They say to be good at golf—or any game for that matter—you need some measure of luck.

Tied into that is also the notion of good karma: what you put in, you are likely to get out.

This all makes sense when considering the career of Marty Zlotnik, a man who has raised more money for amateur sport than perhaps any other individual in Canada, let alone BC. An avid golfer for much of his life, Zlotnik has also amassed seven—count’em seven—hole-in-one aces in his career thus far.

Coincidence? Hardly.

For Zlotnik it truly is a tiny return on a large investment.

The fourteenth individual honoured with the W.A.C. Bennett Award, the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s highest honour, Zlotnik was born in Regina before his family moved to Vancouver when he was only six months old. Sports were a way of life for him from an early age, the change of seasons meaning a change of sports. A natural athlete, at sixteen Zlotnik set Canadian junior records in the 100 and 200 yards while dabbling in football and rugby for the Meraloma Club.

Golf was his passion however. Zlotnik first discovered the game through his father and began his lifelong love affair with the game by caddying for him. In 1961, he won the Vancouver city junior championship. In 1969, he represented Canada at the Maccabiah Games in Israel finishing third.

The Zlotnik drive, vision, and organizational ability now so associated with the man with a legendary reputation for turning foundering organizations into outright success stories was evident early on while attending UBC. A member of the university golf team when the sport was struggling in the mid-1960s because of a lack of funding, Zlotnik reorganized the teams, raised funds, and developed a schedule while tripling as manager, coach, and team captain. The sport has been a UBC mainstay ever since. In 1984, at the request of UBC athletic director Bob Hindmarch to save the golf program, Zlotnik formed the Thunderbird Golf Society, which has since raised over $1 million and annually supports UBC’s men’s and women’s golf teams.

In 1998, Zlotnik became chair of the UBC Thunderbird Council, an alumni group devoted to developing fundraising for university athletics and introducing the concept of UBC joining the NCAA. At the same time, through a personal challenge to then-UBC President Martha Piper, which she accepted, Zlotnik created the Thunderbird Millenium Scholarship Breakfast which has raised over $11 million for UBC Athletics scholarships, making it the most successful fundraising event in Canadian athletics. For his prodigious volunteer efforts, Zlotnik was recognized as the 2008 NAADD Volunteer of the Year from a pool of nearly 4000 American and Canadian schools.

Feeling the city needed a PGA event, Zlotnik served as founding chair of the Greater Vancouver Open / Air Canada Championship, a regular PGA Tour stop from 1996-2002. He was also crucial to the Vancouver Grizzlies’ 12,500 season ticket drive that ensured the NBA franchise came to Vancouver. More recently, Zlotnik has served as chair of the Kids Up Front Foundation, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the First Tee organization, while also serving a term as Vancouver Park Board Commissioner.

*Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.*

Zlotnik is also inducted in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. For his UBC biography, please visit