Inside Golf House Media Release

Golf Canada to recognize Marrone, McLean and Thompson with its 2023 Distinguished Service Award

(Golf Canada) – A trio of accomplished contributors and volunteers will be acknowledged for their tremendous efforts in and around the game as the 2023 recipients of Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award.  

Long-time Golf Canada volunteers Catherine (Kay) Thompson of St. John’s, N.L. and Nick Marrone of Toronto, Ont. along with golf journalist and historian Joe McLean of Ottawa, Ont. will be acknowledged for their tremendous contributions to Canadian golf.

“Golf Canada is thrilled to recognize the long-time contributions of Nick Marrone and Kay Thompson, along with the written and historical work of Joe, and honour them as our 2023 Distinguished Service Award recipients,” said Golf Canada President Liz Hoffman. “The effort put forth by this year’s honourees have been incredibly impactful to golf in their communities as well as at the provincial and national level. They’ve all left an indelible mark on golf in Canada and with great respect we honour each of them for their passion for this great game.”  

Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1993 to recognize individuals who have had an outstanding impact on Canadian golf either nationally or within their community.

The announcement of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award honourees coincides with Golf Canada’s Annual General Meeting, conducted virtually on Thursday, March 2 at 1:00pm EST.

The presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to this year’s honourees will be celebrated in person at locations to be determined. 

Golf Canada 2023 Distinguished Service Award Honourees:

Nick Marrone (Volunteer)

Nick Marrone of Toronto, Ont., is a past member of the Golf Canada Board of Directors. His contributions to Golf Canada date back to the early 1990s when he was the sponsorship and marketing lead at Bell Canada when the company sponsored the Canadian Open. Marrone joined the Canadian Olympic Committee as its head of marketing in 2000 where he worked with National Sport Federations on their marketing campaigns. It was this experience that prompted Golf Canada to recruit Marrone to join its Governor’s Council in 2010 and later the Sport Committee. Marrone was also an experienced committee member, serving on or chairing numerous including Sport (2011-15), Communications (2013-17), Professional Championships (2013-17), Membership (2012-13), and HR (2014-15).

Marrone also supported Golf Ontario on several committees and was a three-year member of the Board of Directors with Golf Canada. He continues to serve Golf Canada today as a member of the Governor’s Council and Nominating Committee.

Catherine (Kay) Thompson (Volunteer)

Kay Thompson of St. John’s, N.L. has served on several Golf Canada committees and has been a nationally certified rules official and referee since 2003. Over two decades, Thompson has worked approximately 30 Golf Canada events – mostly in Atlantic Canada – as a rules official, rules chair, tournament chair, and starter/scorer. Although Thompson did not start playing golf until she was nearly 50, she immediately got involved with club and provincial boards along with learning the Rules of Golf. Thompson is a founding member of a pair of tournaments, formerly a co-author of a weekly golf rules column, and was the rules chair or referee for numerous championships in her home province. Thompson is a multi-year recipient of the Golf Newfoundland-Labrador Official of the Year and in 2017 was named the Golf NL Volunteer of the Year.

Joe McLean (Media)

Joe McLean, of Ottawa, Ont., was a near 30-year contributor to Flagstick Golf Magazine, supporting the coverage and storytelling of golf in the Ottawa Valley. He retired in 2022. McLean, 74, first began working with the Ottawa Valley Golf Association in 1983 and has been its historian and archivist since 2000. After spending 31 years as a public health inspector (he retired in 2001), McLean has given back to golf in Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley in an unparalleled way. It took a top-secret effort – since McLean is the committee’s co-chair – but the Ottawa Valley Golf Hall of Fame named him as an inductee in 2022.