Evnroll's exclusive interview with Ian Doig
Tell me about how you got started in golf? How did you first learn? First teacher? First golf course?
I grew up in Sea Forthe, Ontario. In 1960 my uncle and my father took the family farm and built a 9-hole golf course on it, so I could swing a club as soon as I could walk. Played in my first tournament when I was 8 years old, while my uncle coached me during my junior career. Played golf all summer and played hockey all winter as a kid, but when I was about 13, I realized that golf was all I wanted to do. I remember caddying for my Dad when I was young too, who was a very accomplished amateur, and saying to myself that I wanted to be on a golf course for the rest of my life.
What do you love about golf? What makes you passionate about the game and wanting to get better?
Organically, golf is part of who I am, and I’ve been around it my whole life. What I loved about it as a kid was that it was just me, just me to see what I can do. I love chasing the perfect golf shot. I remember as a kid standing out on the golf course and just practicing from sun up to sun down, hit balls away and away and away. Out there on the golf course hitting shots a dusk, that’s my happy place.
What has been the most challenging part of the game for you?
At this time of year, winter in Canada, not playing every day is really hard. I used to live in Florida and played golf every day and got spoiled! Being snowballed is hard but I have a simulator I can access which is a life saver. I’d love to hit it farther too! I’m using Super Speed right now which the same thing as Phil Mickelson does. I’ve been doing it for three weeks now and my driver is 3mph faster already, very excited to keep going this season.
On a similar but different note, what is your number one offseason hobby?
I’m back playing hockey for the first time in a few years! Keeps me active and fit which is good. Spend as much time as I can with my wife too!
You turned pro in August of 1984, what was that transition like from amateur to professional?
It happened so fast with me that I was just flying by the seat of my pants! I was just a young kid and I didn’t really know what was going on. I’m thinking of writing a book about it actually - Basically at age 19 I was working at a golf course in Sarnia, but me and another guy left and tripped down to Congressional Country Club in Washington for the Kemper Open. We got there on the Saturday, and on Sunday we went to watch the final round, and that morning I saw Sunday Gary Koch walking by carrying his own golf clubs. I pushed my way to the front of the ropes on the first hole and asked him if he needed a caddie. He said his guy didn't show up so if I could get a pair of pants, because shorts on caddies was illegal in those days, the bag was mine. So I ran into the pro-shop, bought a pair of pants that didn’t quite fit, and ran onto the first tee. I Spent the next two years caddying for Gary and got to watch the best players in the world play golf all day. Jack, Arnie, Trevino, I would stand on the range all day and ask them things, then I would go out after and play and hit balls all night. I caddied for four years on the PGA Tour, then in 1984 at the Buick Open I Monday Qualified in, and became the very first full-time Tour caddie to become a PGA Tour player.
Favourite event on any tour in any time period?
Playing in the 2018 U.S. Senior Open was a pinnacle. I had tried to qualify for 35 years and finally got in 2018. The funny thing is I was playing against the guys I used to caddie for back in the 90’s!
Victory you’re most proud of? Could be a tournament win, gym personal best, or non-golf related?
In 2004 I won the Canadian PGA Championship and I am very proud of that. When I left home, I was a good golfer but not a great golfer. I had to work hard on my ability and my mind. If someone had told me that when I was 19 and leaving home to caddie I’d be a 35 time winner all over the world, I’d have said they were nuts!
How far do you hit your stock 7 iron?
Flagstick in or flagstick out in 2019?
I haven’t played yet so I don’t know! When the snow melts I’ll study it for a few days and test it out, but my immediate inclination is to take it out.
Are you a fan of the knee high drop?
Not at all!
Best shot you’ve ever hit?
Some of the shots I’ve had to hit when I’m under the gun have been pretty good. But my best is probably at the 1995 Ontario Open at St. Thomas Golf and Country Club. On the 7th hole, 171 yard to the flag, a little up hill. I hit a stock 6 iron and as soon as I hit it I said “that's in.” We walked up to the green and my ball was in the hole.
First shot you’d take back if you had a mulligan?
2nd stage of Q School for the PGA Tour in 1984 or 85, on the 69th hole of the tournament. I had played the hole all week long with a 1 iron off the tee and a 7 iron in. I was right on the bubble of advancing so I decided to play aggressively and pulled driver. Aiming at a tree down the middle of the fairway, I flushed it right where I wanted, but I hit it so good it bounced off the tree, and came back and went out of bounds, I hit the shot too perfect I guess. I made bogey on the hole and missed finals by a shot.
What would you say is the strongest part of your game?
My mind. My strongest discipline is my mind, I course manage really well, never try the shots I can’t hit. My game is just all around solid in terms of everything else.
What is the part of your game you most want to work on?
Long irons for sure.
Do you know your playing schedule for 2019? List some events you're most looking forward to?
Lots of Monday Qualifiers for the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open, The Canadian Open, the Canadian PGA and Senior PGA Event, I have 12-15 events before Qualifying school this fall.
Do you have any projects happening off the course? Sponsor events, charities?
Lots of teaching scheduled for this summer, see more at www.iandoiggolf.com
So what model of putter do you use right now? Grip type?
I have the ER7CS right now, my first week with it I won the U.S. Open qualifier and the rest was history, I’m hooked.
What attracted you to the putters? The technology? The aesthetics? The Guerin Rife name?
I was always a fan of Guerin Rife and his work, and was very curious about the groove technology and how it responds to off centre hits. Guerin has a great reputation and the Evnroll putters live up to the name.
Have you seen a noticeable difference in your putting performance after switching to Evnroll? What’s your favourite part about that Evnroll design?
The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that from four feet and in, I am very solid. And from outside the five foot circle, I probably make another putt a round, which over a four round tournament is a lot of shots!
What is the number one quality you look for in a new putter?
Combination of look, feel, technological innovation. You can’t have one without the other.
Give me one putting tip you think would help people from a setup, mechanical and technical approach?
When I teach, there's two things I see change from stroke to stroke. People don’t pay close enough attention to ball position and posture. If you're standing even a half-inch taller than you were last time, the whole stroke changes. And if you change your ball position, your face angle at impact will change dramatically.
Give me a putting tip you think would help people on the mental approach side?
Routine! The story I always use for shot routine, was Stewart Cink beating Tom Watson at the British Open. On the 18th green he had to three putt to win, he hit a terrible first putt, but instead of freaking out and getting jumpy, he went through his routine, and drained it. Consistency makes you good, so you have to build a routine, and stick with it, that’s what makes the best in the world the best. Also breathing correctly during your routine is what sets all the best players apart.
Ian Doig's Bio
When it comes to playing the game of golf, my philosophy is simple – enjoy the game.. In my opinion, many club golfers do not enjoy the game as much as they could because they have expectations that are not in line with their playing ability. My focus is to work with golfers to understand their capabilities, set realistic expectations of what they want to accomplish and help them create a plan on how they can best achieve success while enjoying the greatest game ever played.
Fundamental to my belief is that it is each golfers responsibility to protect the integrity, sportsmanship and deep history of the game.
1985 – 2018: PGA of Canada Member
1985 – 2018: PGA Tour Canada/McKenzie Tour Member
1988 – 1991: Asian Tour Member
1985 – 1986: Tournament Players Association Tour Member
2016: PGA of Ontario Senior Player of the Year
2011: Finals of PGA Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament
1998: Canadian PGA Class “A” Professional
1986: Ontario PGA Player of the Year
1994: PGA of Canada - Winter Tour leading money winner
1984: Competed in the PGA Buick Open
1986 – 1989 – 2005: Competed in the PGA Canadian Open
1989: Competed in the PGA Tour Team Championship with Gary Koch
Various: Competed in a number of Nationwide/Web.com events
Twenty five plus professional victories including:
- 2017 Black Wolf Match Play Championship
- 2016 PGA of Ontario Senior Championship
- 2015 PGA of Ontario Senior Championship
- 2013 PGA of Ontario Senior Tour Championship
- 2013 PGA of Ontario Senior Spring Open
- 2012 Bacardi World Par 3 Championship
- 2004 Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship
- 2003 & 1986 Ontario PGA Championship
What others say about Ian:
Pro Am partner:
“I have to the best of my recollection participated in over 20 Pro-Am events. As I mentioned I have played countless Canadian Open Pro-Ams as well as other PGA and Professional events.. I can honestly and sincerely say that my day with you ranks right at the top of enjoying a day with a top notch Professional Golfer and world class guy!:”
Todd Hamilton, 2004 Open Champion and Rookie of the Year:
“Not only is Ian a talented golfer, but when it comes to people he is as good as it gets. He is perfect for meeting and greeting new individuals especially on the golf course where sometimes everyone suddenly becomes a little nervous. He is good at making all parties feel at ease.”
David Currie, Retired Bay Street Executive:
“I have known Ian for more than 25 years and involved him in many corporate golf events. He is without question a 'value added' to any corporate event and his presence ensures that clients feel they have been treated to something special. Ian's knowledge of golf and passion for the game is contagious and makes any corporate golf event a very special occasion. His broad ranging experience on tour and personal friendship with many of the prominent players gives him a unique insight that he freely shares with others.”