New Gilwood manager in place as season winds down

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

There’s a new man at the helm at Gilwood Golf Club. He’s Brian Johnstone, just in from Thunder Bay Ontario.

“I got here on the 20th,” Johnstone says. “So far, so good.”

Gilwood was indeed looking good – very good – in the few days since Johnstone’s arrival. It won’t last, but it’s a nice time to be introduced to a course and a community, and a whole winter ahead to think about the prospects for a new season.

“The biggest thing for me is to get a feel for the club, the members, the people,” says Johnstone.

The course itself he describes as “a hidden gem. It can be as challenging as you make it.”

Johnstone brings plenty of experience to the post. He’s been a golf pro and club manager off and on (but mostly on) for the past 20 years or so. Most recently, though, he managed a sports bar and grille in Thunder Bay. That followed five years as GM of Thunder Bay Country Club. And before that?
“I managed the Heron Landing golf course on the Couchiching First Nation for 15 years.”

That’s next door to Fort Frances Ontario, on the Rainy River.

Johnstone says a couple of years ago he decided he wanted to do something different, career-wise; hence the restaurant management job. Then along came COVID and of course restaurants were among the hardest hit of all businesses. So when the Gilwood job opportunity showed up….

Johnstone has a family – wife and two kids who are in school back in Thunder Bay. So there are some logistical things that would have to be worked out if he’s to come back to Gilwood for a full season next year.

On the plus side, he likes what he’s seen so far, including the ice fishing possibilities. “One of my favourite pastimes,” he says.

Johnstone figures the front nine at Gilwood will stay open through the Thanksgiving weekend. The back nine will close a bit earlier due to some irrigation work that has to be done.

Brian Johnstone

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