A Conversation With Vincent Roopchan
28 APR 2022
A CONVERSATION WITH VINCENT ROOPCHAN!
Senior Men's Captain, Greg Bright, recently caught up with your new Member Experience Manager, Vince Roopchan, in an effort to get to know him better. Vince became a member of the PGA of Canada in 2021 following a lengthy career in the financial services industry. He started with Visa Canada in 1997, then Scotiabank as Director, Payment Relations in 2003 before moving to a Vice President, Sales & Marketing role in 2007. In 2010, JP Morgan Chase came calling and Vince spent the next decade in their executive ranks culminating with his role as Vice President, Commercialization and Communications. He joined Clublink in 2021 as an Assistant Golf Professional at Georgetown.
Where were you born and where have you lived? I was born in British Guyana and moved to Canada when I was four years old. Growing up, I lived in Montreal and Mississauga, but I've called Brampton home for many years now. During my earlier business career, I also lived in Barbados, Tampa, and San Francisco.
Tell me about your family! My mother was a school teacher and my father was a police officer. My mother was one of twelve children, and she is still alive. My father was the first born of fourteen children and he passed away in 2008. I also have two brothers, three nephews, and one niece.
Would you say you are a curious person and, if so, what has caught your attention lately? Yes, I am a curious person. I am concerned about the state of the world with COVID, the economic challenges it’s posing, and the millions of people around the world who are struggling to pay for basic necessities like food and housing. I think far too many people are oblivious to how lucky they are!
What led you to a career in golf? I wanted to become a golf pro as a teenager, but my parents were opposed. They wanted me to pursue a career in business which I did. Then, after twenty-five years in the banking industry and with COVID pausing the world, I realized we need to love what we do and live for what we love. So one day, I decided it was time to realize my dream and pursue a career in golf. I started my journey in the Spring of 2021 as an assistant professional at Georgetown. I took the PGA of Canada 'playability test' that July, finishing second out of nearly 100 players. And then early this year, I was offered my role at RattleSnake enabling me to continue living my dream.
What's your best score and on what course? I shot 67 at Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton. That's my best!
Have you had any holes-in-one? Yes, I've had six aces but only three were witnessed - at Derrydale, Copper Creek, and Sleepy Hollow. They all went in the hole in one shot so, to my mind, they are all aces!
Who are some of your favorite professional golfers? I'm definitely going to age myself on this one. In no particular order, I'd have to say Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Trevino.
Overlap or Interlock? Both actually! I have the most success hitting the ball either straight or with a fade when I overlap. If I'm badly in need of a draw, I’ll switch to the interlock as it helps strengthen my grip. I also putted left-handed for years and only recently switched back to right-handed.
What are some of your favorite golf courses? Georgetown has been good to me so I'd have to rank it near the top. Wyndance and Glen Abbey are also among my favorite Clublink courses. I also like Quintero Golf Club in Arizona as well as Beth Page Black on Long Island.
What's your most memorable golf experience? A couple come to mind. I played with Bobby Orr in a charity event at King Valley a few years ago. Porsche was offering a new vehicle for a hole-in-one. I lipped out and got a set of luggage instead. So close! I also had the privilege of playing golf with Sir Garfield Sobers while I was working in Barbados. He is arguably the finest cricket player of the modern era.
Who would be in your dream foursome? I'd have to say Brooke Henderson, Annika Sorenstam, and Laura Davies.
Putter or Driver? Putter for sure. You have to believe you can hole any putt even though the odds aren't in your favor. A sure way to score better is to putt better.
What's the best thing about being a golf professional? As I said earlier, for me, I'm living my dream. The stress isn't outrageous and I'm working under sunlight instead of fluorescent lights. I enjoy the sounds of the course in the early morning and seeing the joy the game brings to our members. It's also a treat to be working with like-minded teammates.
What are the key responsibilities in your new role as Member Experience Manager? On a macro level, it's my job to make sure all members, their guests and visitors enjoy their time at the Club and leave safe and happy, with positive memories. I'll also be addressing member issues and concerns, managing our social media posts, assisting with the Club newsletter content, taking part in advisory committees, acclimating our new RattleSnake members and providing concierge assistance for special requests.
What's one piece of equipment, other than clubs, you think every golfer should have? I'd have to say a divot tool to repair damage on the greens so that others aren't disadvantaged. I always try to fix one ball mark, in addition to my own.
Do you have a preferred style or philosophy for teaching golf? I would urge people to acquire a fundamental knowledge of golf mechanics and to get a feel for the various equipment options that are out there. Then practice, practice, practice! Always have fun and accept the frustration, bad luck, bad weather, and bad bounces that are sure to come your way on the course. There are many things in life to worry about; a bad golf shot isn't one of them.
What recent trend in the golf industry has caught your attention? COVID-19 is not only reshaping the way golf clubs operate, it's also introduced golf to millions of people. The evolution of technology is another interesting trend. When I started in the game, we had persimmon woods, bladed irons, and flat headed putters. The technological advancements in both club and ball technology are making the game easier to play and information about the game is more freely accessible than ever before.
If you had one piece of advice to give anyone on any subject, what would it be? That's easy! Never give up on your dream! It doesn't matter how old you are, what you are doing or how long you've been doing it, there are no mulligans in life. You have to seize the moment!
Coming out of the pandemic, what's the biggest challenge you see us facing at RattleSnake? We may be done with COVID but the virus certainly isn't done with us. A major challenge will be fulfilling the increased demand for golf while protecting the health and safety of everyone who visits the Club.
Thanks for spending this time with me this morning, Vince. You're welcome, Greg. I'm really looking forward to 2022!
Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.