The TGI Golf Partnership, golf’s leading retail services group, was rocked over the festive period by the sudden death of former MD and Chairman Ian Johnston.
The 75-year-old, who is one of the most influential figures in the history of TGI Golf, suffered a cardiac arrest while hill walking near a reservoir in Edinburgh on Boxing Day.
Mr Johnston took the reins of the group from Bill Jardine in 1999 and went on to lay the foundations for the group known today.
Following a hugely successful banking career Ian was brought in by the founding PGA Professionals to steer the ship, initially on a part time basis. However, he soon saw fundamental flaws in how the whole marketplace operated and made it his goal to enhance the value proposition for both the golf pros and wholesalers.
He became full time MD and his next challenge was to unite the Tartan Golf and Golf Ecosse groups, which he did so successfully in 2001. This merger was quickly followed by another with Golfers Direct, which saw the group extend to cover the whole of the UK and Ireland.
In April 2001 Ian was instrumental, alongside Tom Eckford, who was chairman at the time, in bringing current MD Eddie Reid into the business as a Retail Consultant.
Eddie said: “Those of us who worked with Ian in the early days have great memories of a great man.
“The first TGI Golf office was from a back bedroom in Ian’s house and we had a great working relationship. He was very keen to build a culture of a team working to the same philosophy and who loved doing what they do. We worked hard and played hard at that time, we were growing as a company in terms of Partner numbers, but also as a team to service the needs of those Partners.
“Ian was instrumental in creating the foundation of what we are today.”
Tom Eckford, one of the group’s longest-serving Partners, added: “The foresight Ian had to see how the group could progress was incredible. He laid the foundations and put together the infrastructure of the group we have today, he took us from a cottage industry to a hugely respected golf business.
“He was hugely influential on us PGA Pros in the early days, helping our businesses no end. We crossed swords a few times, but he was always there for us – he was the right guy at the right time when we merged Tartan Golf and Golf Ecosse, he was an incredible guy to work with, very clever and hugely respected. He will be missed.”
Everyone involved with TGI Golf extend their condolences to Ian’s wife Carol, son Gordon and daughters Lorna and Elizabeth.