British Columbia Golf Community Saddened By The Passing Of Gary Puder

Gary Puder Won The BC Mid-Amateur At His Home Vancouver Golf Club In 2001 - Image Courtesy VGC/@batchp

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Gary Puder, a longtime Vancouver Golf Club member who won the B.C. Amateur, B.C. Mid-Amateur and B.C. Senior titles in three different decades, died last week following a lengthy illness. Puder, a retired high school principal, was 84.

Friends and fellow competitors remembered not only Puder’s great golf game, but his impeccable character. “Gary Puder was a special person in British Columbia golf,” said former PGA TOUR winner Richard Zokol. “A great gentleman, great competitor and great player.”

Puder won the 1987 B.C. Amateur at Rivershore in Kamloops, where he beat Doug Roxburgh and Steve Berry by two shots. “A very fine man,” said Roxburgh.

“I remember I played with him and Steve Berry in the final round of the B.C. Am at Rivershore when he won. On 17 he had a two-shot lead but hit his iron fat about 30 yards short of the green.

“It was always hard to watch him chip, but he hit a beauty to six inches. He parred 18 and won. A popular victory.”

Puder added the B.C. Senior Men’s title in 1996 at Myrtle Point in Powell River before completing his ‘triple crown’ by winning the B.C. Mid-Amateur title at his home club in 2001 at age 63. Puder won the club championship at Vancouver Golf Club 10 times and was runner-up on eight occasions. The club championship trophy is now named after him.

Puder came within one shot of winning the 1998 Canadian Senior Men’s Championship at Swaneset Bay in Pitt Meadows. Puder had battled dementia in recent years, but fellow Vancouver Golf Club member Paul Batchelor said he never lost his smooth swing.

“He was the first player I ever played with at Vancouver Golf Club,” Batchelor said. “He was a fantastic guy and such a gentleman. Even with his illness his swing never changed.” 

Puder is survived by his wife Eileen.