Padraic O’Rourke Named New Director Of Golf At Marine Drive Golf Club

Padraic O'Rourke, The 2021 PGA of BC Club Professional Champion, Is Heading To Marine Drive As The Venerable Club's New Director Of Golf - PGA of BC Photo

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Padraic O’Rourke grew up on the west coast of Ireland and had the opportunity to play many of the famed links courses in his homeland.

He quickly gained an appreciation of the game’s history, something he said was top of mind in accepting the position of director of golf at Vancouver’s Marine Drive Golf Club...

“The history of the club was definitely an attraction,” said O’Rourke, who has spent the past nine years as head professional and director of golf at Chateau Whistler Golf Club.

“It’s known for producing some great players and having a very active playing membership. I’ve met lots of Marine Drive members over the years working at the Chateau and I always found them to be very, very pleasant to deal with.

“With their planned capital spend on a TrackMan range and the move forward with that you can see the club is looking to progress. And the hiring of Jamie Robb in the last couple of years as superintendent shows where the club wants to go. I wanted to be part of something like that. They are looking to really push the needle.”

O’Rourke, 39, brings a most impressive resume to Marine Drive. Before joining Chateau Whistler, he worked at Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland and Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey. 

After spending most of the past decade working at a resort golf course, O’Rourke is looking forward to being back at a private club and establishing those important relationships with members. “I feel like I have lots to offer a private club and I think it will be great to be seeing the same faces around the club on a weekly basis,” he said.

“I have played 18 of the top 25 clubs in the world and I have worked at the No. 1 golf course in the world for two years, which probably counts as 20 years at some other clubs, so I know what the expectation is.”

O’Rourke feels like he benefitted greatly from his time spent at Chateau Whistler, which is part of the Fairmont family. “It has been phenomenal with Fairmont,” he said. “Our leadership training is unparalleled and because Chateau Whistler, within the Fairmont brand is one of the premier hotels, I get to work with the best professionals in the industry. We have very high expectations here for ourselves. Working in that environment makes you a more well-rounded golf professional.”

Tom Schellenberg, Marine Drive’s chief operating officer, was not available for comment, but in a news release the club said O’Rourke’s “experience at world-class golf operations, combined with extensive service experience and leadership training, make Padraic the ideal candidate to lead our golf operations and member experience going forward. . .His warm and welcoming personality and his progressive and professional approach to leadership and management will be a significant asset in the growth and success of our club.”

O’Rourke is a board member with the PGA of BC, where he directs the association’s education program. In 2020, he won the PGA of BC Golf Professional of the Year Award. O’Rourke is an accomplished and passionate player.

He is preparing to defend the PGA of BC Club Professional Championship he won last year, although he acknowledges not playing much golf in recent weeks. “The last six weeks I think I have played one round of golf,” he said. “I am going to play the Whistler Open next week at Nicklaus North.

“I have always loved travelling and I have always loved playing the best golf courses in the world and I have been fortunate enough to be able to do that. Golf is my passion, it is what I love to do. I still love to play and I look forward to bringing that drive to Marine Drive.”

O’Rourke succeeds longtime Marine Drive director of golf Tim Tait, who is retiring. “November 1st will be my first day,” O’Rourke said. “It’s not too far away. We are going to wrap the season up here at the Chateau and start the next chapter.”