Pat Fletcher was the professional at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club when he won the 1954 Canadian Open championship at Point Grey Golf and Country Club, an experience which grows richer in history because no Canadian has done it since.
Pat was born in England, moved in 1920 with his family to Victoria, where he was introduced to golf, and worked at Jasper Park Lodge and the Edmonton Golf and Country Club before coming to Saskatoon in 1946.
He was a three-time winner of the Saskatchewan Open. He won his first major in 1952, capturing the Canadian Professional Golfers Association tournament at Winnipeg, shooting rounds of 69, 69 and 72.
He was the first Prairie golfer to win the CPGA crown. Pat's most famous victory occurred in the 1954 Canadian Open where he beat a field which included Canadian stars Stan Leonard and Al Balding and American aces like Bob Rosburg, Shelley Mayfield and Lawson Little. Pat overcame a two-stroke deficit in the last round, thanks to a 32 on the final nine, to post a four-under-par 280 and he beat Gordon Brydson of Toronto, who led after 54 holes, and Bill Welch of Kennewich, Washington, by four strokes.
During the presentation ceremonies, it was also noted that Pat had become the first Canadian in 42 years to win the title. So, on July 19, 1954, Pat becomes front-page news in The StarPhoenix, with one picture sharing the limelight with top amateur Doug Bajus of Vancouver, and the other picture showing his walk down the ramp of the airplane for his Saskatoon homecoming.
In December, 1955, Pat was named the head professional at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. By his own admission, Pat was not a long hitter but he was hailed for keeping the ball on the fairway and regarded as one of the most accurate wedge players in the game.
He and fellow Canadian, Stan Leonard, shared many experiences on the tournament circuit, notably as teammates for Canada four times in World Cup matches. They were partners on the Canadian team in 1952, 1953 and 1954. While in Montreal, he became friends with Arnold Palmer and the story goes that Palmer and Jack Nicklaus occasionally asked Pat for advice.
Pat was considered one of the best instructors in the business. Pat retired from golf in 1976, returned to live in Victoria, and he died in 1985.
" I only played the course once — a practice round — then went salmon fishing. I shot a 65 in the opening round, so I figured we’d better go fishing again. " -- Pat Fletcher after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament in 1954