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National honour for newest member of family business

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Andrew Steep may have only become a golf professional in 2008, but he’s been training for that career for most of his life.

The assistant pro at Glendale Golf & Country Club grew up at the course on the western edge of the city. His father, Jim, has been the head pro there for more than 30 years, and added the title of chief operating officer more recently.

And Steep has clearly been a good pupil.

The young pro was named the 2012 recipient of the PGA of Canada’s Moe Norman Apprentice of the Year award last week for his contributions to the game and the club.

Steep was named PGA of Manitoba Assistant of the Year earlier in the year.

A phone call from the president of the national organization left Steep speechless.

"It came as a big shock," said Steep, who lives in Charleswood. "A member of our zone (Brian Dagg of Pine Ridge) won it last year and I didn’t think they would keep it in Manitoba. I didn’t know what to say."

First and foremost, Steep cites his father’s influence as a major reason he’s being recognized for his work.

"I couldn’t say enough about him," Steep said. "He does such a fantastic job here. I grew up watching the way he runs things and how he handles the members and treats the staff. His personality is fantastic. I think more than anything that’s what I picked up from him."

When he isn’t running the pro shop at Glendale, Steep still finds time to play the game competitively. He’s played in the last two PGA of Canada Championships, and represented Manitoba in four of the last five PGA Assistants’ Championships of Canada.

Getting more kids into the sport is a major part of Steep’s work, and not just at Glendale, where he runs the junior program.

"We recently did some charity things at Sturgeon Heights Collegiate," he said. "I try to help spread the game with a golf in schools program through Golf Canada. And some kids from St. Charles Academy come (to Glendale) in the spring and fall for lessons."

Steep is also on his way to becoming a local celebrity. He was giving golf tips during primetime on CityTV over the summer, and has been a guest golf expert on CTV Morning Live.

The name on the award has some special meaning for Steep. He still remembers Norman — considered by many to be one of the greatest ball-strikers of all time — visiting Glendale.

"I met Moe a couple times when I was really young," Steep said. "From what I heard, his favourite place to come in Manitoba was Glendale. All I remember was to say hi to me, he’d give me a jab in the belly with his putter."

Steep spent two winters in Florida at a club called Royal Oak, where Norman used to practise. His address was on a street called Moe Norman Court.

"The amount of stories I heard in two years down there was unbelievable," he said. "It means a lot that the award is named for him."

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

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