around. He admitted most of it was in his head and not on paper, so it’s great to be able to use him as a resource.”
The course and the restaurant officially opened on April 19, just slightly ahead of the original opening day of April 23.