An interview with Dave Paterson: Celebrating 30 years of Chamber membership

Lorna McGhee presents Dave Paterson a certificate outside on the greens of Royal Ashburn Golf Course

Each year, the Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC) recognizes member milestones by dropping by long-time Chamber member businesses to deliver a certificate congratulating them on their membership and dedication to the business community. Local staple Royal Ashburn Golf Club is celebrating their 30th year as part of the membership, so we took this opportunity to ask owner Dave Paterson a few questions about his business and family history in the Durham Region.

Royal Ashburn has been a member of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce for 30 years! Tell us about your earliest Chamber memory.

As a second-generation Paterson I am unable to go back 30 years, but my first Chamber memory goes back to my first breakfast networking event. These events were very popular and I walked into a room of unfamiliar faces and was overwhelmed to say the least. Not to mention I was doing a two-minute presentation on our business with all eyes on me. Since then the room has changed to familiar faces and many businesspeople in the room I call friends – so to anyone reading this don’t be intimidated, we live and work in a great community.

Royal Ashburn is a family owned and operated business in the Durham Region. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the golf club?

After 57 years we have amassed a great deal of history, but it all started in 1959 when my father Wilson Paterson purchased farmland and started constructing his vision. In 1961 we unofficially opened with nine holes late in the golf season and then in 1962 opened officially as a Championship 18-hole golf course. Since then we have hosted the Fall Canadian Tour Qualifier for more than 35 years, the Canadian Open Qualifying round, the Royal Canadian Golf Association University/College National Championships twice and many other local tour events. For our family Royal Ashburn has been a labour of love and we have continued to grow and improve throughout our 57-year history.

Your father, Wilson Paterson, was named the 2009 Peter Perry Award winner for his outstanding contributions to our community. What was that experience like for him?

It was an overwhelming experience for him and one he is still very humbled and proud of. Wilson is a very modest person and has lived a very accomplished life. What many people don’t know about him is he was instrumental in starting and promoting junior golf throughout Durham Region. He took it upon himself to contact all of the golf courses in Durham Region and have each course donate hundreds of rounds of golf. The passes were then distributed throughout Durham’s high schools allowing thousands of kids to compete in organized sport within the Durham District School Board and Lake Ontario Secondary School Athletics.

So, were you and your brother born with golf clubs in your hands? How old were you when you started golfing?

Obviously we grew up with golf and started playing at a very young age with our father. My earliest memories are teeing it up at the 150-yard marker and playing from there. Today I still love golf and try to play as much as I can.

What’s your favourite Town of Whitby spot to grab some grub?

There are so many great spots to eat in Whitby, but I really like The Brock House. The atmosphere is great, the bar is great, and the food is always good.

You are a past president of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Why did you decide to volunteer to sit on the Board?

I enjoy being involved in the community and it seemed like a great opportunity to achieve this. The Whitby Chamber is a great organization and is so well connected at the local business level, but also with our municipal and regional leaders, so it provides a great opportunity to build relationships within our community. Again, for those who don’t know, the Chamber is a champion for the business community and a great resource so I encourage all businesses to get involved on whatever level you are comfortable with.

What has been your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from your time as part of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce membership?

Whitby has an amazing business community filled with so many talented people achieving successes we should all be proud of. Put yourself out there and get involved because you really do reap what you sow!

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I work hard, but I appreciate time outdoors with friends and family above all.