Successful in business and with a passion for golf, SParms PGA Legends Tour Member Greg Rix has been able to combine the two, having formed an enduring relationship with the PGA of Australia that continues to bear fruit.
I’m probably a little bit different to most PGA Members. I went through Q-School to become a PGA Member and actually came to it quite late in life; 2013 is when I became a PGA Member, but I have supported the organisation going back to the 1990’s, so my involvement with the PGA is quite a long one.
I initially got involved taking over the sponsorship of the trainee (now PGA Associateship) championship in Queensland. I did this for a number of years to get it back on its feet and continue forward with the championship that the PGA had in place. So, it’s a longstanding connection, but my Membership is coming up to a decade.
I am a Member of the SParms PGA Legends Tour and now have a continuous membership, which means I have passed all the criteria to keep my membership which is not easy in itself; it is quite a challenge. I was a squash professional when I was younger, until persistent injuries forced me to retire. I realised when I was taking my surgeon to tournaments that my time was probably up and golf became a focal point for me. I missed the competitive side of things, and that’s why I went to Q-School to gain my Membership.
My PGA of Australia Membership means a great deal to me, it really is an achievement of which I’m very proud. It wasn’t easy, anyone who thinks it’s easy is kidding themselves, but now I hold it very close to my heart.
I’m also probably one of the largest sponsors of the Legends Tour; across multiple events and as the promoter and underwriter of the Gold Coast PGA Championship. When I became a Tour Member, it was never my intention to be just a playing Member. I wanted to continue my role to support the PGA – and the tour that I am fortunate to play on.
It is my love for the game that drives that. The game has been very important for me; I run quite a large business which has its tensions and problems and golf has always been my escape from my daily routine and a way to get away from work.
The business, Rix Developments, was started by my father Norm. He was able to build an empire; he created it all and he’s worked tirelessly. He still works today – at the age of 87 – and to be honest, I don’t think he’ll ever retire. It is because of the business that I have had the opportunity to support the PGA and other organisations as well. I am proud to say that working with my dad has made it all possible, and that I’ve been able to be a part of the business and to help grow it.
I’ve learned a lot through my time in business, but my credence is loyalty. I think loyalty covers a lot of bands, and people who are loyal to you deserve loyalty back. That means honesty and integrity, so there is no doubt that business has taught me to be responsible and loyal.
When I joined the PGA and went to the first presentation dinner in 2013, I noticed there were no trophies handed out. There were lots of guys winning for the first time and the cash goes into their bank account and that’s the end of it. So, I started sponsoring the presentation dinner, and now all winners receive a trophy from any wins they’ve had in the previous season. It is heartening how many Members have come up to me and said how much it means to them. They may only win once, but they now have a piece of that win that they can keep on their shelf at home as a reminder of the achievement.
As a player, I travel with my wife Wendy, and we are going to places that we’ve never been to, or would never have gone to, if it weren’t for the Tour. I’ve been to Samoa, New Caledonia, the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria – it is taking me to places of the world and Australia that I had never been exposed to. It is a wonderful opportunity to see these places through tournament events. That is my fondest memory, and greatest asset from the whole experience.
I do want to spend more time at golf, but my business doesn’t always allow that. This year I played very few tournaments – maybe 20 – when the average is probably more like 30 or 40. My business gets in the road of my golf, it should be the other way around! We’ve just started another huge project with Rix Developments, so my golf is suffering. Peter Senior is a close personal friend of mine and he says it to me all the time; when he goes to the range, I go to the office, so therein lies the difference.
I am proud to say that Peter and I go way back. I remember one time in the early 90’s, when he shot the course record at Royal Pines – 62 – and I also shot the amateur record. It is one of the proudest achievements to see on the Royal Pines wall, Peter Senior’s Professional record, and my amateur record next to it. I think he is an asset to the world of golf, a decent human being and I think he is exactly what all Professional golfers should be, and also a very successful businessman. He is a fine example to all golfers young and old about what can be achieved.
Ultimately, I think golf and the PGA is in a very strong position in Australia. COVID helped golf at a time when you’d think it might have hurt it, and obviously the sport has boomed. I also think the PGA is doing the right thing getting Australian golf back on television.
I think golf is continuing to shine and it is important that we invest in things like the PGA Membership Pathway Program; it is the future of the game. I see it on the Tour all the time as well, there are so many children who want to play, we run clinics and they are always popular. There is just such a great appetite for golf.