Gordon McKnight – Pattaya’s friend and respected golf personality has passed on

Gordon McKnight (1943 – 6 August 2022).

Gordon passed away peacefully in his sleep in his 79th year on Sat Aug 6 at Kaeng Khro Hospital in Chaiyaphum Province following a stroke induced from a fall. He was a well-known and liked member of the expat golfing community in Pattaya where he lived during his almost 30 years of retirement in Thailand. He played golf with his many ex pat friends, mostly Canadians, Americans, English and Europeans who were residents of Pattaya during the ’90s and on into the 2000s.

He had retired in the early ‘90s from his last job in Canada as chief electrical engineer at one of the leading hospitals in North Vancouver, B.C. Gord finally moved up to Chaiyaphum a few years ago, and built a small house and farm with his partner in the beautiful countryside. We had both stopped playing golf since moving up country, but he would occasionally come over to Khon Kaen and we would go out for a few beers and reminisce about the good old times in Pattaya. I also lived in Pattaya for many years before moving to Khon Kaen. I played golf as well as doing some photography for the Pattaya Sports Club and other organizations.

He was enjoyable to play with and often my playing partner in the many weekly golf tournaments which were an integral part of the expat community in Pattaya. Though we weren’t part of the group of Canucks which often horrified the bars and golf tournaments in the Pattaya area, we often played in the same tournaments and were friends of many of them. The Canadian coterie, or Crazy Canucks as we called them, were mostly Canadian and some American ex pats in the oil game who came to Thailand in the 1980s and ‘90s to spend their down time in Pattaya and often married local denizens and built homes and families, thus contributing significantly to the local economy, atmosphere and character.

Jack, Woody, Dan, Gordon and John having a down-down at one of the last golf tournaments that he played in Pattaya.

They became part of the local fabric and were generous with both time and money to organize quality events to help local charities. One of their headquarters was the TQ bar but they also roamed the local entertainment areas and often bought expensive motorbikes such as Harley Davidsons and BMWs, organizing tours of the countryside all over Thailand. Gord and I weren’t in that same league, as they threw around their large salaries from the oil patch, while we were living on small retirement stipends. But we enjoyed their company and had many good times following along when they went out to play, either on the golf course or at other less reputable venues.

Neither Gord nor I were great golfers, though we won our share of trinkets, mugs and bent golf club trophies that were standard fare for participating in the local events. Many bars had their own weekly tournaments as well as the local influential Pattaya Golf Club which was organized to get preferential rates at the courses for its members and also to put on signature golf tournaments. After playing we would all retire to one of the bars to have a drink or two and share in the free food that was often on offer.

Gordon putting with the hockey stick putter that was given to Hoser.

Gordon preferred to stay in Pattaya where he had many friends, and he particularly enjoyed the local music scene and became friends with well-known local musicians such as Aed and Khiow of Carabao Band fame. In 2007 I moved up country to Khon Kaen, following one of the Canuck oil group, named Sean Fields, with his iconic nickname of Hoser. Hoser had started up a yearly event in Khon Kaen for his birthday where his friends would come up from Pattaya to play for a week.

Even when Hoser sadly passed away, the Hoser Memorial Annual continued, and Gord and other Canadian golfers would troop up to Khon Kaen to terrorize the town for a week while playing every day at the local golf courses. This was a favourite event among us ex pats, and we all celebrated Hoser, in particular we relished the Hoser shakes, a potent mixture of milk and different liquors. There were other flourishing events we enjoyed such as the Jackalope Open, a yearly charity event organized by Canadians, and another highlight was the TQ Masters set up and organized by the TQ Bar.

(l-r) Gordon, Alex, John, Jack, Dan and caddy Aoi pause for the cause at 3rd annual Hoser Memorial Golf Tournament played at Plutaluang Golf Course on Friday, May 2, 2014.

Gord and I weren’t leading lights by any means in Pattaya, but still became an integral part of the colourful community which welcomed all comers and contributed to Pattaya becoming a leading golfing centre in Thailand for ex pats during the ‘90s, and still continues today. Though I would suggest it has never surpassed or even emulated the shenanigans and camaraderie that we enjoyed during those special salad days of the 1990s and early 2000s.
RIP Gordon