Patty Howard Retires

Jeffrey New







Wilson Golf Reed On The Greens, by Jeffrey Reed
Patty Howard Retires
January 13, 2014

Those who dedicate their lives to the golf industry often joke that there’s never enough time to golf. In the case of London’s Patty Howard – recently retired from her post as director of golf at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club – there is also the challenge of living with arthritis which often makes golfing an impossibility.

But Howard, 60, says she’s feeling well these days, and looking forward to finally being able to golf, now that she has hung up her cleats after a distinguished 40-year career.


A member of the PGA of Canada since 1975, Howard is widely considered one of Canada’s most knowledgeable and personable golf professionals. A member of the London Sports Hall of Fame (2009), Howard was Canada’s first female head professional at a private mixed club (London’s West Haven Golf & Country Club 1990), and she was the first female member of the Ontario PGA Board of Directors (1985-86).

Howard’s accolades include Club Professional of the Year (PGA of Canada, PGA of Ontario 2007), Women of Distinction Award – Sport, Fitness & Recreation (2001), London Sportsperson of the Year (2008), and London Ontario Golf Heart Award winner (2013).

Despite her post at Sunningdale, Howard says she was “semi-retired starting in 2010.” But anyone who knows Howard knows she can’t do anything less than 100 per cent. Long days at the club – in particular during 2013 when Sunningdale hosted numerous tournaments, including the PGA Tour Canada Tour Championship – were taking their toll on Howard. So was the fact she couldn’t golf – even when she was feeling well enough to tee it up.

“It’s definitely bittersweet, and it’s a hard decision, but this past summer I had thought pretty seriously about retirement,” said Howard, who hands her duties to Sunningdale head professional Jason Wyatt.


“For the last four or five years, it really has been a rollercoaster,” said Howard of crippling arthritis. “I went through a lot of pain, until I found (new drugs). I’m feeling well now, but unfortunately there are side effects. I never know in advance how well I’m going to feel.”

No longer putting in grueling days at Sunningdale, where she oversaw the full scope of golf play since 2001, Howard finally has the opportunity to golf when she’s up for it. She and her husband, Dave Reid, are preparing for a winter stay in Port St. Lucie, Florida where you can bet there will be plenty of days on the golf course.

Howard has a heavy heart today, though. Her father, Alex Fellner, died January 11. He was an avid golfer, long-time Sunningdale member and a founding member of the London Home Builders’ Association. Howard paid a touching tribute to Alex during her Heart Award acceptance speech in June 2013.

A Class A golf professional since 1981, Howard has worn every golf hat under the sun. She has worked as a groundskeeper, and played professionally on the U.S. Futures Tour – she won twice with three second-place finishes. In fact, Howard is the only female to have won on the Southwestern Ontario Professional Golfers’ Association (now PGA of Ontario) mini tour, shooting a 65 to beat the area’s top male pros. She once held the women’s course record (70) at The Oaks Golf Club in Delaware, and posted a women’s course-record 73 at The National Golf Club of Canada to claim victory at the 1988 Ontario Ladies Professional Championship.

“Sunningdale is where I grew up – where I first learned to play golf,” said Howard, obviously finding it fitting that she would retire while at the north London private club. “It has been quite an interesting career.”

It has at that. Howard will definitely be missed, but here’s hoping we see a lot of her on the links in 2014.


Wilson Staff




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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.