THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF ALBERTA GOLF | 2018
Kananaskis is back Albertans on Tour
Millennials Changing the Face of Golf
Groom Juniors For Greatness ALBERTAGOLF.ORG
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The Alberta Golfer 2018
Max Sekulic sends his iron shot sky high en route to victory at the 2017 Alberta Junior Championship
“YOU KNOW UNDER PRESSURE.” - ADAM SCOTT
“IT’S THE CONSISTENCY.”
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“I’VE KNOWN SINCE DAY ONE.” “IT’S THE CONTROL.” - SO YEON RYU
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“THE SOFTER FEEL.” - RICKIE FOWLER
“IT’S THE DISTANCE.” - BROOKE HENDERSON
“I KNOW BECAUSE I’VE TRIED OTHER GOLF BALLS.” - RUSSELL HENLEY
PLAY ONE, YOU KNOW.
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Learn & Play
Discover & Try 8 60
Alberta Golf Message Everyone Benefits Alberta Golf ’s New Membership Model Full Speed Ahead!
10 Get Golf Ready
Getaways, Practice, Clubs and Clothes. Everything You Need To Start The Year
Become a Community Golf Coach
Alberta Plays Host
Rules of Golf Updates for 2018
Golf Canada Message
T H E A l b Er TA
Profiles of Junior Tours in Alberta
THE offICIAl MAGAZINE of AlbErTA Golf | 2018
No More Viewer Call-Ins! THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF ALBERTA GOLF | 2018
Kananaskis is back Albertans on Tour
Changing the Face of Golf Ryan Yip
Groom Juniors For Greatness
68 Future Links
The Alberta Golfer may be viewed online at www.albertagolf.org
Rocky Mountain Golf Trail Canada’s Most Spectacular Mountain Golf Experiences
Cover: Kananaskis Country Golf Course re-opens this summer, five years after the Flood of the Century. Photo courtesy of Kananaskis Country Golf Course.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Discover the Joys of Nine-Hole Rounds
Fun Formats for the Spring
Golfers Under 35 Are Changing The Face of Golf
Let’s Play 9!
Make Golf a Game for Life
Alberta Golf Foundation Message
THE AlbErTA GolfEr
Millennials and Golf’s Changing Landscape
Tune Up Your Golf Body
Golf Kimberley / Cranbrook
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
Compete & Excel 18
RedTail Hosts the Men’s Amateur
Willow Park Hosts the Ladies Amateur
A Wild Ride Max Sekulic and Brett Hogan Battle It Out
Golf Canada’s Score Centre
Play Your Best
Albertans On Tour
Looping on The Champions Tour
Grooming for Greatness Train Your Junior Golfers for Future Success
Alberta Tour Pros Ready for the Next Step
Connect & Enjoy
Catching Up With Jaclyn Lee
Five Years Later, Kananaskis Country GC is Back
Profile of Fairmont Banff Springs’ 14th Hole
Danny Sahl is on the bag for Vijay Singh
The Challenge Cup
The Year in Pictures
Advancing The Game
Golf Blogs Becoming Very Popular
Alberta’s Next LPGA Star?
What’s New 64 AlbertaGolf.org
Discover & Try
The Golfer Pathway
n 2006, Golf Canada in partnership with the PGA of Canada launched the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) Guide and subsequently released a modified version in 2014. The guide was meant to be “an extension of the goal to place Canada among the top golfing nations in the world”. As explained further along in the introduction: “The guide has played a key influencing role in achieving international success for players while also assisting our goal of fostering a life-long engagement in the sport of golf by Canadian enthusiasts from coast to coast.” The content within the LTPD (more commonly referred to as LTAD, to acknowledge the term athlete as opposed to player) guide has been carefully developed and critically explained throughout the 78 page ‘blueprint’ for success. The guide appeals to Instructors and Coaches, Parents, Facility Owners and Operators as well as Athletes and Players. From the time a player enters the game of golf to the time they exit (and perhaps they re-enter at a later stage) the guide sets a pathway for success at every level. Most importantly the guide recognizes that success is defined quite differently for each individual and benchmarks change throughout a golfer’s trajectory in the game. The guide establishes the basis for a strong support system linked to a clearly defined player development strategy – The Golfer Pathway. In 2018 Alberta Golf is re-committing its focus on LTAD as we continue to support High Performance Athletes along their journey to the podium. We will broaden our offering to include support at the club, regional and provincial levels and will circle back to the final stage in the LTAD pathway and support recreational golfers who as part of our Golf For Life strategy.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Our 2018 plan breaks down the Golfer Pathway into four development stages. Alberta Golf will introduce proprietary programs and support industry partners throughout the province that 1) introduce more individuals to the game, 2) teach individuals how to get better at the game, 3) allow individuals to play in competitions and 4) promote social activities to celebrate accomplishments.
2018 Board of Directors Peter Major, President – Calgary G&CC Tom Zariski, Vice President – Dinosaur Trail GC Tiffany Gordon, Secretary– Heritage Pointe GC Bill McNaughton, Treasurer– Glencoe G&CC Lorraine Moster, Director at Large – Golf Canada Gold Peter Davies, Director at Large – Pine Hills GC Mark Bamford, Director at Large – Glendale G&CC Kendra Koss, Director at Large – Earl Grey GC
Our primary focus is on supporting existing coaches, clubs and recreational golf programs to increase the base of our overall player pyramid. In order to achieve this objective, we need to increase the perceived relevance we have with our 50,000 members by providing these golfers with more knowledge and tools with which to become engaged with the game they love. We intend to inform them of the many opportunities available to them as a player, as a parent, as a coach or as an operator by modifying our website slightly to provide a more enhanced user experience. At the same time we will be expanding the number of digital assets available for those who like to stay on top of everything from their desktop.
Alonzo Strange, Director at Large – Blackhawk GC
“Our first communication “tool” will be the introduction of a listing service included in the ‘What’s New’ section of this 2018 edition of The Alberta Golfer. In the future this piece will be the comprehensive outline for various introductory, community, learning, clinic and playing opportunities being offered by various associations, tours and clubs throughout the province. While our online listing in 2018 is a great start in generating excitement and increasing member knowledge, we expect the 2019 version will be oversubscribed with content. Like in golf, it takes time - but it’s time well spent.”n
Alberta Golf Contact Info
Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer
2018 Staff Phil Berube, Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer Jack Lane, Director, Business Development & Communications Jennifer Davison, Director, Sport Development & High Performance Shauna Maisey, Manager, Golf Course Services, Membership & Administration Stephen Wigington, Manager, Competitions Anthony Stirling, Coordinator, Recreational & Community Events
2018 Golf Canada Directors Leslie Dunning, President, Earl Grey GC Susan MacKinnon, Provincial Council Chair, Willow Park G&CC
#22, 11410 27 Street SE Calgary, AB T2Z 3R6 P: 403.236.4616 F: 403.236.2915 Toll Free: 1.888.414.4849 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org www.albertagolf.org
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Get Golf Ready by Andrew Penner
The Boulders Golf Club, Scottsdale AZ
he social media post sends a shockwave through your system. The news is so good, so exciting, you let go a highpitched “yee haw!” in your living room. Your partner looks over and wonders what’s come over you. “The course is opening in two weeks, honey!” you say, wide-eyed, bouncing from wall to wall - “Gotta get ready!” Without a doubt, getting ready for the golf season is a prerequisite, an obligation of the obsession, for everyone “in the fold.” And there are many moving parts to consider. For example, what are the latest weapons you’ll want to stash in your quiver? And where are you going to go for a quick, preseason getaway? Most importantly, perhaps, how are you going to fix those nagging issues with your golf swing? Your flexibility? (Or lack thereof). So much to do, so little time.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
The Pre-Season Getaway
To whet your whistle and iron out the kinks, a quick pre-season getaway to a place where flagsticks flicker in the breeze is the ideal way to kick off the golf season. Here are a few of your best options. Vancouver Island – Hop on a one-hour flight to Victoria or Comox and you’re minutes away from great golf. True, it may not be short-sleeve weather in March but, bottom line, you can play golf on Vancouver Island year round. And sauntering along the lush green fairways of Bear Mountain (two courses by Jack Nicklaus) or Crown Isle (only five minutes from the Comox Valley Airport) is going to put a smile on your face. Especially when you consider your buddies back home are scraping windshields and shoveling their driveways from yet another 10-centimeter dump. www.golfvancouverisland.ca. The Valley of the Sun – Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa – you pick – are all “can’t miss”
destinations for a quick early spring (or winter) getaway. We-Ko-Pa – which features two spectacular desert courses in Fountain Hills – never disappoints. Other upscale retreats – such as The Boulders, TPC Scottsdale, and Troon North - are also awesome places to play. If you need to watch the pocketbook, Papago, a rock-solid city course just fifteen minutes from Sky Harbour Airport, is often considered one of the best bangs for your buck in the state. www.experiencescottsdale.com. St. George, Utah – Just one hour north of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, the golf scene in St. George, Utah is a much more down-to-earth desert golf genre that budget-conscious golfers will appreciate. Dubbed “The Red Rock Golf Trail,” the panoramic vistas, half-dozen dazzling desert courses, and hot dry weather make this one of the most underrated and beautiful golf destinations in North America. www.redrockgolftrail.com
Let’s be honest, there’s probably a reason (or two) why you’re not on the tour making millions. Yes, that head-high snap-hook could indicate some sort of mechanical malfunction with your swing. And if your “move” needs a makeover, thankfully, there are a number of indoor (and outdoor) golf centres in Alberta where talented teaching pros can sort out your self-styled swat. Here are three of the top year-round golf centres in the province. Golf Canada Calgary Centre – With 52 enclosed hitting stalls (40 are heated) and seven full-time PGA of Canada Teaching Professionals, Golf Canada Calgary Centre is the go-to place for pre-season practice in Calgary. Whether it’s a spring tune-up or a complete overhaul, the professional instructors at Golf Canada will guide you into a program or lesson series that can turn your hard-left heatseekers into laser-straight missiles. www.golfcanadacentre.ca. The facility is also home to DM Golf Performance – a first-rate fitness facility that helps golfers perform better through improved motion and strength training. www.dmgolfperformance.com Grand Slam Golf Academy (Calgary) – If the most technologically-advanced teaching methodologies intrigue you, a session (or five) at the Grand Slam Golf Academy in Calgary should be high on your “to do” list before the season hits. Thanks to the RoboGolfPro – the only one of its kind in Western Canada – students can “feel”
the perfect golf swing for their ability and physique. The state-of-the-art teaching and practice facility also boasts the SAMPutt Lab (your putting stroke will be dissected in ways you never thought possible) and the most advanced virtual simulators on the market today. www.gsga.ca Evergreen Golf Centre (Lethbridge) – Golfers in the deep south of the province have a climate – and a golf centre – that is all their own. This often means the 9-hole par-3 course at the Evergreen Golf Centre in Lethbridge is open on regular greens...even in the dead of winter! This well-rounded, well-maintained facility also boasts an excellent covered driving range (with overhead heaters) and year-round lessons from some of Alberta’s finest instructors. Their $99 “Get Golf Ready” group lesson program is a great way to kick off the year. www.evergreengolfcentre.com
On days when you don’t want to wear your knickers or air-conditioned kilt (going “retro” can be tricky), you’ll likely want to opt for something a lot more, well, comfortable and contemporary. The trend to high-performance designs and fabrics continues to be a major focus for golf apparel companies. Here’s a look at a few brands to watch for. Puma Golf – Make no mistake, there is nothing “foul” about Rickie Fowler in golf gear. And PUMA is more than happy to have him (and Lexi Thompson, Graham DeLaet, and many others) flaunt the goods. PUMA
Grand Slam Golf Academy in Calgary is a great practice facility to help you get ready for spring.
“An obligation of the obsession” GOLF’s Spring Summer 2018 Collection features bold and fresh colours, cuttingedge technologies, and dazzling patterns. Known for fusing off-course trends with high-tech performance, the Botanic Polo – complete with eye-catching micro-floral print and Puma’s DryCELL technology – is a fine example of what this brand is all about. www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf Bradley Allen –Looking to wear clothing with a Canadian connection? Look no further than Bradley Allen. Founder Brad Franklin – a former PGA of Canada Assistant Golf Professional – has become one of the most respected clothing designers in the game. “Rooted in golf’s traditions yet informed by the present,” the sophisticated yet functional line features men’s polos, knits, layering pieces, pants, and shorts. The PrimaLoft Graphite Melange Vest – with unprecedented warmth-to-thickness insulation – is perfect for Alberta’s unpredictable wind and weather. www.bradley-allen.com Sunice Golf – When over 60 PGA and LPGA pros (including phenom Brooke Henderson) choose to wear your gear (for no endorsement dollars!), it’s a pretty good indication you’re doing something right. And, for over 40 years, Sunice has been doing many things right. Especially for golfers who want lightweight, breathable, flexible, and waterproof clothing that will protect them from the elements. Their vests and jackets – including the Ladies’ Bianca Duotech Softshell Stretch Jacket - are a prime example. www.sunice.com
The Westin Bear Mountain Resort, Victoria BC
While your laminated woods might work well for kindling, they probably aren’t getting the job done on the course anymore. If you’re due for an equipment upgrade, heed the advice of professionals. See your friendly neighborhood golf pro. Demo different clubs to find what you like and what works. And get fitted! That said, there are, literally, hundreds of premium golf clubs out there that can give your game a nudge in the right direction. While you can’t “buy yourself a golf game,” with properly fitted, state-of-the-art sticks your swings are going to be sweeter. And you will save strokes. Here are a few clubs worth trying in 2018. PING G400 – PING founder Karsten Solheim started making clubs in his garage in California back in 1959. Today, nearly sixty years later, the “love” he put into those experiments is still evident. PING’s latest installment – the G400 series – is yet another example of the passion and precision this company was founded on. The G400 Driver – the fastest and most forgiving driver ever created by the company features a forged face, tungsten backweight, and a drag reducing shape that will have you bombing it by all your buddies. www.ping.com PXG – Created by GoDaddy founder and billionaire, Bob Parsons, PXG (“Parsons
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Extreme Golf”) is causing a major buzz in the golf industry. Although extremely expensive – a full set will run you about $5,000 - these stylish and progressive clubs feel like butter. With more and more touring pros (and beautiful Instagram celebrities) signing on the dotted line to play and promote PXG, it’s safe to say this fastgrowing company is here to stay. www.pxg.com TaylorMade – Since 1979 the mission at TaylorMade has remained constant: to produce the best performing golf clubs in the world. And, like all the major manufacturers, their product line is deep and wide. Although TaylorMade is widely known for making some of the best drivers in the game, their irons have also become top-calibre tools built for every skill level. For discerning “players,” the P790 irons combine forged construction and, thanks to their SpeedFoam technology, enhanced speed, feel, and forgiveness, www.taylormadegolf.ca
Not surprisingly, given the age we’re in, hi-tech gadgets are blazing new trails in the industry. From awesome apps to sleek GPS watches – and everything in between – there are hundreds of smart little devices that can help you bag your birdies and track your tee shots. Here are a few of the best new gadgets out there.
Arccos 360 – Dubbed as “The World’s Smartest Golf Performance Tracking System,” the Arccos 360 system – thanks to 14 individual sensors that are inserted into the butt-end of each club – captures all your performance data in real time. It then uses GPS, advanced analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to provide detailed information on how far you hit each club, which club to hit in every situation, what to practice, and much more. www.arccosgolf.com TLink Watches - What’s the quickest and easiest way to get your distance to the front, middle, and back of the green plus all the hazards in your line of fire, you ask? Easy. Just glance at your watch. That’s the premise behind Tlink. You can also track your stats and your fitness with these sleek and stylish watches. www.golftlink.com Swing Caddie SC200 – Not long ago launch monitors – which instantaneously calculate ball speed, clubhead speed, carry distance, smash factor, and more – were thousands of dollars and could only be accessed at highend golf training facilities. Not anymore. The Swing Caddie SC200 is a portable and affordable personal launch monitor (about the same size as your phone) that provides instant, voice-enabled feedback on all the key numbers you need to know after every shot. www.voicecaddy.com Best of luck as you hit the course this Spring! n
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The Rocky Mountain
Golf Trail by Andrew Penner
the world consider a trip down Alberta’s “Rocky Mountain Golf Trail” a bucketlist adventure. While every mountain course in Alberta shares some similar traits (breathtaking scenery tops this list!), each one boasts its own character, its own unique flavour, that makes it a worthwhile stop on an Alberta mountain golf getaway. Obviously, Banff and Jasper stand apart in terms of their “Golden Age” history and their inspired architecture. Envisioned by the master, Stanley Thompson, one of the greatest golf course architects of all time, Banff and Jasper have an air, an ambiance, about them that simply does not exist anywhere else in Canada. With their storied history, their location near iconic CPR hotels (built during the railroading glory days), and their glorious settings in National Parks, these are courses in rarefied air, indeed. And if your itinerary can only include two mountain golf courses, these “classics” should be on the top of your list. Not surprisingly, while both courses were designed approximately 90 years ago by the man they called “The Toronto Terror,” (Thompson died penniless in 1953, his Sundre Golf Club, #6
here’s something about heading west – to the mountains – that appeals to, well, just about everyone. Not that you can’t have fun on the flatlands. You certainly can. But add some elevation - some ice-scoured peaks, some pine-scented air, some scintillating views – and many outdoor games seem to get a tad more interesting. Sometimes a lot more interesting. The great mountain golf courses in Alberta would be a testament to that. Whether it’s a quick day trip “outta Dodge” or a week-long getaway to your favourite mountain courses, Alberta is home to an awesome collection of mountain layouts that are the envy of the
The Alberta Golfer 2018
country. The Stanley Thompsondesigned masterpieces in Banff and Jasper immediately come to mind as courses that have been swooned over for decades. However, Alberta’s claim to fame as a world-class mountain golf destination goes a lot deeper than that famous one-two punch. Throw in the outstanding courses in Canmore and Kananaskis – as well as foothills “gems” such as Redwood Meadows, Wintergreen, Water Valley, Pine Hills in Rocky Mountain House, and Sundre, to name a handful – and it’s easy to see why golf aficionados from around
flamboyant style and love of whiskey was well-documented), both have an aura that is all their own. A true resort course that is both playable and pristine, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course remains virtually unchanged from its original build in 1924. And, fingers crossed, it will always stay this way. Relatively “easy” by contemporary standards, Jasper’s quirky charms and gorgeous routing are second to none. The surrounding mountains – and the finish along Lac Beauvert – are sublime. Thompson’s eccentric flair for puzzling contours, perched greens, moats, mounds, and bold bunkering is evidenced throughout. With all the humps and hollows, nasty slopes, and artistic musings, Jasper is, at the end of the day, simply one of the greatest mountain golf experiences in the world. And, perhaps, the best part? It won’t beat you up! The Fairmont Banff Springs, on the other hand, is a beauty and a beast. But, while the layout definitely favours powerful hitters, the many “wow” moments during the round can be equally enjoyed by all. For example, the jaw-dropping 4th (the legendary “Devil’s Cauldron,” which features a punchbowl green protected by an emerald lake and a clan of unruly bunkers) and the riveting riverside run on the back nine make this experience one that, rightfully, has been revered for decades. But, when it comes to “famous” mountain golf courses, the two Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses at Kananaskis – Mount Kidd and Mount Lorette – can certainly hold their own. Damaged – well, to be honest, basically destroyed – in the Flood of the Century in 2013, the comeback story here is one for the ages. During limited preview play in 2017 (after four excruciatingly long years of restoration and rebuilding), the consensus from the fortunate few who played Mount Lorette was overwhelmingly positive. While Canmore-based architect Gary Browning was hired to “modernize”
Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club, #6
both courses, the routing and hole configurations are virtually the same as they were before the flood. However, Browning’s subtle, “minimalist” stamp has given both courses a softer, smoother, and more player-friendly demeanor. Mount Lorette will open to the public this spring and Mount Kidd will open later in the summer in phases. Without a doubt, “the buzz” surrounding the reopening of Kananaskis will continue to be a major story in 2018. (see p.16) But exceptional mountain golf “stories” are also written every time golfers peg it up on the heralded mountain golf courses in Canmore. Both the Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club and the Silvertip Golf Course have a knack for “wowing” visiting golfers with dramatic, mountainfilled backdrops and stunning holes that plunge down the fall lines and careen through rugged, pine-framed playing corridors. Stewart Creek, also designed by Gary Browning, is a gorgeous, mountainside crusade that features challenging holes benched on the rugged slopes just minutes from downtown Canmore in the Three Sisters development. With impeccable turf conditions that will rival anything you’ve ever played, the clean, contemporary, and upscale mantra here is impossible not to appreciate. The 7009-yard course, which incorporates plenty of creek crossings, old mine ruins, natural rock outcroppings, and a number of towering solitary pines to indicate target lines, is spiced with natural, lay-ofthe-land features as opposed to obvious machine-made shapes and contours.
Situated directly across the valley from Stewart Creek, Silvertip, a Les Furber design, has a much different feel. Large tees, perched greens, rock-lined ponds, three-tiered greens, blind shots, sharp doglegs, wild contours, and dramatically downhill and uphill shots are the norm at Silvertip. This is mountain golf on steroids. But what a thrilling, edge-ofyour-seat ride! Every hole is completely different than the next and the visuals (especially the view of the Three Sisters from the 4th tee) are phenomenal. Surrounded by mountains, the beautiful Bow River, and nestled in the historic Canmore townsite, the scenery at the beautiful Canmore Golf & Curling Club is also awesome. A true communityoriented course that’s fun, walkable, and on par with some of the best private clubs in Canada (except it’s open to the public!) the Canmore Golf & Curling Club is one of Alberta’s most underrated courses. For obvious reasons, the snow-capped Rockies are an ideal setting for a game of golf. These are the mountains that define Alberta. And the many stunning courses that are routed near the glacierfed rivers, the cliffs and crags, the soaring summits, of these amazing mountains are, rightfully, considered “the stars” of Alberta’s heralded golf scene. So whether it’s Banff, Kananaskis, Canmore, or Jasper – or perhaps some other locale that’s positioned near these pristine peaks - rest assured, you’re in for an “elevated” golf experience. n
Connect & Enjoy
KANANASKIS 2.0 by Kevin Smith
ananaskis Country Golf is back on course!
Q and A session with Kevin Smith and Kananaskis Country Golf Course Head Pro Bob Paley about the 2018 re-opening of the Alberta provincial gem that was destroyed in the 2013 flood. The Gary Browning led restoration of the 36-hole layout is almost complete; 18 holes will be open for play in May of 2018 and all 36 holes will be open by late summer 2018.
Q: What did you take away from the dozen or so sneak-apeek events you had in the fall of 2017 where supporters of the restoration of the golf course got to play the restored Mount Lorette course? A: It was a celebration of golf. It was a celebration of this really special place. It was super rewarding for us to get a chance to see human beings out on the golf course again on golf carts enjoying the game of golf and really just celebrating.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Q: What was the feedback from people who had a chance to play the course? A: We had high expectations going in and it exceeded every expectation that we had. So great to see the smiles on people’s faces when they got out there and just to see some of the reaction and the feedback that we got. The fact that the greens were as pure as they were and the golf course just felt more playable, it is a little bit more wide open and fun to play. Just everybody was blown away by the shape of the courses and the experience of the day and getting a chance to hear our story and that’s something that meant a great deal to us as well.
Q: During the sneak-a-peek you recounted a story just after the Evan Thomas River spilled it’s banks in 2013. You had called course superintendent Calvin McNeely and told him there’s a big problem here and the course could be shut down for a couple weeks. Could you have ever imagined it would be closed for five years?
A: No, not at all. But there were some people who didn’t think it would happen (getting restored) at all. We believed it was going to happen, but I don’t think anyone thought it would take the amount of time that it did take but for a variety of different reasons it did. Bottom line is we got to the finish line and we can’t wait to get back being open with renovated facilities and two brand new golf courses and a new team and creating some unbelievable experiences for our guests and our team. I think it’s going to be super emotional just to see people and see smiles on people’s faces and just to have other human beings here with golf clothes on instead of vests, and to have their equipment and golf clubs and not jack hammers and excavators.
Q: Are Albertans being handed back two golf courses that are even better than before the flood? A: Absolutely, it’s just a better version of itself. No matter the golf course whether it’s Augusta National, Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, they all go through renovations and restorations and our
River that separates Mount Kidd RV Park and our golf course, all the way through to the north part of the property near the water treatment plant and the 14th hole on Mount Lorette. Big rip rap rock has been used to fortify and build up the berms that were in place before, so those are higher which has given us some pretty cool looks on holes as well. So we’re confident we’re in a better spot than we were in before the flood. I don’t think anybody in this world would ever say you can Mother Nature proof or water proof anything but we’re certainly in a way, way stronger position than we were pre-flood.
course is no different to that. One of the silver linings to this whole project was to look at every hole with Gary Browning and our management team who have been out here for 30 years and just evaluating every shot on every hole and what could be done and all with the thought in mind that this was a restoration. Even if there were no design changes there were better grasses, better irrigation system, better drainage and on a number of holes there are improvements to the green structure. The courses are now more inclusive than it was before. The courses were built during a time that was pretty punitive; the harder the golf course the better and that’s something we really wanted to address. We’ve added two new tee boxes that are shorter than the previous ones, so right now the yardage range is anywhere from 3,600 yards to 7,200 yards on one golf course. Essentially the new tees cut the golf course in half so people who have never played before have an opportunity to come out and play a game of golf on a course that’s fitted for them and that’s super exciting for us.
Q: When and how can Albertans book tee times for the 2018 reopening season? A: Tee time bookings for individual bookings will start online on our website kananaskisgolf.com on Monday, March 12th. Wednesday, March 14th our phone bookings will be on our toll-free reservation line 1-877-591-2525. As for what we expect there seems to be a significant buzz about the re-opening of the golf courses and people wanting to see what’s been done to them and how they’ve changed. One of the challenges is that we’ll be opening 18 holes on May 10th, around June 1st to 27 holes and around August 1st to 36 holes so we’re not going to be a 36-hole complex right from the start.
Q: How much more protected from future flooding are the golf courses now? A: In March of 2016 there was a separate project running next to ours that was a river restoration project and what it did was fortify the river bank from the south end of the property, the Evan Thomas
Q: You’re a head pro but you live on the golf course and were part of the restoration team. I’ve seen you out here with the hard hat and construction vest on. What do you know now about restoring a golf course that you didn’t five years ago? A: It’s mind blowing. When we were going through the whole process there were just so many revelations like seeing mounds on a fairway and thinking that just must have been what was there and not knowing it had a specific purpose as it relates to drainage or how greens are built and what an architect looks at and feels and how the process works. Blown away by the number of people that it takes to build a course and the pride that these people put into creating a golf course whether they are the designers, the on-course workers, the contractors, it’s amazing. That was one of the many silver linings for all of us, not just myself, to learn what the construction process is all about and to have a hand in it creatively and see the changes that we think are going to be best out here. I know way more now than I probably ever should but I’ve been blessed to be a part of this whole thing. n
Compete & Excel
RedTail T Hosts the Men’s Amateur
here is one official site for this summer’s Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur: RedTail Landing. But when the players post their final scores they will probably feel like they have played four different courses. “Every time you play it, even on back-to-back days, it can feel like a completely different course,” said RedTail Landing head professional Joshua Davison. The big reason is simple: the wind. “The prevailing wind is from the northwest. But if the wind switches, which it often does out here, and comes from the southeast it can be a two-to-three club difference. “Nobody gets bored at RedTail.”
by Curtis Stock
A $6-million links-style project designed by Puddicombe Golf which opened in 2003 - just in time to host that year’s Alberta Open - the course’s chameleon-like variety is also accentuated because of the five very distinct tee boxes which range from 5,500 yards all the way to a staggering 7,300 yards. Davison expects the course will play closer to 7,000 yards for the Amateur.“ In all likelihood it will be a hybrid of our black and blue tees,” said Davison, who has been on board at RedTail from the beginning and has been the club’s head pro since 2009.“That will give the lads more than enough of a test.” At its sternest, RedTail Landing can be a beast. But Davison doesn’t want to see that happen for the Amateur. “Some courses toughen their layouts for tournaments making the course as tough as possible. But I’m of the opposite frame of mind and Alberta Golf and I are on the same page regarding this approach to course set-up. “I’d like to see it set up so the guys can light it up. I’d love to see something like 15-to-20 under par win it. That would be awesome.
“Nobody gets bored at RedTail.” 18
The Alberta Golfer 2018
No. 11 which has been nicknamed Oceans 11 because you have to go over water twice - first off the tee box and then again on the approach to the green. “No. 11 is a great Par-5,” Jagare Ridge head pro Tyler Rumpel said in that survey.
The tall fescue, bunkers and shifting winds will make RedTail Landing Golf Club a great test for the 2018 Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship.
“We’re not going to hide the pins or anything like that. But we’re not going to put every pin in the center of the greens either; they will all be accessible placements. “You don’t want the general public to see high scores; I don’t want anyone thinking that this course is impossible or get the idea that it’s so tough that only the best can play it.” “There are different kinds of tough,” Stuart Hendley, a multiple international and Canadian Tour winner, said prior to winning the 2003 Alberta Open. “There is gimmicky tough, unfair tough and then there is RedTail, which is just tough. It’s tough but it’s fair. There isn’t anything gimmicky about it. Not one weak hole.” “It will be fair just as it is for our clientele every day”, concurred Davison. Going low at RedTail isn’t easy. Especially if the wind howls the way it can. But with its generously wide fairways and perfectly manicured greens - “if you hit your putt on line it’s going to go in,” said Davison - it is possible as James Love demonstrated when he shot a course-record 64 in the 2005 Alberta Open - a score which was equaled by Royal Mayfair assistant professional Mike Belbin in the 2015 Alberta Assistants Championship. “I’ve always liked RedTail but then I’ve always liked Puddicombe designs,” said Belbin. “It gives you a bit of everything and it tests every part of your game. It doesn’t force you to lay up off the tee; you can hit driver on most of the holes.
“It’s reachable in two for the long hitters. But you’ve got all the water to cross off the tee with fescue on the right and fescue on the left. Then there’s the approach to a wellbunkered green with more water in front of the green.” “No. 11 is so memorable,” said Davison. “It’s the absolute definition of risk/reward and begins with the tee shot - how much of the water do you want to bite off? Then, if you hit a good drive, do you dare go for it in two?” Davison said No. 11 is the start of their course’s Amen Corner. “No. 12 is a great Par-3 over water and over sand. The green is wide but shallow. “Then you get to No. 13 which has a split fairway with a massive water hazard in the middle. Left is the easier tee shot but leaves a more challenging approach where you have to fly the bunkers and land it softly which is certainly possible because the greens hold nicely. Right is tougher but leaves a straight-in approach. Another risk/reward hole.” “RedTail has always been one of our favourite designs,” said Grant Puddicombe, managing director of Puddicombe Golf which has been involved in close to 100 golf course projects in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and Japan. “What you see is what you get and golfers like that. It’s entire character is unique.” Getting the July 16-19 Sun Life Financial Alberta Amateur is a “feather in the cap” for RedTail according to Davison. “We’ve hosted the Alberta Open five times and held PGA of Alberta events like the Alberta Assistants.
“The Par-3s are probably the most difficult part of the course.”
“But the Alberta Amateur is Alberta Golf’s most prestigious event. It’s their baby; it’s their big event of the season. Only the best amateurs play in it.
A solid test of golf from start to finish with great variety and not a single cookie-cutter hole, RedTail Landing is also home to what was easily the favorite hole in an Edmonton Journal survey of 40 Edmonton golf pros and managers:
“I’m really excited to be able to hop on board. I know Alberta Golf is looking forward to playing RedTail and we’re very proud to be hosting this event.From the owners to the food and beverage staff, we’re all very thrilled.” n
Learn & Play
Tune up Your Golf Body Focus on Your Stability to Swing Freely by Andrea Kosa
olf season is just around the corner and there is no better time than now to start working on your game by preparing your body for better movement. Stability is a fundamental component of the complex movement of a golf swing. The more moving parts to control, the more the golfer will need to rely on timing and athletic ability to get back to the ball. Sometimes this works, but when you add pressure or different conditions it can lead to missed targets. Tight areas in our body that should be moving can lead the body to sacrifice stability in another area and create unwanted compensatory movements. Not only can this lead to errant shots, but also an increased risk of injury. Three areas that you can focus on to create stability include: Balance, Core Activation and Improved Mobility of the upper back and chest. Golfers want to deliver the club efficiently to the ball with the most power and optimal direction consistently. Taking care of your body to improve these areas of stability can allow your body to focus on technique rather than protecting you from falling over.This will help you prevent injury and keep swinging freely at your target. Here are three corrective exercises that can help improve your ability to swing your club. If you experience pain while doing them, stop and ask for help from a medical professional like a physiotherapist to fully assess and make recommendations.
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CORE ACTIVATION: Start with lying on your back with legs straight. Lift your left leg up with knee and hip at 90 degrees. Using your right hand with right arm straight – squish a sponge hard between hand and knee. Lift head up off floor when doing this exercise and remember to breathe! Hold for count of 5 and repeat 3-5 times on each side.
OPEN BOOKS: This is to help maximize your mobility so you can reduce loading into other areas to reduce sways and maintain posture. Lying on your side with knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, activate your core (no arching of lower back). Lift top arm away from bottom to try to get both shoulder blades on the floor. Look at the moving hand the whole time to minimize stress in your neck.Take a deep breath in at the end of this movement then return to start position. Repeat 5-8 times on each side.
BALANCE: Start with working on your balance by standing on one leg for a count of 20 seconds. Increase the challenge by trying again with your eyes closed! To maximize this skill – work on AirPlanes. Get into the start position with back leg extended and arms out – add some turns to left and right. Goal would be to hold this position for 20-30 seconds on each side. n
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Millennials and Golf’s Changing Landscape by John Gordon
ike all businesses, golf has found “millennial” easy to define but a challenge to embrace, much less engage. From the definition standpoint, here’s a concise demographic summary. A “millennial”, also known generically as a member of “Generation Y” or an “Echo Boomer,” (because they are the offspring of Baby Boomers), is generally considered to be someone born in the early 1980s up to the late 1990s and early 2000s. At this point, most range between 18 and 34 years of age. In the U.S., millennials now slightly outnumber Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964. That statistic is reflected in Canada, where we identify Boomers being born between 1947 and 1966. In any case, millennials now represent the largest workforce cohort in North America as Boomers reach retirement age. So that’s the definition, which reflects the reality that every industry must address to succeed. Undeniably, golf is struggling with that challenge, perhaps more than most because of its unique status. Is it a game? A sport? An industry? For many years, it has been opined that “golf business” is an oxymoron. Perhaps it is because “golf” has relied on its 500-year legacy to expect its ongoing survival, rather than approach the sport for what it is: a consumer-based product. One that’s under siege from some formidable competition for the entertainment dollar as never before. That’s just a cold hard fact. And that fact is reflected in the challenges that the sport faces, with well-documented declining or flat-lining participation statistics. Golf must evolve.
TopGolf facilities have successfully combined golf and a fabulous party atmosphere to attract the 35-and-under demographic.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Today, millennials, a significant market segment with a huge upside, represent that evolutionary prerogative.
The challenge for golf is multi-faceted and difficult, perhaps more so than other industries. In a great demographic divide, golf is controlled, for the most part, by Baby Boomers who, as owners, operators and club members, seem perversely, inextricably tied to the traditional business model. They don’t (or won’t) understand the expectations of millennials. That’s a whiff, in golf terms. “Successful modern brands understand that the demand for their product(s) comes from unique customer segments,” according to the Golf and the Millennial Generation study by Golf 20/20, an industry-wide coalition of U.S. golf organizations. “Each has a personality, a set of needs and a certain willingness to spend… In order to deepen the engagement level of our current millennial golfers, and attract and retain the millions of prospects who tell us they want ‘in,’ golf needs to take a close look at itself… We must modernize our brand.” Kris Hart is the founder and CEO of www.nextgengolf.com and co-chair of Golf 20/20’s Millennial Task Force. He says in order to address the needs and wants of millennials, golf courses must reorient themselves to become “experiential entertainment facilities.” Not “reinvent.” “reorient.” He doesn’t mean courses must employ gimmicks such as 15-inch holes, golf boards and bikes, and other passing fads. The integrity of the game must be preserved. Instead, he emphasizes that millennials want action, technology, updated food and beverage options, high customer service standards, and an overt element of excitement. They want to “golf.” And have fun doing it. “These are educated, connected and value-oriented young people who are evaluating golf against their myriad other entertainment options,” says Hart. “When they go through that process, how do we ensure golf has a seat at the table?”
“They (Millennials) are savvy, value-oriented and social.” TopGolf combines golf and entertainment off the course. With more than 30 venues, largely in the U.S., TopGolf, in partnership with Cineplex, plans to open its first Canadian venue in 2019. “Each venue features fun and competitive golf games for all ages, climate-controlled playing bays similar to a bowling lane, an impressive food and drink menu, private spaces for groups of any size, HDTVs to watch the big game and a music selection that will make every visit feel like a party,” according to its web site. TopGolf entertained, and the emphasis is on “entertained,” more than 13 million customers in 2017, half of whom were non-golfers. Its winning formula, according to Director Jeehae Lee, is “an interactive play experience, great food, music, and a community atmosphere.” Exactly what everyone wants from golf, right? Where did we go off track? More importantly, how do we get back on the demographic train? To assume the TopGolf experience will translate into more on-course golfers is akin to assuming every millennial who takes part in other currently popular entertainment activities among that demographic such as axe-throwing or paintball will become a lumberjack or a sniper.
So where does this leave course operators? Don MacKay has a unique perspective. As a Golf Canada Director at Large and past-president of the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada, he has been battling golf’s challenges for many years on several fronts. Not only is he the co-owner of Muskoka Highlands Golf Links in Bracebridge, Ont., but he also chairs Golf Canada’s Membership Committee, among other association duties. MacKay says progressive golf facilities will adapt the successful aspects of the TopGolf experience to their courses. “You have to push the right buttons, no matter who your customer is and to do that, you may have to change the way you run things without alienating any one group. If younger golfers want to hoot and holler and play music, so be it, as long as it’s not compromising the game. Who cares what the dress code is, as long as you’re respectful of other players and the course? Do it right, and they may evolve into core golfers in the years to come.” From a Golf Canada perspective, MacKay also notes that a reluctance to embrace the non-traditional expectations of younger golfers is impacting club and association membership levels. Of our country’s six million “golfers,” only about 300,000 belong to a provincial association and, by extension, Golf Canada, and only about two-thirds of those have a current handicap factor. In a stark departure from the traditional approach, MacKay says, “for the good of golf, we have to be relevant not only to those people who already play the game but to those who might want to play the game.” He suggests, and with good reason, that a new benefit-laden and entertainment-based incentive would attract those 5.7-million or so Canadians interested in the game to become part of the golf culture.
The Northern California Golf Association owns both Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge. PGA of America professional Cole Handley leads the NCGA’s Millennial program, one that has been adopted in some fashion by at least 19 other state golf associations. He says millennials have an insatiable appetite for entertainment options and, for golf, that means they’re ever-aware of the alternatives for their time and money. To paraphrase his key message, golf facilities have to give them an experience that, when they pick up their phone, you’ve given them something worth sharing with their friends. “You have to keep them engaged, even when they are not at your course.” Glenn Gray co-chairs the Golf 20/20 Millennial Task Force with Kris Hart. A vicepresident of Buffalo Agency, a global golf and sport marketing agency, he is very aware
of the urgency of attracting an affluent and acquisitive millennial market share to golf. Even with his expertise, he admits it is a formidable challenge. “Putting all ‘millennials’ into one bucket is impossible. What are their various expectations? What is their budget? What is their time commitment? They are savvy, valueoriented and social. “ Overall, (oxymoron alert) “golf” as a “business” has been late to the social media world, to its detriment. One negative review on social media is one too many, yet most courses do not have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, not only to defend themselves but to promote their product.
tectonic movement, not only to address the current demographic bubble but to anticipate future changes? Hart and Gray co-authored a blog on www.wearegolf.org, titled “Are You Ready? How the Golf Industry Can Help Prepare You.” The article cites a checklist for ensuring golf facilities are “millennial ready.” The site’s stated mandate is to “ensure those interacting with millennials, whether on site or managing digital channels, are set up for success.” Or, as Hart, says, to advertise that the “grand old game” is “hot, young and cool.” n
In short, millennials represent a paradigm shift for golf. How best to approach this
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Learn & Play
f you’re one of those who think a round of golf takes too long, here’s a suggestion — cut it in half. Rather than playing a full 18 holes, try nine holes. After all, that should take about half the time but also still allowing you to enjoy a golf outing. A recent mandate of Alberta Golf has been to get more people playing more golf. To them it’s about getting out and playing no matter how many holes your round is comprised of. To help you play more in less time, we’ve tracked down some great 9-hole courses throughout Alberta in an effort to entice you to take up the shorter game. A great place to start is at the oldest golf course west of Winnipeg, located in Fort Macleod. Teeing it up here is like stepping back in history as this little gem was first opened in 1890 by the North West Mounted Police. While the original design has been changed somewhat, it still harbors remnants of its past including a former buffalo wallow. A second wonderful little layout, Living Stone Golf Course, is just outside Calgary. This beautiful foothills track is a fun play and for those who struggle getting out of bunkers, there’s some great news — there are no bunkers here!
In a time crunch?
Let’s Play 9 by Gord Montgomery
North of Westlock, Hidden Valley is indeed a hidden 9-hole gem. Designed and sculpted by owner Tony Dirks, this pristine layout offers challenges you might expect only on bigger courses, including a couple of dramatic elevation changes going both up and downhill. Another great short track is found near Teepee Creek where River Stone lets you arrive by land or water. If you take the latter route, a golf cart will pick your party up and transport you to the upper levels of the reclaimed gravel quarry. It offers dramatic elevation changes and ends with the huge par-5 9th hole at 658 yards. And if nine holes isn’t quite enough, Pineridge Golf Resort west of Edmonton offers up a bonus of three extra holes, making it the only 12-hole course in Alberta, an idea long touted by none other than Jack Nicklaus. So, if time is a constraint, play nine this year and savor the challenges, plus the time saved, during a shorter round of golf. n
The third hold at Hidden Valley Golf Course, north of Westlock, provides the tantalizing idea of attempting to drive the green... but if your shot is off the mark there is plenty of trouble awaiting.
Moving further north, a unique round is found in Daysland, where of all things, their little layout offers a beautiful island green. Built by the members, the hole is a delightful change from the typical small town prairie course. This test plays to only 120 yards, and the green is large, but if your aim is off you simply aren’t getting that ball back. A short drive outside of Lloydminster, the Kitscoty Golf Club offers up a taste of the game from years past with its sand greens. If you’ve never putted on sand, find a course that offers that type of green simply to see where today’s superb putting surfaces came from.
Learn & Play
s I was growing up, my friends and I were always outside playing games. Most revolved around sports but at times there were some very intense imagination games played. The one constant were the rules but the wildcard was how to play under those rules and that’s what amped up the fun level. When it comes to the game of golf, players can apply the same logic and make that Saturday/Sunday morning round a touch different from the 18-hole, play your own ball format. Craig Loughry, with Golf Canada,suggests trying something other than stroke play and see how that fits into your regular tee time. You might get more than just your foursome playing along.
Match play is the simplest alteration to you just playing your own ball. You go one on one with another player using your handicaps to level the playing field. You can also use match play as a foursome to partner up with another player and use a best ball format to go hole by hole.
Fun Formats for the
Spring by Jim Claggett
“Any version of that where you’re partnering and just taking the best shot of yours or your partner’s helps in including more people in what you might call a social competition. It can get serious but allowing the higher handicap players be part of a team, they will be more likely to say yes to that competition than on their own where they might feel a little intimidated.”
He says partnered events are starting to creep into courses around Canada more often these days as one-off events and he’d like to see it become more of an everyday play type of thing in our country. “Countries like Scotland and Ireland play most of their golf partnered. They do play a lot of match play, but they do a lot of partnered events,” he said. A popular version over seas is the alternate shot format with both partners teeing off and from there you choose which ball to play and alternate shots until you hole out.
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“You can imagine what that does for pace of play. They play fairly quickly over there for a lot of reasons but one of them is because they are playing foursome type events and that’s just for normal, everyday play.” There are plenty of versions of scrambles to choose from and it can be a full field of players taking part or Loughry says take one day and make a change to how you play your round. For some high handicap players, it might take away some of the pressure they might feel playing with lower handicap golfers. “When you introduce the concept of a partner, you have someone to lean on. The neat thing about partnered events is it also works the other way,” he said. “So, if your partner hits a bad shot, they may leave you in a bad spot and you might feel a little more pressure but at least you’re able to
have a better chance of being in a better spot on the golf course when you do have a partner.” Loughry says the partner style of golf is not something you see in North America for the most part and he’s not sure why it doesn’t pop up on a more regular basis amongst foursomes out for their daily or weekly round. “It’s still golf. Why not try something a little bit different?” Another foursome competition called Wolf is another option. At the start, the teeing order is decided by flipping a tee and the order is rotated (on the first hole 1,2,3,4, on the second hole 2,3,4,1,on the fifth hole 1,2,3,4, again and so on). The Wolf is always the last player teeing off each hole and then he selects a player
to be his partner for that hole or he can go it alone against the other three. If the Wolf and partner win the hole, each gets two points. If the non-wolf partners win they get three points each. If the Wolf wins the hole playing alone he/she gets four points and if another player beats the lone Wolf then all players except the Wolf get a point. Another version is having partners chosen by the two shots which are left of the fairway and the two which are right. Then you can play a best ball or alternate shot with the lowest score getting the point. No matter how you slice it (pun intended), shaking up that regular round of golf can be fun, interesting and challenging. Other than a golf ball and maybe some pocket change, what have you go to lose? n
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Compete & Excel
Willow Park Hosts the Ladies Amateur by Jim Claggett
golf course with over half a century of history will provide a test for the best amateur female golfers in the province in 2018 as host of the Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur. Many of those players were decades away from being born when Willow Park Golf and Country Club saw it’s first tee shot hit back in 1965. The southeast Calgary club has plenty of mature trees lining fairways which might be described as being tight. “People looking at the golf course, even for the first time, are intimidated by the narrow fairways or what seem like narrow fairways,” said Head Professional at Willow Park, Cathy Burton. “It’s an old, traditional golf course with lots of trees, a few bunkers and water hazards. People that play here all the time say, ‘what trees’?” If you can avoid the trees, Burton says you will face more challenges once you arrive at any of the greens. “We’ve had tour players that play in the Shaw Charity Classic saying you guys have phenomenal greens. Comments like that go a long way and anybody that plays here comments on how fantastic the greens are, how true they are. It doesn’t mean they aren’t tricky, they’re just so well maintained,” said Burton. The tip of the hat for the pristine putting surfaces goes to superintendent Brian Denomme who has done plenty to make those greens roll around 12 on the Stimpmeter on average. Burton says if need be they can roll faster. The swales around the greens make an errant shot tougher with some tricky wedge play, so Burton says making sure you have the right yardage will be important.
Sabrine Garrison of Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary won the 2017 Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur Championship held at Red Deer Golf & Country Club. Sabrine is expected to be in the field this summer at Willow Park Golf and Country Club to defend her title.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Some of the par-3’s are narrow and deep (hole#18 is about 55 paces front to back) which will test the talented field for sure.
“Really the defense would be the greens and the rough around the greens because if you’re missing it at all it’s not necessarily an easy up and down,” says Burton. While it’s not a wide-open golf course those large trees will provide some protection against the wind which seems to be a somewhat regular occurrence in Calgary. Players will have to take note of those tree tops to determine direction but can become victims of a swirling wind through those same branches. Burton says Willow Park will play anywhere from 5,700 to 6,100 yards for the championship which offers up some options when setting up the course. Some of the junior members at Willow Park will be available to caddie during the event and Burton says it’s a great way for these young players to see how the top women golfers play the course. “I used to caddy myself and I learned a lot of trouble shots,” she said. “Sometimes that doesn’t hurt your game to see what somebody else does.” One young player who calls Willow Park her home course is 19-year-old Kenna Hughes, currently playing at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Burton says she’s likely going to play and might have a slight edge on the field due to the course
“Sometimes that doesn’t hurt your game to see what somebody else does.”
Willow Park’s immaculate greens and tight, tree-lined fairways will present a tremendous challenge for Alberta’s best female golfers this July.
knowledge she’s gained over the years. Having said that, it could also work in reverse, said Burton. “Home course is an advantage and it’s not an advantage. When you’re the home course kid, there’s probably more pressure on you than anybody else. It becomes more of a mental game than a physical, technical game.” Players are advised to take note of holes 11 through to 17 as they are more challenging than the rest of the course, depending on how the course is set up. Hole #14 is one of note though.
Burton says it will be fun for members to come out to watch the young players and even some of the older players that are competing, seeing first hand the level of golf Alberta has to offer. “We do embrace the outside events we host and we’re doing our part to grow the game,“ said Burton. The 2018 Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur at Willow Park will run from July 9-11. n
“It’s a dog-leg right par-5, with water basically all the way down the right side. If you’re too long you can be through the fairway and if you hit it a bit right you can be blocked by the trees, so you’re punching out and you’ve wasted a shot on a par-5.”
Compete & Excel
A Wild Ride by Wes Gilbertson
Brett Hogan of The Glencoe G&CC captured his 2nd Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship last July in an exciting playoff over Max Sekulic of Grande Prairie.
rett Hogan had just blasted a punchshot from the trees during a playoff at the 2017 Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship and since a few of the spectators around the green — folks with a better view than he had — were “freaking out,” he figured the end result was pretty darn good. Still, he wasn’t expecting this. “Max (Sekulic) was dead-middle of the fairway, and he hit a great shot in there,” Hogan said, reflecting on that soggy suddendeath session at Ponoka Community Golf Club last July. “That green is kind of sloped down, so we couldn’t see which ball was which. I hit mine to three feet and he hit his to about 10 feet, but we didn’t know. “He was up a bit ahead of me and he looked at my ball, and then he kept walking to go
The Alberta Golfer 2018
mark his ball. And I just couldn’t believe that I had hit it inside of him with that punch-shot.” By that point, Hogan should have been expecting the unexpected. It’s too bad that Golf Channel wasn’t filming the action that day, because this see-saw between Hogan and Sekulic was an instant classic. “Even the last couple of holes before the playoff were pretty crazy,” said Hogan, a smooth-swinging member at Glencoe Golf & Country Club in Calgary and now a two-time winner of the Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship. “Max hit a terrible shot on the secondlast hole, a Par-3, and then he hits this unbelievable recovery to probably two feet
and saves his par. I was plugged in a bunker on that same hole, and I saved my par. “And then I remember on the last hole, I had about a five-footer to win because he’d just made this crazy 30-foot birdie putt to tie me if I missed. And I ended up lipping out my putt, so we had to go to that playoff. “Then, on the first playoff hole, he hits this unbelievable flop-shot to, like, two feet again when I thought he was dead and he ties me on that hole. And then, finally, I hit the punch-shot to three feet and somehow win that way. “So it was a crazy finish. It was a lot of fun.” Of course, the winner will always say that, but Sekulic also has fond memories of what turned out to be a near-miss.
“It was awesome. I mean, how many people get to experience that, where you get to play in the heat of the moment and knowing what’s at stake — a Pacific Coast Am spot and all this stuff that comes with it?” said Sekulic, who won the provincial junior title last summer at Coal Creek Golf Resort and carried that momentum into the Alberta Am the following week in Ponoka. “It’s so much fun to play for all that. In the end, Brett hit better shots and ended up the winner. He got what he deserved there. But I didn’t give it to him. He earned that ‘W.’ So it was a lot of fun. “In 2015, I think I missed the Alberta Amateur cut by six shots. So to be in a playoff for the win two years later, it was one of those looking-back moments. It’s good to see how far I’ve come.” Hogan engraved his name on the provincial hardware for the first time in 2015 at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club, building a big lead and eventually finishing three shots better than the runner-up.
He also triumphed at the 2016 Alberta Open Championship at RedTail Landing, draining a chip-in on the final hole to seal a two-shot victory. With his father Brian on the bag in Ponoka, Hogan made his move in the third round, sizzling to a score of 29 on the back nine — that’s two eagles, three birdies and four hohum pars — to trim Sekulic’s lead to two.
Hogan, a graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio, promised his playoff opponent would benefit from that rainy-day heartbreak.
That set up an unforgettable final round. Hogan was 5-under for the day when he arrived at the tee-box at No. 11, but he would give four of those shots back. Sekulic, meanwhile, continued to keep things close, then buried that birdie putt on the 72nd assignment for a two-stroke swing. Tie ball-game, with both signing for fourday tabs of 12-under 276. A playoff — and punch-shot — would eventually determine the winner. “I had almost that same shot from the same position in the first round, so I knew how to play it. It was a bit lucky that way,” Hogan said. “Going into the tournament, obviously you’re thinking you want to win and to be able to put myself in the position that I was on that last day, that was nice. It always makes it a lot more fun when you have a chance to win. Just battling it out with Max at the end, it was a great finish. That always makes for fond memories and makes it a lot more special.” Now 24, Hogan will sign up for Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada qualifying in the spring, with plans to turn pro. If that’s the case, Sekulic should be considered the favourite at the 2018 Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship at RedTail Landing.
Hogan and Sekulic in the sudden-death playoff in Ponoka.
“In golf, wins are hard to come by,” said Sekulic, who was also a representative of Golf Canada’s national development squad in 2017. “It’s awesome whenever you get the chance and hopefully the next time I’m in that position, I get it done.”
The long-hitting lefty from Rycroft, Alta., turns 19 this summer. He’s been a regular at Grande Prairie Golf & Country Club. Now, he’s just completed his freshman season with the men’s golf team at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
“I’ve been on the other side of that and, honestly, I think you learn a lot more from the tournaments that you lose than the tournaments you win,” he said. “It really stings in the beginning, but you learn a lot about yourself, how you handle the situation. “In our case, if I would have lost, I wouldn’t have looked at it like I gave it away. I don’t think he would feel like he gave it away. We both played well, and one of us played a little bit better in the end. I think it was a good learning experience for him, and I think he’s stronger and better because of it.” Hogan, too. If this was his farewell to the Alberta Amateur, the two-time champion from Calgary certainly ended on a high note. There will, without a doubt, be times along the professional trail that he reflects on that punch-shot and on that playoff and on a superb performance in Ponoka. “Obviously, it’s a different level, but I think you have to go with the same mindset — that any week you can beat anybody and anybody can beat you,” Hogan said. “I think the best way to look at it is it’s not that much different. Yeah, it’s the next level with better players, but you need to believe you can beat those guys and earn some of those same experiences that you’ve already had. “You can look back on what you’ve done to help you move forward.” n
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Top Guns by Wes Gilbertson
Matt Williams of Calgary has been a part of Alberta Golf’s high performance program for a decade. He is currently playing collegiate golf for the University of Houston.
hese up-and-coming birdie machines are easy to root for.
Not just because they can split fairways and sink putts and post the sort of scores that most of us can only dream of. Because, as Alberta Golf’s coaches and support staff can attest, the provincial programs are stocked with top-notch characters, too. “Anybody who knows the game and loves the game knows that there’s more to it than just hitting a ball,” said Jennifer Davison, Alberta Golf’s director of high performance and sport development. “There’s etiquette, interactions with your competitors, interactions with rules officials. I think Albertans can definitely be proud of the kids and young adults that are on this list and representing and wearing that Alberta Golf logo proudly. “These are good, quality individuals.” The best part is, there’s more of them than ever before.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
In 2017, Alberta Golf introduced a highperformance squad, revealing a lineup of five of their best and brightest. (This, in addition to their usual Under-19 troupes.)
We’re trying to get creative with how can we help them, and how can they help us.”
For 2018, they offered 20 spots on that roster, extending invites to a dozen males and eight females. If you’ve followed the leaderboards at the Alberta Junior or Alberta Amateur Championships, you will recognize all the names.
Calgary’s Matt Williams figures he was 14 when he was first invited to tee off with Team Alberta. Not quite a decade later, he is a soon-to-be senior on the men’s golf squad at the University of Houston. The Cougars count some of the biggest names in the sport — Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, etc. — among their alumni.
In the past, golfers graduated from the provincial program after aging out at 19. Thanks to the creation of the highperformance squad, support is now being offered to a cast of talented 20-somethings, most with experience digging divots at the post-secondary level and many with hopes of one day earning their paycheques on the professional tours. “We want to continue those relationships. We don’t want to lose them,” said Team Alberta head coach Randy Robb. “We’re trying to keep them involved. Hopefully they can help mentor some of the younger kids, playing with them a little bit. And hopefully we can support them at some of the bigger events — the Alberta Open, the Glencoe Invitational, the Canadian Amateurs.
It seems they’re keen to help.
Williams was one of the originals on Alberta Golf’s high-performance squad last year. He has more company this summer. “I love being around the juniors and seeing them climb up the ranks, because I totally remember being there when I was their age,” said Williams, who finished in a tie for eighth — tops among Albertans and fourth among Canucks — at the 2017 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship. “I definitely remember when guys would come back and help out, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I was like, ‘This guy plays golf in college?!?’ I thought that was just the coolest thing.
So to grow up in it and still be a part of the program and be able to give back, it’s pretty special. “And the camaraderie with the guys that are also on the team… we all grew up in that Alberta Golf umbrella, and I think that’s been great for all of us just having that competition and feeding off each other. “So Alberta Golf has been a huge piece for me. I wouldn’t be where I am — playing college golf, which is what I always wanted to do — without the support that they’ve given me.” In the Under-19 provincial programs, a bunch of boys and girls are trying to follow that same path. That group will meet for training camps throughout the season. There are lots of swings and short-game work during those get-togethers, but it’s not all about beating balls on the range or practising your touch around the greens. They focus too on fitness, on nutrition, on goal-setting and pursuit of post-secondary opportunities. “We had our first camp for the boys on Team Alberta in January, and there were seven guys coming and they’re from seven different cities and towns,” Robb proudly reported. “I’ve never seen it as distributed as this. Ben (Farrington) is from Fort McMurray. There is one from Banff, one from Canmore. There’s Edmonton, Red Deer… They’re from all over the place, from different backgrounds.” More evidence of the widespread reach of Alberta Golf’s development programs? A tidy stack of pick-me-please applications on Davison’s desk. In the past, Alberta Golf selected the provincial teams based primarily on the Order of Merit standings from the previous season. For the first time, there was an application process for Tier-2 and Tier-3 hopefuls this winter.
“We wanted to move it away from just a Top-5 finish or a certain ranking on the Order of Merit,” Davison explained. “That is definitely always going to play a part in it, but it’s not the only thing. There’s the coachability factor. One of the big parts of the application that we took into consideration is we asked everyone to let us know what their goals are for the next 1-3 years. Because that plays a factor, too — how much does the player want to put into their outcome?
Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur Championship at Red Deer Golf & Country Club.
“It’s a little more along the lines of that university or college application so that we’re looking at the player as a whole rather than just a bunch of stats on a piece of paper.”
“For me, being part of those teams was an opportunity to meet other girls, to compete, to be exposed to different experiences, travel experiences, and go to higherlevel tournaments. I have a lot of good memories of Junior America’s Cup teams or the Alberta-Montana Ryder Cup. Those were all experiences that grew my game and allowed me to develop as a player and person.”
“Alberta Golf has been a huge piece for me. I wouldn’t be where I am... without the support they’ve given me.”
“This is especially true, I think, from a female perspective, because as a girl growing up in competitive golf, you often feel a little bit alone and by yourself. There are not a lot of young girls that play so unless you have a friend or parent to take you out, you’re often by yourself and that can be tough to get girls to stick with it.
Garrison just completed her senior season with the women’s golf program at the University of Minnesota. At the same time, she was applying for medical school. Her dream is to be a family-practice doctor. Many of her teammates on Alberta Golf’s high-performance squad, meanwhile, are dreaming of stardom on the PGA or LPGA Tours. If you eventually spot them on the biggest stage, take it from us — these Alberta-bred birdie-machines are easy to root for.
Ask any of the members of the highperformance squad, and you can immediately tell that they would recommend the experience to any smoothswinging youngster.
“We understand that competition amongst each other at home is definitely going to set us up for success down the road, whether it’s at Q-School or wherever,” Williams said. “And I feel like if one of us succeeds, the rest of us are going to say, ‘If he can do it, why can’t I?’.”
“For me, as a girl, being a part of Team Alberta really helped bring me together with other juniors and expose me to different competition, more competition,” said Calgary’s Sabrine Garrison, who celebrated a one-stroke victory at the 2017
“I love those guys to death, they are some of my best friends, but I can’t stand losing to them. So you know we’re going to be out there practising, out there grinding, trying to beat the next guy. Definitely, it’s pushing all of us in the right direction.” n
The Alberta Golfer 2018
by Wes Gilbertson
Compete & Excel
DUSTIN RISDON — Alberta Open
BRENDAN MACDOUGALL — Alberta Match Play Championship
DEBORAH GREEN & SUE KEENAN — Ladies Team Classic
MAX SEKULIC — Alberta Junior Boys Championship
Dustin Risdon has an impressive trophy collection, but this particular title had eluded him.
The provincial title means a lot to Brendan MacDougall.
You couldn’t ask for a better introduction to tournament play.
At a young age, Max Sekulic figured this scenario would be a hoot.
The bragging rights are a bonus.
Fort Macleod’s Sue Keenan started tracking her handicap last season and signed up for her first event — the Golf Fore The Cure Ladies Team Classic.
Until now. A former tour professional and now a top-notch instructor at Calgary’s National Golf Academy at McCall Lake, Risdon scratched a biggie off his wish list with a one-stroke victory at the 2017 SVR Alberta Open Championship. “I’ve always wanted to win this one, and now I’ve got it,” beamed Risdon, who triumphed three times on what’s now known as the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. “It’s good to have it in my hands.” The rest of the field certainly didn’t hand it to him. A half-dozen sharpshooters — three pros and a hat-trick of upand-coming amateurs — finished in red numbers as Sundre Golf Club played hosted to the marquee event, but nobody could best Risdon’s two-round total of 5-under 139. n KEHLER KOSS — Alberta Junior Girls Championship Instead of just counting strokes, Kehler Koss was counting steps. As she tried to put the finishing touches on a provincial triumph in the closing round of the
MacDougall rolled to victory at the 2017 SVR Alberta Match Play Championship at Sundre Golf Club, eliminating a few close pals along the way. “It’s a lot of fun being able to go out there and beat them,” MacDougall said. “We play together and practise together a lot, so I can poke them a bit with it and say, ‘I got one on you there.’ “And it was pretty cool, because I gained a lot more recognition for that win than I thought I might, around the province and the country. They say, ‘Hey, this kid won this event, and it’s a good event.’ It gives me a little more respect, I guess.”
How did it go? She and her partner, Deborah Green of Calgary, combined for a net score of 13-under 58, tops among the 46 teams that day at scenic Stewart Creek G&CC in Canmore. “When I heard our names announced at the end, I bounced right out of my chair and at the stage,” Keenan said. “And Deb was still sitting in her chair, because she was in disbelief. I’ve had a few good chuckles about that.”
He earned it.
A portion of entry fees for the Alberta Ladies Team Classic are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society, and most of the participants wear pink.
MacDougall (Glencoe G&CC) was the low amateur at the Alberta Open and, as top seed, won four straight match-play showdowns. n
“We just went out there to play our game and to have fun,” Green said. “I was totally shocked when we won.” n
2017 Alberta Junior Girls Championship, Koss needed something to keep her mind occupied.
“I was counting steps in between shots, just trying to not focus on anything else,” she said.
After giving back four strokes before the turn on that last day, Koss proved her composure with a hat-trick of back-nine birdies en route to a one-stroke victory.
He was right. Sekulic was only 11 when he teed it up for the first time at the Alberta Junior Boys Championship. Six summers later, he engraved his name on the trophy. “I think I might have finished about 10th from last in my first one. And then the next year, I missed the cut again,” recalled Sekulic, a regular at Grande Prairie G&CC. “But I remember thinking, ‘Hopefully one day I can be one of those guys that is on the leaderboard, in contention, in the mix. That would be so much fun. “It makes you want it, right?” Sekulic certainly had fun at the latest installment of the Alberta Junior Boys Championship, shaving five strokes off par over 72 holes last summer at Coal Creek Golf Resort. He earned a one-stroke victory. n a long time, just staying more in the moment when I play and not looking too far ahead,” said Koss, who signed for a three-round total of 5-over 221 at Coal Creek Golf Resort. “I think that whole tournament was a huge success with me doing that.” n
“That’s been a goal of mine for
KAI IGUCHI — Alberta Juvenile Boys Championship
ANNABELLE ACKROYD — Alberta Juvenile Girls Championship
SABRINE GARRISON — Alberta Ladies Amateur Championship
BRETT HOGAN — Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship
It turned out to be a happy ending.
A trophy presentation is a good pick-me-up.
Sabrine Garrison’s caddie had already loaded up her clubs.
Brett Hogan had already pulled this off once.
That’s a credit to the way that Kai Iguchi, the winner of Alberta’s juvenile boys’ bragging rights last summer, ensured that a sluggish start didn’t turn into a disastrous day.
Calgary’s Annabelle Ackroyd was admittedly a bit bummed after falling one stroke short at the 2017 Alberta Junior Girls Championship, but her mood changed as she accepted the hardware as winner of the juvenile title.
Hopefully, he saved space in the trunk for a trophy.
On the second playoff hole at the 2017 Sun Life Financial Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship, Hogan’s drive strayed, leaving a punch-shot between two evergreens.
“I started the last round pretty poorly but I guess I managed to still keep control of it and get it back together,” said Iguchi, a regular at Banff Springs. “It could have been a lot worse. I could have taken that pretty badly and it might have been all downhill from there.” Iguchi bogeyed three of his first five holes that day at Coal Creek Golf Resort but scratched back to even-par. He finished the 2017 Alberta Juniors Boys Championship with a four-round tally of 1-under 287, three shots better than any of his juvenile-aged buddies. n
Ackroyd’s three-day score of 6-over 222 was 13 shots better than any of the other hopefuls in the 16-and-under division. “Losing by one, it stings a lot. Because it’s so close, it could go either way,” said Ackroyd, a regular on the fairways and greens at Silver Springs G&CC. “But I was very happy to win the juvenile. It definitely shows that I did play well and I did win something, so it was nice to have that.” Ackroyd is eligible to defend her age-category crown in 2018. “Hopefully, I can win the double this year,” she said. n
The Alberta Golfer 2018
With her father Donn on the bag, Garrison saved her best for last at the 2017 Sun Life Financial Ladies Amateur Championship, but she didn’t realize she had climbed all the way to the top of the leaderboard. “I was in the second-last group so coming off the course, we actually had no idea,” recalled Garrison, a member at Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary. “I didn’t think I had won, and neither did my dad. He was in the parking lot, putting away my bag, and somebody told me that I’d won and I was overjoyed.
Yeah, those evergreens. “Ironically, I had that exact same shot on the first day — it was through those same trees, so I guess I knew the shot to hit and how hard to hit it,” said Hogan, a member at Glencoe G&CC in Calgary. “I’d hit it to about 15 feet the previous time, so I guess I was lucky enough to get some practice.” The practice paid off.
“I saw my dad come back a couple minutes later and I told him, and just the look on his face… he gave me a big hug. It was a really special moment. I won’t forget it.”
With about a hundred fans watching his playoff slugfest with Max Sekulic, (see p.30) Hogan knocked that shot to three feet. He drained the short putt to clinch his second Alberta Amateur title.
Garrison closed with a 2-under 70 in her final spin at Red Deer G&CC, posting a winning score of 3-over 219 at the three-round shootout. n
Hogan and Sekulic (Grande Prairie G&CC) each carded four-round scores of 12-under 276 at the provincial shootout at Ponoka Community Golf Club. n
ANDREA KOSA — Alberta Ladies Mid-Amateur Championship
NEIL THOMAS — Alberta Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship
FRANK VAN DORNICK — Alberta Senior Men’s Championship
KIM CARRINGTON — Alberta Senior Ladies Championship
Andrea Kosa had a crack at a hat-trick of titles.
Neil Thomas was clutch with the flat stick.
Frank Van Dornick beat the heat.
It wasn’t technically a title defence.
Two out of three certainly ain’t bad.
A member at Edmonton G&CC, Thomas drained a couple of key putts during a playoff at the 2017 Alberta Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, including a bang-on birdie on the fourth hole of sudden-death en route to his first provincial title.
And beat his buddies, too.
But on the provincial stage, Kim Carrington picked up right where she left off.
Kosa finished as runner-up at the 2017 Sun Life Financial Ladies Amateur Championship, but the Calgarian was the class of the competition in both the Mid-Amateur and Mid-Master divisions. “There are three events going on at the same time — the extra-old, the middle-old and then the young,” Kosa quipped. “I had to a chance to win the trifecta, as I call it. That was pretty exciting.” A proud mom, a member at Glencoe G&CC and a physiotherapist for Golf Canada’s national female amateur team, Kosa led the field in pars (37) at the provincial showdown at Red Deer G&CC. With a three-day total of 5-over 221, she won the Mid-Amateur crown by nine strokes and was 35 strokes clear of the field in the Mid-Master category. n
His opponent, Tom McKinlay Jr. of Lacombe G&CC, failed to extend the tie-breaker. Both golfers had finished three laps of Grande Prairie G&CC in 7-over 223. “He had about five feet for birdie and I had about 20 feet, so I figured I had to bury that one to carry on,” said Thomas, who read that his uphill putt would break slightly from right-to-left. “I guess he probably wasn’t expecting me to put that one in, so it put the pressure on him. He had a tough putt — it was a five-foot slider — and he just slid it by and that was the win for me.” n
With an extreme-heat warning in effect as temperatures soared into the mid-30s, the Alberta Golf Hall-of-Famer from Camrose sizzled from five strokes back and then prevailed in a playoff to win the 2017 Guardian Capital Alberta Senior Men’s Championship at Henderson Lake G&CC in Lethbridge. “We were baking,” Van Dornick recalled. “But it was really nice because, specifically in a senior event, once we get to a certain age, we all stiffen up a little bit. With all that heat, I don’t think anybody got stiff.” Van Dornick (Camrose Golf Course) fired an even-par 70 in the third and final round, posting a total tally of 8-over 218. He defeated Brian Laubman (RedTail Landing) and Ken Griffith (Alberta Springs) in a playoff to capture his fourth provincial title at the senior level. n
Carrington was forced to miss the entire golf season in 2016 as she recovered from foot surgery, but she returned last summer and finished atop the leaderboard at the Guardian Capital Alberta Senior Ladies Championship for the second time in a three-year span. “I was super proud to be able to come back to play competitive golf as well as I did, whether it be at citys, provincials and at nationals,” said Carrington, who was a longtime member at Willow Park G&CC in Calgary and now represents Cottonwood G&CC. With a total score of 13-over 229, Carrington finished four shots clear of the field at the senior shootout at Edmonton Petroleum G&CC. She pulled away from the pack with a 1-over 73 on the final day. n
HUNTER THOMSON — Alberta Bantam Boys Championship
KAITLYN WINGNEAN — Alberta Bantam Girls Championship
MIKE ROSS — Alberta Net Amateur Championship
You couldn’t have scripted a better start.
Kaitlyn Wingnean was wary the script could be flipped on the finishing hole at The Bridges at Claresholm.
It was a repeat feat for Red Deer’s Mike Ross.
Hunter Thomson opened the 2017 Alberta Bantam Boys Championship with a careerbest score, scorching to a 5-under 67 and never looking back en route to a provincial age-category crown. “That was a huge confidencebooster,” said Thomson, who mixed six birdies and just one bogey on the first day of the 36hole showdown at The Bridges at Claresholm. “I really just felt like I was unstoppable. It felt like I couldn’t miss a drive. Every drive was on the fairway and iron shots hit the green and putts would go in or maybe just go to a few inches and I’d tap in for par.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The up-and-comer from the Calgary G&CC stuck to a conservative game plan in the second round, shooting evenpar. Thomson finished five shots clear of the field. n
The Alberta Golfer 2018
During the opening round of the 2017 Alberta Bantam Championship, the talented teen from Edmonton notched an eagle on that Par-5 assignment. The leader at the time, Calgary’s Tillie Claggett, struggled to a double bogey. That was on Wingnean’s mind as they arrived at No. 18 the following day. “I was two ahead going into the last hole and I was just thinking, ‘You never know what can happen, right? She could be the one getting an eagle and I could be the one getting a double bogey,’” Wingnean said. “But I tried not to really think about that and just do the best I can.” Wingnean (Derrick Golf & Winter Club) made par and bid farewell to bantam golf with a two-stroke victory. She finished her work in 8-over 152. n
For the second consecutive summer, Ross piled up the most points in the Stableford scoring format at the Alberta Net Amateur Championship. On Alberta Golf’s slate of individual provincial showdowns, he was the only guy to successfully defend a tournament title. A big-bopping member of the Alberta Public Players Club, Ross recorded 14 net birdies during the two-day shindig at Lacombe G&CC, including eight during the final round. He totalled 81 points, eight more than the closest challenger. “The main reason I won was Day 2 and only having 21 putts,” Ross recalled. “I shot 78 that day, which was one of my best scores of the year, but easily could have been 90. I kept trying to get the ball close to the hole and it kept going in.” n
BONNY LEENSTRA — Alberta Ladies Net Amateur Championship and Marg Ward Championship There were sincere congratulations. But Bonny Leenstra’s friends also had questions — after her double-up as winner of both the Alberta Ladies Net Amateur Championship and Marg Ward Championship. Would she promise them a rematch this coming summer? “You’re also challenged that you have to be there next year so they have an opportunity to win it back,” chuckled Leenstra, a member at Ponoka Community Golf Club. “It wasn’t mean-spirited. It’s just, ‘You have to come back because if we’re going to win, we want you there.’ Just fair game.” Leenstra made five net eagles during the two-day, handicapped event at Lacombe G&CC.She claimed both titles by a single point in the Stableford scoring format. “It was just awesome and surprised the heck out of me that I took them both,” Leenstra said. n
Learn & Play
or many golfers, tournaments are the highlight of the season. They allow players to forge friendships while testing their skills against great golfers from across the province, region or country. They are amazing weekends of golf and fun, but the hard work begins long before tee off. For months in advance, course committees consider everything from practice rounds to prize presentations to ensure a tournament runs smoothly. “There are a lot of moving parts,” says Adam Helmer, Director of Rules and Competitions for Golf Canada. “We have a staff member dedicated to securing future venues and we typically look three to five years out.” Golf courses seeking consideration for a major event have to meet specific requirements. Courses need adequate clubhouse and banquet space, a suitable driving range for warm up and practice, a fitting course design and layout, proximity to amenities to support out-oftown competitors and, lastly, they need community and member support. It is critical for club members to be on board with hosting an event. Members not only need to sacrifice their tee times for four or five days but they also must be willing to offer their time as volunteers. “It’s a big ask of membership at a busy golf course like ours,” says Greig Burnie, executive golf professional and general manager at Highwood Golf and Country Club, “but our membership embraces junior golf and we’re proud to host the 2018 Western Future Links tournament.”
HOst by Rennay Craats
Junior events are an easy sell. Members are eager to support young golfers and build junior golf at the grass-roots club level as well as nationally. That was one reason the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club threw its hat into the ring to host the Canadian Junior Boys Championship in July. “We have a strong six-person committee that will be on call 24/7 during that week,” says Cam Jacques, general manager of Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club. These volunteers agree that it’s time well spent. Golfers who do well in these tournaments can earn a spot on the national golf team or attract scholarship attention from universities. While there can be a modest economic spinoff for the community, hosting is more about showcasing their facilities, and helping grow the game. In return, Golf Canada supports these courses as they plan their events. A tournament director guides the course committee and sub-committees through the process, offering information covering
Medicine Hat G&CC will play host to the 2018 Canadian Junior Boys Championship from July 30 to August 2.
everything from volunteer expectations and responsibilities to food and beverage requirements to pin and tee placements. “They give you a binder that says what you need to do and a timeline of what you need to accomplish,” says Jacques. Tim Garbutt, marketing professional with Linx Marketing, operates three events on the PGA Tour Canada’s Mackenzie Tour in much the same way as courses do the amateur events. He builds on the same six organizational pillars— volunteers, the host facility, sponsors, charity, the players, and the media—to ensure his tour stops are successful. Garbutt works six to 12 months in advance to secure the financial backing to cover costs as well as ensure there is a tidy sum for charity at the end. The tournaments also extend into the community, holding junior and women’s clinics and having professional players out supporting charity initiatives. From smaller tournaments to week-long professional events, golf courses follow a similar playbook when hosting their events. It takes long days, hard work, dedicated volunteers and staff, and months of planning every step of the event from registration to celebrating the winners. Members agree that it’s worth every second. n
Compete & Excel
Greatness by Andrew Penner
t’s Monday evening at the Collicutt Siding Golf Club and hundreds of wide-eyed kids – many just three and four years oldare jostling around, wielding tiny clubs, and swatting awkwardly at practice balls. Whiffs, spin-o-rama swings, and Happy Gilmore-like techniques abound. Dozens of instructors, volunteers, and parents are helping the pint-sized golfers with their grip, stance, and swing. For many of these happy little tykes, the moment marks the start of their journey to competitive golf. With over 1,000 kids enrolled, the junior golf program at Collicutt Siding (located approximately twenty minutes north of Calgary in Crossfield) is the largest of its kind in Canada. It’s a wildly successful program - the brainchild of General Manager/Head Golf Professional, Lyndon King – and, deservedly, has been been the talk of the town for a number of years. (It started in 2009 with 56 kids!) While many of the youngsters participating in the program will never reach the competitive ranks, some of them most certainly will. Some – thanks, in large part, to the support of their parents, coaches, teachers, friends, and so forth – will continue to expand their skills and grow in their passion for the game. They will get bigger, stronger, longer, and excel in competition. They will travel to tournaments, hoist trophies, feel the lows of defeat, and experience the highs of victory.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
While there will be many commonalities in terms of how some of these junior golfers will “climb the ladder” to their lofty achievements, the specific road they take will be their own. There will be many factors, many unique circumstances, and many “intangibles” that will fuel their journey. In other words, the recipe - for your child and millions of other young golfers out there, each with their own personality, their own skill set, their own DNA – for competitive success has many ingredients. And, without a doubt, it can be a difficult road to navigate. Thankfully, there are many helpful resources (including, of course, some amazing junior golf programs at the local courses!) that parents can tap into. And these can make all the difference. Parents can also go a long way by listening to the counsel, the professional wisdom, from some of the top junior coaches and instructors in the game. They understand “the system,” they’ve seen many kids succeed, and have a keen understanding of the pitfalls to avoid. We asked five of the top professionals in the coaching game to offer their top tips for training junior golfers. And here are some of those “nuggets” that, hopefully, will turn to “gold” for your aspiring young golfer!
Derek Ingram, BSC, ChPC
Team Canada Olympic Coach
Head Teaching Professional, Glencoe Golf &Country Club
Class A Teaching Professional Junior Development Coordinator, Bearspaw CC
2016 & 2017 Alberta PGA Teacher of the Year
Nominee for 2017 Alberta Junior Golf Leader Award
1. Safety. As important as fun is, safety is paramount. Above all else, parents want their children to be safe. Safe in terms of the dangers of a golf club and ball, but also in terms of respect, etiquette, and trust.
1. The most important factor for juniors looking to compete and be successful is a deep love of the game. This includes casual golf, grueling practice, great rounds, poor rounds, intense competition, and even simply being at the golf course.
1. Play other sports. Do not specialize too early! Why put all your eggs in the golf basket too early and rob yourself of developing skills, habits, and abilities that can make you a MUCH better athlete? Never mind the fun you will miss! 2. Make it fun. Laugh and joke around. Be creative and make mistakes. Then learn and repeat. If it’s not fun, juniors will never fall in love with the game and put in the necessary time. 3. Don’t over compete at a young age. Play, practice, train, and compete but don’t compete so much that the other stuff can’t happen. Golf Canada’s Long-Term Player Development Guide is a great resource that outlines all of this and much, much more. 4. Find a good facility that is both close and available. Access trumps quality! There is some solid research that the top players do NOT grow up playing and practicing at the best, most pristine facilities. Bad lies and variable turf conditions actually help develop players. 5. Find a coach. Someone who has time for you, is willing to learn with you, and genuinely cares about you and your game. In most cases, this should not be a parent.
2. Fun and Games. A successful junior golf program is built around fun. If you start with “fun” and build your learning around it, you’ll have juniors wanting more. Games are a great mechanism to engage kids and a lot of learning can be disguised in them. 3. Playing. Whenever possible, take advantage of the course for teaching and coaching. Juniors learn faster when it is in a real setting. A good rule of thumb when on the course is to start your junior from a spot on the hole where they can hit two perfect shots and end up on or near the putting green. 4. Equipment. Give them the right equipment. Junior clubs come in all sizes and flexes. Clubs that are too long and heavy hinder development. 5. Start Position/Speed with Balance/ Finish Position. Establishing a good setup position allows for the best swings to happen. Working on speed with juniors allows them to hit the ball further. More speed with perfect contact equals more distance and I’ve never met a golfer that doesn’t want to hit it farther! Finishing every swing in a balanced finish position shows they are in command of their swings and can replicate the movement.
2. Having a strong support system is crucial. Parents, coaches, staff at the local golf club, friends – they all play a vital role. 3. There must be good balance between playing vs. practicing. Practice is necessary to achieve swing goals, ball flight goals, and short game consistency. But practice cannot replace time on the course. Playing develops course management skills, the ability to deal with adversity, and simply enjoying the game. 4. Short and long-term goals must be set and the junior must show a commitment in terms of doing everything possible to achieve set goals. Goals can be breaking a scoring barrier, tournament results, attaining a university golf scholarship, and playing professionally. 5. Fitness, nutrition, and sports psychology are all crucial for juniors who want to excel in competitive golf. They must be assessed, improved, and evaluated frequently. If you fail to do what your competitors are doing you will be passed and left behind. You MUST look at additional ways to improve your golf game away from the golf course.
Academy Director, Derek Baker Golf Academy (Edmonton CC & Windermere Golf & CC)
Golf Professional Golf Canada Calgary Centre
2016 & 2017 Nominee for the PGA of Alberta Junior Leader of the Year Award
Tips for Parents on the Competitive Junior Golf Pathway
1. Do not specialize in golf early on. If a junior specializes in golf too early there are many factors that can drive them out of the game before they see long-term success. Burnout and an inability to deal with adversity are often the consequences. Many of the best golfers were athletes first and golfers second. Don’t even think about specializing until they are in their teens.
1. Be unconditionally supportive. Regardless of how well your child plays, you need to stay positive! Showing negative emotion – either on the course or on the way home from a tournament round – can be extremely deflating to your child. Push performance when things are going well, as opposed to when they are not.
2. Use performance games instead of traditional practice. Traditional practice – hitting shots on the driving range until your hands bleed! - does not mimic playing the game. Performance games are practice but in a game format. They resemble what you’d encounter during play. A very simple example is having a “Canadian Open” where students count their total strokes in a chipping and putting course.
2. Help with the goal setting process. If both the athlete and the parent commit to setting simple goals, such as “do your best and have fun,” you are well on your way.
3. Get students on the golf course early and often. Golf is comprised of many different individual skills and playing puts all of them into context. 4. Make practice challenging. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making things too easy in hopes they will have fun and want to come back. Make it way too hard or way too easy and you’ll have an uninterested junior. There is a lot of research to support the idea that the best learning happens when a person is faced with a challenge that is just beyond their current skill set. 5. Failing is an essential part of development. The best lessons are learned from experience...and this includes failing. Let them hit driver when they shouldn’t. Let them hit a flop when they should pitch, and so forth. Failures are not a reason to criticize performance or decisions, they are a way to motivate and improve.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
3. Monitor the level of passion and don’t push too hard. If they are not interested in practicing or playing on their own, pushing them too hard can easily backfire. Until they are in the “train to compete” stage, it really shouldn’t feel like work for them. 4. Become as educated and well-informed as you can. Golf Canada’s Long Term Player Development Guide is a must read. The more you understand the process and key elements in the journey, the more likely you’ll be effective in your critical role as a parent. Alberta Golf’s website also has some great information under the “develop” tab. 5. Coaching. Work with or retain the right coach. If college golf or elite junior golf is part of your child’s goals, you will need the knowledge of a coach (as opposed to a swing instructor) sooner than you think. A coach who is regularly on the course watching and getting to know your child’s game is critical. Of the 550, or so, Alberta PGA members, less than 30 are trained and certified in coaching. Do your homework and obtain a certified coach.
6. Be prepared for considerable costs. As your child enters the “learn to compete” phase, expenses can skyrocket. Alberta’s top junior players can expect an all-in budget for golf between $15,000 and $40,000. Some tournaments, like some of the larger events in the US, are not “musts.” However, having proper equipment that fits definitely is. Buying equipment they will “grow into” is not a good idea. You might get two years out of clubs, but for a growing athlete, one is more likely. 7. Know where to play. For kids under 12, the Maple Leaf Junior Tour (MJT) mini-series and Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) Linkster series are the best. The Alberta Bantam is an absolute must for players 14 and under. For the 13-16 age group, the McLennan Ross Tour is by far the best value. CJGA and MJT Junior events provide good multi-day competition for midlevel players. Once you are achieving success locally, follow the Golf Canada Order of Merit based on point value and work to get into American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events. 8. Learn the merit system – Once the doors open up to nationally ranked events, getting good advice on your athlete’s schedule is critical. Staying on top of how Alberta Golf and Golf Canada rank players is critical. The Golf Canada order of merit is a great starting point to see where a college oriented player should be playing. Top colleges will primarily look at Junior Golf Scoreboard and AJGA results. Your best opportunity for college coach viewing/scouting is at the Canadian Junior Championship or AJGA events. n
Great Golf in Kimberley / Cranbrook
he Kimberley and Cranbrook area in southeast British Columbia has long been a very popular destination for Albertans. The East Kootenay valley is only a few hours from just about anywhere in Alberta, and the variety and value of the golf courses in the area is amazing. This year for the first time, seven golf courses in the Kimberley and Cranbrook areas are joining forces to market themselves as a one-stop destination for visitors.
Kimberley features three outstanding golf courses, and a wide variety of other attractions to keep guests fed and entertained long after their rounds. Trickle Creek Golf Resort, one of Les Furber’s masterpieces, sprawls across North Star Mountain at the foot of the world famous Kimberley Alpine Resort. Check out their new 1-week Unlimited Golf Pass! The Kimberley Golf Club has been a mainstay in the city since 1924. Most of the original nine holes are still intact, with a more modern and challenging back nine adding to the fun and Wildstone Golf Course in Kimberley. Hole #1
excitement. The huge ponderosa pines framing their immaculate fairways really adds to the overall mountain golf experience.
are arguably the most spectacular in all of Canadian golf. The elevation changes and incredible scenery are nothing short of breathtaking.
Bootleg Gap Golf Course is another Furber beauty, located just east of the Kimberley Golf Club along Highway 95 on the way east towards Cranbrook. The course features a championship 18hole layout with a spectacular stretch of closing holes along the St. Mary River, along with a fun and challenging par-34 “Recreational Nine” course that is pure fun to play.
Just across the St. Mary River from Shadow Mountain is the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, featuring yet another Les Furber gem, along with the fun and entertainment offered by their full-service casino, luxurious spa and the magnificent hotel and dining room. The golf course, ranked in the Top 3 New Courses in Canada when it opened in 2001, winds its way along the banks of the St. Mary River and through open links and rolling woodlands.
The City of Cranbrook is the commercial and transportation hub for the area, with a wide variety of shopping, sightseeing and dining options to help round out the tremendous golf experiences at four courses in the city. Shadow Mountain Golf Club opened in 2009, designed by the team of Graham Cooke and Wayne Carleton. Named runner-up “Best New Course in Canada” in 2010 by Score Golf, Shadow Mountain’s four closing holes
The Cranbrook Golf Club is owned and operated by the City of Cranbrook and features a wonderfully mature 18-hole layout, but it is certainly no pushover! The course has hosted the Golf Canada Canadian Senior Men’s Match Play championship in the past as well as numerous major BC tournaments. Wildstone Golf Club is the newest ‘kid on the block’; the first Black Knight Design by Gary Player Design golf course in Canada. Player has created a ‘must play’ course for anyone visiting the Cranbrook area. Their practice facility alone is well worth the visit! From the charm of downtown Kimberley to the Vegas-style gaming at St. Eugene to the marvellous variety of seven outstanding golf courses, the Kimberley/ Cranbrook area is a great location for everything from week-long ‘golf ‘til you drop’ excursions to romantic weekend getaways. The courses all offer great golf and accommodation packages combined with a myriad of off-course entertainment.n
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Connect & Enjoy
nfortunately, it is apparent that the vast majority of golfers view Golf Canada’s Score Centre as the “Snore Centre.” But their narrow view of maintaining a current handicap is short-sighted, to their detriment. Consider the numbers. Just over seven million scores were posted for handicap purposes in 2017. That’s impressive. Less impressive is the fact that they were all reported by the same 285,000 golfers. To try to understand this disparity, let’s first dispose of the misconception that a “handicap” is something that only toplevel competitive golfers are interested in. Everyone who plays the game should be tapping into the Score Centre, for a variety of reasons. “A Golf Canada handicap factor allows you not only to compete on an equitable basis with anyone, but also gives you the ability to track your personal progress year over year,” says Taylor Stevenson, Golf Canada’s Manager of Member Services. Stevenson, who oversees the Score Centre initiative, is incredulous that more golfers don’t understand how intrinsic tracking your scores is to your overall enjoyment of the game. Before he came on board at
My Golf Life
Golf Canada’s Score Centre by John Gordon Golf Canada, he golfed but until he started maintaining a current handicap, he not only didn’t understand his progress but couldn’t compete fairly against better players. “Once I started keeping an accurate handicap, I not only could see if I was getting better or worse, but I could play against friends who were better than me on a net basis, thanks to my handicap.” Stevenson understands that that traditional “core” golfers, like those 285,000 who posted all those scores in 2017, will continue to do so. But, as a millennial at the age of 31, he also appreciates that it’s time to shake things up.
“ultimate scorecard” which records your all-time best score per hole and tracks holeby-hole performance. A mobile app allows golfers to instantly post their scores after completing a round. Much like a Fit Bit tracks your fitness goals, Score Centre helps you monitor your golf progress. “What golf really comes down to is you’re trying to do better than you did the last time you were out;” says Stevenson. He notes that the updated Score Centre allows golfers not only to look back at their performance for the current season, but for past years as well.
“Tracking your scores on Score Centre makes every game more enjoyable. It’s a great way to engage with the game.”
Stevenson says updates for 2018 include a more robust, reliable and stable platform for Score Centre that will further enhance the user experience.
He’s talking about a few of Score Centre’s attributes such as being awarded virtual “badges” for significant achievements (which can be linked to Twitter and Facebook), an
If you enjoy golf, consider this a wake-up call. Golf Canada’s Score Centre is anything but a Snore Centre. Perhaps call it your “Golf Centre.” n
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Learn & Play
eing a young golfer in Alberta is like being a kid in the candy store… so much to choose from to satisfy your craving. Players have the luxury of choosing from the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour, the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour or the events run by the Canadian Junior Golf Association. Each has its own schedule in Alberta. Some are just one-day tournaments while others are two days, making for a busy summer of golf for some juniors.
by Jim Claggett first tournament experience and veteran players who are tour regulars. He said about 85% of the players teeing it up in MJT events across Canada are the average player looking to get better.
This will be the 23rd year of the McLennan Ross tour which operates strictly in Alberta.
MJT also has a 12 and under mini-tour which is competitive but provides a first experience atmosphere where parents can caddy for their child.
“I didn’t see two decades coming, I didn’t see 25 tournaments a year and I didn’t see thousands of kids,” said Executive Director of the tour, Dunc Mills.
“It’s starting to gain a little more momentum over the last couple of years and we’re going to look to expand it a little bit more this year,”said Matson.
“We get lots of very good players,” Mills says. “You need to shoot par or better at most events to win, but we tend to see more kids in that 10-15-year-old range. If they’re coming to their first McLennan Ross event, chances are it might even be their first tournament, period, and they grow from there.”
The CJGA has more than 100 stops from coast to coast since its beginnings in 1993. Thirteen of those are in Alberta and the tour is open to any player, as long as they fall within the age bracket of 12 to 18.
Trent Matson is the National Operations Manager for the MJT which came to Alberta in 1999 and he says the tour covers the beginner who has never played the game, to those who are getting their
“We don’t have restrictions of handicap or anything like that,” said C.O.O. Brad Parkins. He pointed to a CJGA alum who shot 164 in her first tournament and then two years later got her scores down low enough to earn a golf scholarship.
Strong support from sponsors is a common thread for the longevity of these junior golf tours. Things don’t happen without that involvement which can range from cutting a cheque, donating vehicles to chipping in for prizes and lunch for the players. There is a strong appreciation for those running these facilities which give up the time to host the tours. Mills says they understand the importance of keeping people coming into the game at the front end faster than they are leaving at the other end. “We’ve seen some of our players actually get into Director of Golf positions or assistant positions at certain clubs. They had a great experience on the MJT and they try to bring the tour to their facility,” said Matson. Parkins says the CJGA typically focusses on the main city centres of a province but the question being asked is how to reach players in rural areas. “Right now, we’re forcing them to travel and that’s another expense so how do we break down those barriers?”. In the end, all three tours are giving these boys and girls the experience of golf, be as competitive as they want to be along with a chance to meet other young golfers. Parkins says the Linkster program has helped ease the fears of some parents who see the word “competitive” and shy away. The relaxed atmosphere makes for a more welcoming feeling for all levels of golfer. All agree that each tour is about growing the game of golf in Canada. It’s a win for the players, for the courses and for the future of the game.Just like candy, you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. n
Ethan de Graaf of Royal Mayfair GC (L) and Victoria Tse of Country Hills GCC, 2018 McLennan Ross Junior Tour Champions
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Silver Lakes Golf Course, Gadsen, AL
ven though the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is miles south of the 49th Parallel, there are hints of Canadiana spread out all over this world famous destination. And no, we don’t mean it’s littered with Maple Leaf flags and Tim Horton cups.
golf masterpiece was a disciple of Thompson’s. As such, it’s easy to see that the Canadian’s ideas, and philosophies on building outstanding golf courses with exceptional playability and sight lines, took root with the famed American designer.
You see, the homage to Canada comes in the form of a tribute to the best known architect to ever come from the Great White North, Stanley Thompson.
As for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2017, it stretches through greater Alabama and boasts 26 different courses at 11 sites, running from Hampton Cove in the north down to Magnolia Grove in the southern part of the state. The Trail’s
Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the man responsible for the creation of this 52
The Alberta Golfer 2018
terrain varies widely ranging from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the north to the flatlands of the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Following in his mentor’s footsteps, Jones was of the mind that a score of par should be a challenge to one’s game and skill, or as he put it, “not easy to come by.” At the same time, if that number escapes you, holes are set up so that a bogey isn’t all that hard to achieve. Another key element of Jones’ teacher’s lessons are the visuals presented at the
Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail a tribute to Stanley Thompson by Gord Montgomery golfing paradise. Eventually Jones was lured out of retirement to create this everlasting legacy to his, and his mentor’s, name. Since the inception of the Trail, tourism has boomed in Alabama, exactly what the visionaries hoped for when this idea was first teed up. It’s said that the state’s visitor numbers have risen sharply from 2 million a year to over 8 million now, thanks in large part to the Trail. The latest stats available suggest there are more than 500,000 rounds played on it each year, making for a huge economic spinoff not only for the courses but the area’s hotels, restaurants, craft breweries and businesses. In constructing the Trail, Jones adhered to what Thompson preached: 1) unforgettable views; 2) natural features such as rivers, lakes, trees, good soil; and, 3) environment.
He also followed — at least for the most part — the best way to lay out a course as recommended by his Canadian mentor with an easy, aesthetic start with a long, strong finish. While Thompson felt there shouldn’t be any par-3 holes before the 4th or 5th assignments of the day or after the 16th hole, Jones did step outside the parameters here, at on at least a couple of his designs. At The Shoals, The Schoolmaster has a beautiful little short hole up second on the scorecard while Fighting Joe wraps up its demands with par-3s on both nine and 18 . But when you look at what he created, not only for golfers but for the State of Alabama, Jones can certainly be forgiven for what his mentor may have considered small flaws! n
Capitol Hill Golf, Hole #3, Senator Course, Prattville, AL
courses he built. Whether you’re looking from tee to green, or in the reverse direction, the lines are true and it’s easy to see the obstacles that lay in front of you, or those that you’ve managed to avoid on your way to the putting surface. Interestingly enough, Jones wasn’t the first designer approached about constructing a golf trail through Alabama in hopes of encouraging tourism. Big names like Nicklaus and Palmer turned aside the chance to put their names on this iconic AlbertaGolf.org
Connect & Enjoy
Wampum by Andrew Penner
f you had to choose one hole, one view, to put on a poster celebrating Canadian golf, which hole would you choose? From Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, there are many iconic holes in Canada that could be considered. But for many golf aficionados in our country, the answer would be easy: the 14th hole at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course – Wampum. Designed by Stanley Thompson in 1928, the tough-as-nails 14th on the famous layout has it all. A par-4 that tips out at 440 yards, it is, without a doubt, a beautiful summation of what golf in the Canadian Rockies is all about. And it’s a quintessential hole – a poster child! - in Canadian golf. The historic, castle-like fortress of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel rising on the ridge high above the green,
The Alberta Golfer 2018
undoubtedly, is the hole’s most potent attribute. However, with the thundering cascade of Bow Falls on the right, the gently-bending pine-lined playing corridor, and the exceptional architectural characteristics of the hole, including an artistic swarm of ragged bunkers left and right of the green, there are many aspects of the hole that make it a true gem. And with all that eye candy - not to mention the intense challenges it presents - playing Wampum is always highly memorable. Originally the closing hole on the classic “Golden Age” layout, the 14th is still, for many, the pinnacle of the round. True, the sublime “Devil’s Cauldron,” the par-3 4th, may get more love from the scribes and photographers. That’s understandable. It’s been considered one of the world’s great par-3s for 90 years. When you consider the stunning setting of that hole – the emerald pond, the natural bowl that cradles the green, the clutch of bunkers -
it’s hard to downplay the significance, the near perfection, of “the Cauldron.” However, as awesome as the 4th is, the regal 14th, arguably, packs a more powerful punch. It’s the hole that gathers together all the key ingredients that make this Stanley Thompson course – the first course in history to cost one million dollars to build – a true Canadian icon, a masterpiece in global golf. The location of the 14th (and, remember, this was Thompson’s “grand finale” in the original route) is, obviously, the key to its success. “When Thompson was commissioned to build the course in 1928 there was a campground in this location,” says Steve Young, Banff’s Director of Golf. “But Thompson fought tooth and nail with Parks Canada to move the campground so this hole could be built. Long story short, he got his wish.”
In fact, in the end, moving the campground opened the door for a handful of “new” holes to be built, including, of course, his ideal closing run along the river and the storied opening hole (now the 15th) on an aerie ledge adjacent the hotel. Given the affection many people still have for the original routing, the course regularly pays homage to Thompson’s original vision by offering the “Heritage Golf Experience” each year. Not surprisingly, along with the compelling creation of this great hole, which is called “Wampum”, are many great moments throughout its longrunning history. Fittingly, in the 2006 Canadian Skins Game – the contestants were Stephen Ames, John Daly, Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia, and Jack Nicklaus – the course was played in the original routing. For everyone on hand, a lasting memory of this exhibition was watching
Stanley Thompson’s “Grand Finale” the great Jack Nicklaus, in one of his final competitive appearances, stroll up the 14th with the soaring Rockies and the grand hotel in the background. And long before that, during the filming of River of No Return in 1953, the most famous actress of the time, Marilyn Monroe, strolled the fairways of Banff and filmed a scene near the 14th hole. (She
made costume changes in an old building adjacent the 14th fairway – the building is gone but the foundation is still visible). Numerous other famous people - Joe DiMaggio, Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, Bing Crosby, Bobby Locke and Winston Churchill, to name just a few - have also strolled down the 14th fairway and, no doubt, been “wowed” by the surreal beauty. Regardless of how well you play the hole, Thompson’s exquisite shaping and powerful vision for the conclusion of the round is still the pinnacle of the golf experience at Banff. And, whether it’s a bogey or a birdie (or something in that vicinity), rest assured, the grand beauty here – punctuated by the majestic “Castle of the Rockies” looming high above - will be a rich reminder of where your good fortune has brought you. n
Compete & Excel
2018 Tournament Schedule
Sliver Springs Golf & Country Club, Calgary
Alberta Match Play Championship June 06-08 Silver Springs Golf & Country Club
90 male & 30 female players for qualifying round. 16 player brackets for championship
18 holes of stroke-play competition to determine seeding in brackets
Eligibility: Males and Females. Must be a 8.0 Handicap Factor or less
Glendale Golf & Country Club, Edmonton
Alberta Mid-Amateur Championship June 26-28 - Glendale Golf & Country Club & Stony Plain Golf Course
54 holes of stroke-play competition with a 36hole cut to the low 60 and ties
72 holes of stroke-play competition with a 36-hole cut to the low 60 and ties including age protection
Eligibility: Must be a 8.0 Handicap Factor or less and aged 25 & over as of the first day of the Canadian Mid-Amateur
Eligibility: Must be a 15.0 Handicap Factor or less and aged 18 & under as of August 1st
Alberta Junior & Juvenile Girls Championship U19 & U17 - July 02-04 Coyote Creek Golf & RV Resort
120 professional and amateur players
54 holes of stroke-play competition with a 36hole cut to the low 60 and ties
Eligibility: Must be a 5.0 Handicap Factor or less
Alberta Junior & Juvenile Boys Championship U19 & U17 - July 03-06 Sundre Golf Club
SVR Alberta Open Championship June 19-21 - River Spirit Golf Club
Sundre Golf Club, Sundre
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River Spirit Golf Club, Calgary
54 holes of stroke-play competition
Must be a 25.0 Handicap Factor or less and aged 18 & under as of August 1st
Alberta Ladies Team Classic - August 07-08 - Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club & Canmore Golf & Curling Club
Willow Park Golf & Country Club, Calgary
Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur Championship - July 09-11 Willow Park Golf & Country Club
54 holes of stroke-play competition
Must be a 25.0 Handicap Factor or less
Sun Life Financial Alberta Mens Amateur Championship - July 16-19 RedTail Landing Golf Club
60 teams of two players
36 holes of net best-ball stroke-play competition
Each team member must be a 40.4 Handicap Factor or less
Alberta Bantam & Novice Championships U15 & U13 - August 2122 - Goose Hummock Golf Resort
Turner Valley Golf Club, Turner Valley
Alberta Senior Ladies Championship July 23-25 â€“ Woodside Golf Course
54 holes of stroke-play competition
Must be a 30.0 Handicap Factor or less and aged 50 & over as of the first day of the Canadian Senior
36 holes of stroke-play competition for Bantams. 36 holes of stableford competition for Novices
Boys must be a 36.4 Handicap Factor or less and Girls must be a 40.4 Handicap Factor or less. Boys and Girls must be aged 14 & under as of August 1st
Alberta Senior Mens Championship August 01-03 - Turner Valley Golf Club
Alberta Interclub Championship September 04 - Kananaskis Country Golf Course
36 teams of four players
72 holes of stroke-play competition with a 36hole cut to the low 60 and ties
54 holes of stroke-play competition with a 36hole cut to the low 60 and ties
18 holes of team gross & net stroke-play competition where the best three of four scores per hole are counted to the team total
Must be a 8.0 Handicap Factor or less
Must be a 20.0 Handicap Factor or less and aged 55 & over as of the first day of the Canadian Senior
Males and Females. Each team member must be a 20.0 Handicap Factor or less
Compete & Excel
Local Qualifying (18 holes stroke-play competition) May 22 -
SVR Alberta Open Qualifying North Edmonton Garrison Memorial Golf & Curling Club
May 22 -
SVR Alberta Open Qualifying South - Valley Ridge Golf Club
May 26 -
Junior Qualifying South - Riverview Golf Club
May 26 -
Junior Boys Qualifying Edmonton - The Legends Golf and Country Club
May 27 -
Junior Boys Qualifying Calgary - Apple Creek Golf Course
May 27 -
Junior Boys Qualifying North - Grande Prairie Golf & Country Club
May 29 -
SLF Mens Amateur Qualifying North - The Dunes Golf & Winter Club
May 30 -
SLF Mens Amateur Qualifying Calgary - Carstairs Golf Club
May 30 -
SLF Mens Amateur Qualifying Edmonton - The Ranch Golf & Country Club
May 30 -
SLF Mens Amateur Qualifying Central - Olds Central Highlands Golf Club
May 30 -
SLF Mens Amateur Qualifying South - Picture Butte Golf Club
June 11 -
Senior Mens Qualifying North - Goose Hummock Golf Resort
June 11 -
Senior Mens Qualifying South - Nanton Golf Club
REGISTER ONLINE AT ALBERTAGOLF.ORG *Dates, venues, competition requirements and information are subject to change.
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The Alberta Golfer 2018
Compete & Excel
olf fans in Alberta love keeping track of what tours the top players in this province will be on during the 2018 golf season. Weather it’s the Symetra Tour, Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada or the Web.com tour, all the pros who grew up in this province have one goal in mind: win a tournament.
Albertans on Tour by Kevin Smith Tour. The competition is so high it basically produces a lot of PGA Tour winners. Always has, always will.” That’s Yip’s goal this year; to win on the Web.com Tour “A win plus one top-5 and you’ll take care of your PGA Tour card.”
The two players who seem closest to doing that and knocking on the door to play on the best tours in the world are Calgary’s Ryan Yip and Jennifer Ha. Yip, who now splits his time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Ohio is 33 years old and has full status on the Web.com tour. Ha is 23 years old, lives in Naples, Florida and is coming off her first full season on the LPGA Tour. Ha wasn’t able to keep her LPGA tour card and will play this season on the Symetra Tour. She says her experience on the LPGA Tour was unreal. “It was crazy. So many great experiences, I got to meet so many of my heroes. I didn’t have the year that I was planning on having but I had such a crazy learning experience. I’m really fortunate that I had that privilege. I had a little taste of what it was like and it totally put fuel to the fire and I really want to get back on there.” Ha will play this year on the developmental Symetra Tour, which begins play in March. If Ha finishes in the Top Ten in the order of merit by the end of the year, she will earn her way back to the LPGA tour.
Ryan Yip of Calgary had a solid start to the year on the 2018 Web.com Tour.
Ha says she’s much more mature now, with a little help from a veteran peer. “I had a lot of help from Alena Sharp. She was amazing. She played practice rounds with me and took me out to dinner and made me feel super comfortable. I feel a lot more patient than when I first got on tour,” Ha said. As for Ryan Yip, he’s had full status on the Web.com Tour for half a decade now and says he’s never played better. A couple of years ago he finally got a swing coach, a trainer, a chiropractor and is now playing injury free. Yip says the Web.com Tour is the third best tour in the world behind the PGA Tour and the European Tour. “It’s obvious. You see guys on the Web get their tour card and within ten tournaments they’re winning on the PGA
Seeing fellow Canadian and Kent State grad Mac Hughes already win on the PGA Tour has given Yip a lot of confidence that he can win there too. Four other Albertans will be aiming to win tournaments on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada. Jamie Sadlowski, James Love, Wil Bateman and Riley Fleming all have varying degrees of status on the Canadian circuit that has seen a huge rise in standard the past few years. Sadlowski has the highest profile of these golfers considering he’s a former twotime world long drive champion. In 2016 the St. Paul native switched to stroke play golf and proved he has a bright future there too by winning a U.S. Open qualifier and making cuts on the Web.com Tour. Sadlowski doesn’t have full status on the Mackenzie Tour PGA TOUR Canada but plans to go to Q-School and if all goes well play a full slate in Canada this summer. He’s also hoping to get sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events.
Sadlowski, a Scottsdale, Arizona resident says he’s learning the differences between gripping and ripping it during his long drive career and the feel shots you need in stroke play golf. “When you have to flip a little 70-yard wedge in there over water to a back pin and you can’t hit it over and you can’t land it short, it’s a very different feeling under the gun than standing on a tee and having six golf balls.” James Love is 33 years old and lives full time in Denver, Colorado. The born and raised Calgarian has full status on the Mackenzie Tour after finishing in the top 60 on the Order of Merit a season ago. He and his wife had their first child, a daughter, in mid-January. Love is hoping being a father might give him a new perspective on the stress of trying to win golf tournaments. Riley Fleming of Airdrie, 24, is also looking for a win on the Mackenzie Tour, but he’s not sure how many starts he will get. He’s entering his fifth season on the tour but doesn’t have full status and doesn’t think it’s worth the entry fee to go to qualifying school. Last year Fleming only played in four events. Fleming will go the route of Monday qualifiers this year now and hopes to play more events than last season. For any of these Alberta golfers getting a win on any tour this season would be money in the bank. n
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Everyone Benefits by Rennay Craats
ince the first Scotsman put club to ball in the 1400s, golf has taken the entire world by storm. Canada has not been immune to the call of the links, with this country having the highest per capita participation in golf and more people playing the game than all other sports combined. For over 100 years, Golf Canada and Alberta Golf have fostered that love of the game and looked for new ways to grow it further. To aid in that effort, they introduced a new Gold membership model for the organizations last year. “A year ago, when we were launching this program, there was a lot of uncertainty,” says Phil Berube, Executive Director and CEO of Alberta Golf. “We were increasing the fees but the associated benefits were increasing along with them. Given the timing, which was after many facilities had already gone through their budgeting process, we were a bit apprehensive, conservative with our estimate, but the response was tremendous.” Berube had hoped to convert between 30 and 36 facilities to the new model, but change can be challenging, especially in a sport so steeped in tradition. The team exceeded expectations, converting 51 facilities to bring the total to 70. The number of Gold memberships jumped from 1,052 to 20,138, proof that the uncertainty about the program was unfounded.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
“It was a sign that there was buy-in from the entire industry,” says Berube. Coast to coast, all eyes were on Alberta Golf’s experiment. Other provincial organizations were watching to see how members and courses would receive the changes and were waiting for results here before revamping their own membership models. “Now across the country everyone is going full steam ahead and implementing the Gold model,” he says. As Alberta Golf continues to roll out the new membership system, it will help connect more golfers to the associations. The goal is to add approximately another 20,000 new members in the coming year. Alberta Golf anticipates transitioning 73 more facilities in 2018 to bring the total under the new model to 143. Courses are also continuing to promote the program and encouraging their golfers to take advantage of the benefits of membership. And because membership to one association includes membership to the other, the benefits—both provincial and national—are incredible. The membership model retains that which attracted many golfers to the associations to begin with. Alberta Golf and Golf Canada have traditionally been known for their handicap system, and the new membership continues to support competitive golfers by tracking their scores and handicaps. For many clubs, this remains the key appeal for membership. “Our day-to-day players don’t have (the membership) but we make it mandatory for our men’s and ladies’ leagues to have their handicap,” says Josh Davison, general manager of RedTail Landing Golf Club. Handicaps are necessary for golfers to compete in many provincial, national and regional events as well as in some course leagues. But Alberta Golf is so much more than just handicaps, and the organization now offers more tangible benefits that have a wider appeal.
“It was a sign that there was buy-in from the entire industry” “There is value in Alberta Golf for every member, not just the competitive golfer,” says Jon Fisher, general manager of Silver Springs Golf and Country Club. For a low annual fee, golfers receive custom ID labels displaying their membership number that they can adhere to their equipment. If they misplace or leave behind a club, golf courses can easily find out to whom it belongs and return it to its owner.
on social media and register for events, all with a few taps on a smart phone. Courses also enjoy the perks of membership. The associations provide course and slope ratings, which is the international standard used to measure a course’s difficulty. Golfers can post their rounds to a member course, which can help courses identify potential growth markets and demographics. Golf Canada and Alberta Golf have a great deal of information to offer member courses as well, ranging from tournament management software that helps them run their events to year-round course maintenance requirements. The benefits are impressive and have made Berube’s job converting facilities that much easier. “I was pleased to see that. Yes, it was a little more money, but I felt like now members really get something. There is value there,” says Alan Carter, general manager of Edmonton Country Club.
“Golf clubs have situated themselves as the centerpiece of new communities. With that there are windows, and not everybody has mastered hitting the ball down the fairway, so this is a great thing,” says Fisher.
As a steward of the game, Alberta Golf is dedicated to offering value and resources to its members and it appreciates the support from member courses and players so it can continue to grow the game. It provides various programs throughout the year to help develop young players, attract new golfers, educate weekend golfers, and support elite competitive players in the province.
In the event of a hooking tee shot that breaks a window, an unfortunate slice that damages someone’s property, clubs that go missing, or a too-tight turn in a power cart, members are covered for up to $6000 in damages and loss. Golfers can also take advantage of discounted home and auto insurance through their member policy.
“All of the programs that people take advantage of and don’t even realize it and the services Alberta Golf provides, it all costs money. Having the membership support is the best way to do it. And it’s a win-win for both,” says Brent Syme, general manager of Country Hills Golf Club.
On top of these benefits, members receive a rule book, Golf Canada magazine subscription, membership to both Alberta Golf and Golf Canada and participation in national and provincial championships if eligible. They can also download the Golf Canada app to track scores, share rounds
With thousands of new Gold members enjoying the perks, everyone benefits with the new Alberta Golf membership. n
Membership also includes an insurance package for incident protection.
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Alberta Golf Foundation by Scott Cruickshank For that freedom, for that financial boost, she thanks the AGF. “It was really amazing to get that,” says Copeland. “It means a lot. It allowed me to focus more on school and maintain a 4.0 (grade-point average). It inspired me to give back to my community as well.”
cholarships alleviate the burden of school costs.
Which means students don’t have to hold down part-time jobs. Therefore, more hours can be devoted to studying and volunteering. This is what happens in a perfect world. This is what happens in Celine Copeland’s world. Copeland – twice the recipient of a scholarship from the Alberta Golf Foundation – never fritters away the windfall. The Calgarian funnels the money into her education – she’s completed two years of the public-relations program at Mount Royal University – and uses her spare time to help others.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
In 2017 alone, the AGF doled out 36 scholarships – worth more than $55,000 – to Albertans pursuing post-secondary education. “There’s no question that the primary role (of the foundation) is to raise funds for scholarships,” says Florin Bergh, a member of the AGF for more than ten years. “The p.r. we get out of giving those kinds of funds to our youth … it’s a very good advertisement for Alberta Golf.” For the bursaries, money is raised through individual and corporate donations, through endowments and casino nights in Edmonton. Since being formed by the Alberta Golf Association in 1994, the AGF has awarded nearly 400 scholarships, totaling more than $600,000. “That is something that we are extremely proud of,” says Jack Lane, Alberta Golf’s director of business development and communications.
“Many of these students have gone on to have successful careers in various fields. If we were a small part of their journey and success, then the AGF has accomplished its goal.”
Copeland also pitched in at She Swings, She Scores – a collaborative effort between Alberta Golf and Hockey Alberta to introduce girls to the game of golf.
Deadline for applying for 2018 scholarships, which range from $500 to nearly $4,000, is July 31.
On top of which, she lent time to the junior program at her home course, Willow Park Golf and Country Club.
“I’ve only been in my role for two years, but the scholarship program is something I’ve known about for almost two decades,” says Phil Berube, Alberta Golf CEO and executive director. “The golf community rallies around the foundation… it’s pretty well known and widespread. I’m super proud of what we’ve done.” Someone like Copeland also shows her gratitude by paying it forward.
“I’m really trying to encourage more girls to play,” says Copeland. “There’s not enough girls playing golf. That’s what I’m really passionate about.” For the bursaries, however, there is no golf-playing criterion. Successful candidates are selected on the basis of financial need and academic standing, volunteer work and references. Copeland intends to apply again.
At Mount Royal University, she helped establish Best Buddies. The 19-year-old is vice-president of the popular initiative. “It’s about including people with disabilities,” explains Copeland. “We match up people with intellectual or mental disabilities with a university student within Mount Royal. Then they can build a friendship, they can meet weekly or monthly. It’s really a great program.” This past summer she volunteered with Alberta Golf, which offered experience in her chosen field of public relations. She learned about social media and penned articles for the organization’s website.
She heard about the bursaries three years ago. Then she checked out the website – albertagolf.org – for more information. “Just seeing the amount of people they’d given them to, then looking at the names and going, ‘Oh, I know them, I know them,’” says Copeland. “Everybody is so fortunate. Just being able to get a scholarship from Alberta Golf, everybody’s so thankful because it helps a lot.” n
Northwest Montana –
One of the World’s Top Golf Destinations
ust a stone’s throw across the border from the southeast corner of BC is a wonderful collection of ten spectacular golf courses centered on Kalispell, Montana. Operating under the brand of the Northwest Montana Golf Association, these courses offer visitors a terrific mix of very affordable golf along with a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities. The area also features an outstanding selection of shopping and fine dining options, all within an easy day’s drive of virtually anywhere in Alberta.
Cabinet View Golf Club is Libby, Montana’s contribution to the NMGA collection. About ninety miles west of Kalispell, the drive to Libby is nothing short of Montana magic. Wildlife such as deer, moose and elk are often spotted out meandering on the fairways sharing their natural habitat with the golfers. The breathtaking views of the Cabinet Mountains and the beautifully conditioned course make the trip to Libby more than worthwhile. Buffalo Hill Golf Club in Kalispell.
Kalispell is a bustling, vibrant city home to about 30,000 people in the metro area, and is the hub of the NMGA consortium. You could stay in Kalispell and be on the tee of almost any course in the group in no more than an hour. Other communities in the area such as Whitefish, Columbia Falls,Eureka and Polson all have their own unique charm and attractions over and above the superb golf courses. Kalispell itself is home to Buffalo Hill Golf Club, Northern Pines Golf Course, and Village Greens Golf Club, providing a terrific variety of golf right within the city limits. Buffalo Hill is perhaps the most popular layout in the area featuring 27 holes and an all-new, state of the art practice facility. It is close to both Kalispell’s historic downtown area and the city’s excellent variety of shopping and dining facilities.
The first NMGA course south of the border that visitors will encounter is Indian Springs Ranch Golf Course in Eureka, 18 holes of links style golf set at the western edge of the Rockies about an hour north of Whitefish. A stroll through historic downtown Eureka is a walk back in time amongst the town’s beautifully maintained Old West buildings. Simply charming.
Northern Pines was designed by two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North, and is more than enough challenge for any player from the 7,100-yard tips, while offering yardage options suitable to any player’s skill level. Village Greens features shimmering lakes, gently rolling fairways and incredible mountain views, combined with immaculate course conditions.
The course furthest south in the group is the 27-hole Polson Bay Golf Club in Polson, a pleasant one-hour drive south of Kalispell along the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. With several holes bordering the lake, Polson Bay combines incredible scenery with unsurpassed value.
The only 36-hole facility in the group is Whitefish Lake Golf Course in Whitefish. The North 18 stretches out to nearly 7,000 yards of beauty and challenge, but both layouts offer a multitude of playing options for anyone. Their delightful log clubhouse was built in the 1930’s from lumber harvested when the course was being built, and the restaurant offers some of the best dining in the state.
Glacier View Golf Course is about 45 miles northeast of Kalispell in West Glacier. The après-golf warmth of the clubhouse fireplace, combined with a unique family-friendly golf course and on-site RV hookups make this the perfect getaway. Also located on Highway 2 on the way to West Glacier is the very popular Meadow Lake Golf Resort in Columbia Falls, featuring perhaps the area’s most challenging layout, on-site accommodations, and a 4.5 star rating from Golf Digest. Meadow Lake has been a ‘must play’ golf destination for Albertans for decades, and with good reason. The golf in northwest Montana is both spectacular and very affordable. With all the hassles of air travel these days, and with resort green fees often bordering on the ridiculous, it is so refreshing to find a menu of golf courses within easy driving distance and without a green fee in the bunch even approaching $100. Throw in the great dining, outdoor recreation and endless fun for the whole family, the Northwest Montana Golf Association fully deserves its reputation as a world class golf destination. Check out all the courses and book tee times online at golfnorthwestmontana.com. n AlbertaGolf.org
Mary Beth McKenna Appointed to New Post with Golf Canada
Mary Beth McKenna
Mary Beth McKenna, born and raised in Fort McMurray, has recently been appointed by Golf Canada as the new Assistant Tournament Director
for the RBC Canadian Open. McKenna, 30, played her junior golf at the Fort McMurray Golf Club before heading off to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her brother Greg travelled throughout Alberta for junior and amateur competitions as their father Paul McKenna was a long-time Alberta Golf volunteer and member of the Executive Board of Alberta Golf. Mary Beth began her career with Golf Canada as an intern
in the summer of 2011, helping with tournament operations on-site at many Golf Canada national championships. She transitioned into the role of full-time coordinator for the Golf Fore the Cure program in support of breast cancer research and fundraising before moving back into the tournament operations department with Golf Canada in 2012, where she developed her skills in running national championships across the country. McKenna, who now lives about a 20-minute commute to Golf House from her home in Burlington, ON, will now report to Bill Paul who oversees the
entire spectrum of operations for both the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open. McKenna commented about her duties with the RBC Canadian Open championship, which will be held at Glen Abbey Golf Club for the 30th time this year from July 23-29. “I will be mainly involved in operational planning for the tournament,” said McKenna. “Working with our tournament partners and the PGA TOUR, my role will be to help make sure things run smoothly onsite during the championship, and also ensure that our over 1,500 volunteers have a wonderful tournament experience during the event.” n
Leslie Dunning Elected President of Golf Canada
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The Alberta Golfer 2018
Golf Canada’s Annual Meeting was held in Calgary in late January, culminating with the election of Leslie Dunning of Calgary as the 114th president of Golf Canada. Dunning, a member at Earl Grey Golf Club in Calgary, is a past president of Alberta Golf (2007-08) and has been a volunteer with Golf Canada since 2008, serving on a variety of committees, including the past nine years on the Board of Directors. At the gala closing dinner held at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino, Dunning talked about the honour of becoming the new volunteer president of golf’s National Sport Federation.
Leslie Dunning, President of Golf Canada
“I am humbled and extremely proud to assume this post,” said Dunning. Dunning spent more than 36 years in a variety of senior leadership roles with the Canadian Red Cross prior to her retirement in 2014. Dunning has also served several local, provincial and national organizations in a variety of governance capacities. Also named to the Golf Canada 2018 Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting was Susan MacKinnon of Willow Park Golf Club in Calgary. n
Marsden, Bergh and Lyons Receive Distinguished Service Awards
passion to preserve the history of golf for all to enjoy. The walls of the clubhouse at The Legends are adorned with paintings of many of Alberta’s most famous golf pioneers and builders, and the club hosts an annual tournament each August where participants from across North America are decked out in their finest plus-fours while re-living the history of the game playing their rounds with hickory-shafted golf clubs. n
ALBERTA GOLF ANNOUNCES NEW GOLFER OPPORTUNITIES LISTING SERVICE As the provincial sport organization for golf in Alberta we are committed to promoting all opportunities for individuals to: • • • • L to R: Tom Zariski, Golf Canada Volunteer of the Year, Ron Lyons, Fran Marsden, “Fuzzy” Bergh, Distinguished Service Award recipients, and Leslie Dunning, incoming President of Golf Canada.
Long-serving Alberta Golf volunteers Fran Marsden and Florin “Fuzzy” Bergh, along with noted golf historian Ron Lyons, all residents of Edmonton, were honoured at the Golf Canada Annual Meeting as recipients of Golf Canada’s Distinguished Service Award. Presented annually since 1993, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have had an outstanding impact on the game of golf in Canada, either nationally or within their own community. All three of these individuals meet this criteria in spades! Fran Marsden, a long-time member at Glendale G&CC, has spent over 30 years as a golf volunteer in Alberta, first with the Alberta Ladies Golf Association and later with the amalgamated men’s and women’s provincial golf bodies. Marsden was the first president of the amalgamated associations in 2000, and her efforts were instrumental in helping guide and formulate the structure of what we now know as Alberta Golf. “Fuzzy” Bergh has been a life-long volunteer in golf in Alberta, both at his home club, the Highlands Golf Club in Edmonton, and with Alberta Golf. Fuzzy was previously honoured with a lifetime membership at Highlands and he was also inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame in 2015 with Alberta Golf’s Distinguished Service Award. Bergh’s passion for golf manifests itself with his dedication and service to the Course Rating and Handicapping Committee, as well as his stewardship as a past president of the Alberta Golf Foundation overseeing the tens of thousands of dollars annually awarded in scholarships.
Discover and try golf Learn and play more golf Compete and excel in the sport of golf Connect more closely with the game and those we choose to share it with
To this end we are inviting all golfers and facilities to reach out to us if you want your golf opportunity to be added to our listing. Go to www.albertagolf.org to learn more.
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Ron Lyons, a co-owner of The Legends Golf and Country Club in Edmonton, is widely recognized as one of the foremost golf historians and golf memorabilia collectors in the world. His collection of hickory shafted clubs, books, tees, golf balls and beautifully restored classic golf carts is a true reflection on Lyons’ AlbertaGolf.org
Paradise Canyon To Host New Mackenzie Tour Event Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge will play host to some of the best young touring professionals in the world this June with a new Mackenzie Tour event to be held the week of June 18-24. The inaugural Paradise Canyon Open will offer a purse of $200,000 CDN and comes on the heels of the opening series of events on the 2018 Mackenzie Tour in British Columbia. Paradise Canyon Head Professional Matt Barkway talked about the quality of the golf that will be on display at the 6810-yard Bill Newis designed layout nestled along
the banks of the Old Man River in Lethbridge. “Many of these young pros are on the verge of becoming PGA TOUR stars,” said Barkway. “With the Mackenzie Tour now part of the developmental ladder leading to the PGA TOUR, the quality of play and depth of talent in these Canadian events has never been higher.” One look at any PGA TOUR leaderboard lends credence to Barkway’s observations. In the last few years alone, PGA TOUR stars like Tony Finau, Adam Hadwin, Mac Hughes, C.T. Pan and Nick Taylor
Tom Zariski Honoured with 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award Tom Zariski of Drumheller was also recognized at the Golf Canada Annual Meeting as the recipient of Golf Canada’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year
Award. Zariski, a retired high school principal, was president of the Alberta Golf Board of Directors in 2017 and was first elected to Alberta Golf’s Board
Paradise Canyon Golf Resort will host a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada event in June, 2018
have all honed their craft on the Mackenzie Tour as they advanced to PGA TOUR fame and fortune. While not overly long by today’s tour standards, Paradise Canyon will likely be welldefended by the notorious southern Alberta winds. “Holes 10-12 are the course’s ‘Amen Corner’,” said Barkway. “While short in length, trouble lies everywhere on these holes, and
if the wind blows, and we expect that it will, three pars would be great scores on this stretch.” The Mackenzie Tour will also make stops in Edmonton from July 30 – August 5 for the Oil Country Championship and in Calgary from August 6-12 for the ATB Financial Classic. Take these opportunities to see these great young professionals right in our own back yards before they become household names in professional golf. n
of Directors in 2010. He was named Drumheller’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2005 and is currently in his second term of office on Drumheller’s Town Council. Tom also is currently the president of the Alberta Golf Association Foundation which awards over $50,000 a year in scholarships to young Albertans pursuing their
post-secondary education. Golf Canada past president Roland Deveau commented on Zariski’s outstanding record of serving the game of golf. “Tom has given back to the game at the provincial and national level and it is fitting that his leadership, commitment and contributions are being recognized.” n
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The Alberta Golfer 2018
Shaw Charity Classic Earns Third President’s Award This is getting to be habitforming! For the third time in the fiveyear history of the event, the 2017 Shaw Charity Classic, Canada’s only stop on The PGA TOUR Champions held at Calgary’s Canyon Meadows G&CC, was recognized as the top event on tour, winning the President’s Award, the most prestigious tournament honour on PGA TOUR Champions. The award showcased the Shaw Charity Classic as a tournament that excelled in a variety of aspects amongst the other outstanding tournaments on tour. Thanks to the support from over 2,400 donors, the 2017 tournament surpassed its fundraising goal by 30 per cent, raising more than $8.3 million for children and youth charities across Alberta. This brings the tournament’s five-year charitable contribution total to a staggering $22 million for
over 150 charities supporting a variety of causes in all corners of Alberta. PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin presented the President’s Award to tournament organizers at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Meetings last December in Boca Raton, FL. “It is remarkable to see a tournament win the President’s Award for the third time,” said McLaughlin. “This event has achieved great success very quickly and continues to raise the bar ever year. Shaw Communications has been a tremendous partner in allowing this event to support the Calgary community.” Scott McCarron won the 2017 tournament by one shot over Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of McCarron’s four wins of the season on his way to a careerbest $2.7 million in earnings. McCarron is expected to be on hand again this year
Scott McCarron, winner of the 2017 Shaw Charity Classic.
at Canyon Meadows G&CC during the week of August 29 – September 2 to defend his title against a multitude of stars on the PGA TOUR Champions. n
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Future Links by Jim Claggett
olf is a game for life and Future Links, through Golf Canada, has plenty of options to get you started on the right path and keep you there. Since 1996 more than one million golfers aged five to 18 have gone through some part of the myriad of programs involving players of all abilities, professionals who lead the instruction and golf facilities which play host to events. “One example is the Golf in Schools program. It has three levels which basically cover students from kindergarten to when they leave school”, said Jeff Thompson, Chief Sport Officer at Golf Canada. He expects around 370,000 golfers will take part in 2018. This is the definition of grassroots. “We’re not trying to develop golfers in our Golf in Schools program. We’re trying to develop kids who may have an interest in actually learning the game and experiencing the game.” Thompson says this program is a chance to expose kids to the game at the same time they are being shown other sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. “Research shows if you don’t reach these young people by the age of 12, the chances of them picking up a sport goes down drastically.” Other branches on the Future Links tree include Learn to Play, Test Your Skills, Girls Only, Order of Merit and the very popular mobile clinics. “They (the clinics) are vehicles that are driven by PGA professionals and outfitted with clubs. They will go to where the kids are, and it could be at summer camps, boys and girls clubs, YMCA’s or recreation centres,” said Thompson. “I think this year we’ll be around 65,000 kids that will have been engaged through the mobile clinic program.”
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Future Links is part and parcel of the community outreach strategy Alberta Golf has crafted which expands the scope of who they are reaching and how they’re getting to them, said Jennifer Davison, Director, Sport Development and High Performance for Alberta Golf. Bringing onboard the PGA of Canada professionals to help run these events was a smart move. Davison said they are the ones who can provide that next level of instruction and are passionate about bringing the game to the kids. “Players are getting great opportunities in their own backyard and the best of the best are teaching them,” she said. Golf Canada develops these programs for use and it’s up to provincial bodies like Alberta Golf to deliver them. But it’s not a case of dropping of material to the facilities, never to be seen again. Davison says Alberta Golf will support them in some way to make things work and put a face to the facility of the person conducting the program. “It’s making the connection between these grassroots programs and connecting them to a facility.” A prime example of how this all comes together would be the Derrick Golf and Winter Club in Edmonton which has been a part of Future Links for several years.
cost to the facility Werbicki says he fully recommends taking full advantage of what’s being provided. “Talk to other professionals that are using the program and get yourself right in there using it. Don’t wait. There’s no downside in using it.” Werbicki says nobody is telling the facilities what to do with the resources but instead it’s a chance to pick and choose what your membership might want while you can flesh it out as you see fit.
“Parents need to see that the sport has a plan of how my son or daughter is going to progress in the sport”
Associate professional Adam Werbicki says the resources provided by Future Links allows them to run successful events. “It’s great for the young professionals or even community golf coaches or facilities that are looking to jump start a junior program or maybe add more to what they currently do,” said Werbicki. Support for Future Links adds up to about $500,000 taking various forms from Sport Canada, Acura, Puma, ClubLink, PGA of Canada and the Royal & Ancient. With no
“There is a lot of planning and preparing which goes into these events,” said Werbicki. “Tools like what Future Links provides can help guide a professional when hosting an event and do what is important-spend time with the kids.” It’s a tried and true program with plenty of resources for parents, professionals and community golf coaches,Werbicki added.
Davison says the thought process is to expand on what is being provided and not try to re-invent what’s already there. Like anything else however, there is always room for improvement. Future Links looks much different today than when it started in 1996 and a really important watermark was in 2007 with the creation of the long-term player development guide. It was done in partnership with PGA of Canada and Sport Canada as a blueprint on how to develop in the sport of golf from the time you first pick up a club. Golf Canada put Future Links under a microscope to give it a real refresh as to what was being delivered.The same process was recently undertaken in late 2017 to see what are the needs today for junior golf in the country and how does Future Links need to evolve, said Thompson. He says with Golf in Schools and the mobile clinics, players get a first taste of the game but then there are more levels to discover and complete while developing a golfer. “Parents need to see that the sport has a plan of how my son or daughter is going to progress in the sport,” said Thompson. Davison added, Alberta Golf wants to get away from the idea these tiers are vertical, that one level is better than the other. “What we’re trying to promote is that these tiers are horizontal and that we’re trying to best match where a golfer is and what we can do to support their growth and development.” With golf being a game for a lifetime, it’s good to know the people who share some of the responsibility to grow the game have a concrete system in place which gives parents of young players a more defined road map of how to negotiate this path. n
Compete & Excel
aclyn Lee of Calgary is one of the top young female amateur golfers in the country.
when I was just starting up and I looked up to her. But I managed to put together a couple good rounds and came through.
Born and raised in Calgary, the 20-year-old is a member of the Glencoe Golf and Country Club. She is a two-time Alberta Amateur champion and a member of the Canadian National Women’s Amateur team.
Q: You’ve been competitive at the national level in the junior and ladies amateur, but never won. Is that a disappointment?
In 2013, she tied for fourth in the Canada Summer Games and tied for eighth at the Canadian Junior Championship. She won the 2014 and 2016 Alberta Amateur titles and tied for 15th in the World Junior Girls. She’s competed in the last four Canadian Amateur championships, finishing 17th last year and tied for 59th in the CP Women’s Open last year. Q: How did you get into the game, and at what age? A: I started playing golf in Kelowna when I was 10. My parents didn’t really play, but they tried to get into it when we started. When my sister Carolyn and I got better they both stopped playing with us (laughs). Q: Did you progress quickly? Were you a natural at the game? A: To be honest I hated the game when I first started. But there was a course marshal in Kelowna and he told Carolyn and I that we should take it more seriously as we had a natural talent. He saw something special in us.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Catching up with
Jaclyn Lee by Danny Rode Q: So, when did you start to like the game? A: I’d say around 12. I started playing tournaments when I was 11 and they scared me. I didn’t like the thought of playing tournament golf. I felt a lot of pressure in tournaments, and that’s weird as I was 11 years old and what pressure do you have when you’re 11? Q: Was there a time when you knew you were good at it? A: I don’t think there was any specific time. I just kept working and practicing. I believe in myself, but I never tell myself I’m really good. I’ll keep working and see how far it will take me. Q: You progressed quickly on the national scene and played in the CP Women’s Open last year. Was that possibly your career highlight so far?
A: It was one of my proudest achievements so far in making the cut and winning the Marlene Streit Award as low amateur. That award meant a lot as I know Marlene personally and she’s a great woman. To get a medal in her name was really special. Q: Did you have a home course advantage with the Open at Priddis Greens in Calgary? A: No, I had never played Priddis before. But it was great playing in my home town and having everyone out supporting me. Q: You’ve done well at the provincial level in both junior and amateur. Is that something you can take pride in as well? A: I was 17 when I first won the Alberta Amateur. I knew Jennifer Ha and she was always strong. She was dominating
A: At the junior level I had to pull out my final year (two years ago) because of a wrist injury, which didn’t allow me to be at my best. Plus there’s a lot of good competition. Q: You attend Ohio State University. Did you always want to get a scholarship south of the border? A: I didn’t get into golf to get a scholarship. I progressed in the game and wanted to take it to the next level. I chose Ohio State because of the coaching and practice facility. Plus I wanted a school, not only for golf, but good academically. Q: Academically you’ve done well being a two-time AllAmerican scholar and OSU Scholar-Athlete and last year an Academic All-Big 10. As for golf, last year you were on the All-Big Ten second team and finished ranked in the top-100 nationally. This season you won your first NCAA tournament. Are you pleased with your game there? A: I didn’t start off well as a freshman, but I kept plugging along and finally received a NCAA medal this year. That’s a nice accomplishment.
Q: The last five years you’ve been with the Canadian Amateur Team, the first two on the Development Team. How important has that been for you? A: It’s been an immense help in helping me grow as a person and my golf game. The Development Team helped prepare me for college in that you’re gone three or four days at a time. You learn how to travel and take care of yourself. Plus the support staff is amazing. I don’t have enough good things to say about (assistant coach) Ann Carroll and (head coach) Tristan Mullally. Both of them have impacted my game positively There is so much I can learn from
Tristan. I believe my game has changed completely for the better. Q: What would say are your strengths and weaknesses? A: Ball striking is a strength. I need to continue to work on my short game, but then also work on the long game as well. Q: What about putting? A: It’s OK and I’ve seen an improvement in putting this last fall. Q: Did you learn as much about the mental side of the game as the physical side with the National Team? A: I’ve learned so much
The moment you discovered two of Canada’s most iconic golf courses.
mentally and on the golf side. It’s great to have that support. You get a glimpse into what professional life is like. Q: As a member of Team Canada you will have a busy summer, but what are your plans? A: I haven’t really looked at my schedule yet, but I hope to compete in the World Championships in Ireland. I’m not sure if I will play in the Alberta Amateur or not. But as member of Team Canada I will be in the Canadian Amateur. Q: I understand you have a slight wrist injury, which you had a couple of years ago. How is that coming along?
A: I’ve been healthy the last couple of years, but I re-injured it in October in our third (NCAA) tournament of the season. Right now it’s wait and see. Q: Is pro golf your ultimate goal? A: For sure. I’d love to turn pro after college and see where it takes me. n Ed. Note: Jaclyn added a second NCAA tournament title Feb. 24-26, 2018 at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, AZ. She fired rounds of 64-69-64, 19-under par for 54 holes. Her rounds of 8-under par 64 broke the Ohio State women’s collegiate single round scoring record, twice in three days!
Amateurs and professionals alike are constantly amazed by Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Club’s spectacular layout. From the actual hole design to the optical illusions created by the surrounding mountains, this Alberta golf course will delight and tempt you. Journey north to the Canadian Icefields Parkway and find Fairmont Banff Springs sister course, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club. Highly acclaimed for its challenging layout and unparalleled beauty, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club has been rated by SCOREGolf Magazine as the #1 Best Golf Resort Course in Canada for over twenty consecutive years. Discover a new level of prestige this golf season.
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he simple answer is to be prepared which means having a plan. The complete plan for an elite player peaking at their provincial and national championships is not possible to present in a short piece but the following outlines some general concepts with a few specifics that stand out. An elite player’s yearly training plan has significant detail within cycles and phases including periodization. Periodization is an organized plan sequencing the events and activities in your training and preparation to get to peak performance at an exact time, when you want it. The general cycles within your yearly training plan would include; training and preparation, pre-competitive and competitive seasons. Periodization is easily seen in the schedules of top ranked players on the PGA Tour. They are clearly tapering, resting, preparing and then working to peak for each major. Our condensed Canadian season, with a busy competitive calendar adds to the challenge and discipline required for proper peaking. It might be obvious but in order to peak there must also be planned periods of tapering and rest in both June and July. Every component of your training and preparation fits within the plan. Ideally your integrated support team are all involved and it is all coordinated by your coach. This includes equipment, fitness, technical, tactical, psychological and health and lifestyle including diet, nutrition and rest. Equipment – Plan your fitting in the spring, re-gripping in June or a grip cleaning a couple weeks ahead of your majors. Be sure you have options for set make up depending on the course. Fitness – Add strength and power early in the training and preparation cycle, followed by golf specific fitness in precompetitive and maintenance only during
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Play Your Best When it Matters Most by Bill Murchison, PGA of Canada Professional, Golf Canada Calgary Centre the competitive season. Maintenance is key to staying healthy and to avoid losing speed and distance during the taxing competitive season. Technical – Changes and the introduction of new skills take place ahead of the competitive season. The competitive season includes assessment and monitoring. Refinement of skills is limited and carefully implemented. If your coach has his hands all over you on the range during warm up at a major event you have a serious problem. When you see a coach on the range with a tour player at an event they are there to reassure and encourage. The feedback to the player is minimal, positive and significantly filtered. Good coaches instill confidence and trust prior to performance. Checklists – You need to have detailed home and away competition checklists that include exact timing.An executed competition plan will eliminate issues and distraction. Avoiding drama will enhance performance. Lifestyle – Late nights, pizza and milkshakes are for the fans, not the athletes. Chocolate bars and sugar drinks at the turn won’t get it done either, especially if you end up with a 10-hour round due to weather delays. If you want to do your best the difference between
good and great performance can easily be found here. Tactical – Complete tactical preparation does not include a money game during your last look at the test that lies ahead. Get the most out of your practice round, have your course mapping, game plan and yardage book ready. Psychological – Ideally as you get closer to your events the focus on practice shifts to include significant modelling of competition with a much greater focus on your pre-shot routine. Be sure your routine meets pace of play guidelines and practice it being timed for consistency. When you do (and you will) get paired with somebody slow, you don’t have to change your routine or worry about being on the clock. Your practice and routine should also include visualization and positive self-talk. Only you control your thoughts and emotions. Practising how you think is relatively easy if you have clear process goals with good strategies. If you have done the work there is no reason not to trust yourself and be confident. By having a plan and being prepared you will have controlled everything you can and will have taken the steps to have your best performance when it matters most! n
Capital Colour Press Full Page pg#73
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ou can dress him up and take him out. Plus the bonus of playing golf with Danny Sahl is he’ll show you the way. Yup, the Sherwood Park product is pretty much a jack-of-all-trades golf guy. Need a playing partner? He’s game. How about a golf assistant? You got it. A dude to carry your clubs? He’s your man. A little advice on your swing, your game and your wardrobe? Check, check, check… “I don’t think the dream is dead yet,” said the sharp-dressed Sahl, when asked if he still aspires to be a PGA Tour golfer. “The odds aren’t in your favour — you have to get lucky at the right time. I still think I’m good enough. But I’m 38, and I’ve got to think about the future, and right now…” Well… right now, he’s letting all the other parts of his golf acumen pave — and pay — the way in life. So Sahl’s a caddie these days for legendary golfer Vijay Singh. ‘The Big Fijian’ is the second superstar to put Sahl on his bag after Canadian Mike Weir used the Alberta shooter for parts of the last five years. “I couldn’t pass it up,” said Sahl, who was carrying clubs for fellow Canuck clubber Danny Sahl (L) of Sherwood Park, on the bag for Vijay Singh at the 2017 Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary. Photo Credit: Todd Korol
L ping on The Champions Tour by Todd Saelhof Corey Conners, a Web.com Tour swinger, when the offer to caddie for Singh came along. “So I decided I was going to try it and see what happens. We ended up finishing second in the first event (the Senior PGA Championship last May), so he kind of believed in me and we got along great. It’s been kind of a nice run so far.” Singh, 54, has been splitting time between the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions, double-dipping on two of the sport’s biggest stages. That’s given Sahl plenty of work as a caddie — and a pretty good golf education to boot. “I guess everything happens for a reason,” Sahl said. “Caddying for Vijay has changed a lot of things as far as making money and seeing different parts of the world (including golfing in the Fiji Open in Singh’s home country). I’m really fortunate to get this opportunity and happy with what’s been going on. “And I still have the drive to play, so I’m trying to keep my game as sharp as I can,” continued Sahl, who’s found time in the past to try to Monday qualify for Web.com Tour events. “Working for Vijay, he’s known for his practice and his work ethic — he works hard — so just being around him really inspires me to do as much as I can with my game. “I always travel with my golf clubs, so on the Wednesday of a tour week, he and I will find
The Alberta Golfer 2018
a premier golf course in the area we’re in and I get to play with him.” And Sahl always does that in style. He’s the guy you see on the links looking like a fashion plate, sporting the Italian brand Colmar — which he represents — often decked out in high socks, cool shoes and colorful clothing. “They say caddies aren’t supposed to dress too flashy to create attention, but it’s getting a little more lenient out there,” says Sahl. “Vijay doesn’t mind it, so I’m going to keep doing it.” He’ll keep caddying too, unless something bigger — such as playing on the PGA Tour — comes along. “I don’t know why they keep me around,” said Sahl with a chuckle. “I do know the game — I’ve had some success playing it. And I’m very good with people and how to manage them. I’m good to recognize when something isn’t going well to suggest something different. I have a really good eye for what a player is feeling and what he’s doing on the golf course. “With Vijay, he knows I have good mental energy for him and we get along great. And I’m going to do whatever he wants me to do. And I enjoy being around him and being on the golf course and being in the game. So it’s a great fit for me. I think we’ve got a good team going. “I couldn’t imagine the money I’m making doing anything else. So I’m not going to pass up the money I make caddying.” n
Discover & Try
“The way they do it now, it’s fun. The kids show up and they’re hitting (oversized) balls into nets with velcro on them, they’re doing whatever to get them involved. Most of the time it’s just wonderful. The kids just love it!”
olf is hard. Everyone that has played the game knows that. But now a program offered by Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada is making learning the game for newbies much easier thanks to an expanded coaching program.
“I used to think to myself, ‘Ah, I don’t know about that (sort of teaching idea). I teach
Community Golf Coaching program is a huge boon to PGA of Canada pros by Gord Montgomery
Participants in the Community Golf Coach program can lend knowledgeable assistance by becoming competent in the skills required to give kids a great start in the game of a lifetime.
Coaching program in a big way, said the association’s executive director, Phil Berube.
While there are many goals within the program, the main ones focus on growing the game by teaching youngsters the right way to step into the sport. They include topics such as safety and risk management, rules and etiquette, equipment, life skills, and ethical coaching.
“As an avid golfer, if you’re able to, and willing to give back the time, the program is awesome. It’s not meant to replace qualified instruction but rather complement qualified instruction. That’s the way we’re going to grow; it’s an approachable way to penetrate the market. It’s been embraced by the PGA members and community coach volunteers,” said Berube.
Bill Murchison, the Director of Instruction at the Golf Canada Calgary Centre, who is an instructor with the Community Coaching program, said it’s a key part to ensuring young players get the proper start in the sport. “The thing is with the golf professionals is as many as there are, this just gives us that many more people that are able to help at an entry level situation,” he noted, adding kids that reach high levels in hockey or other sports have generally started out with this same sort of community coach volunteers at the younger levels. “If we can expand the number of (trained) coaches we have, we’re obviously going to get to help more kids earlier.” Alberta Golf, the provincial governing body of the sport, buys into the Community
One of those community volunteers is Lois Gilbertson. She has helped an untold number of youngsters get early hands-on training through unique ways outside of simply picking up a golf club and swiping away at hard-to-hit objects. “Anybody can help anybody when it comes to coaching,” she began. “There are lots, and lots, and lots of kids out there,” who are looking for something to fill idle time. Gilbertson noted she just recently completed the Community Golf Coaching program and has worked with “probably over a thousand kids in just the last year.” A course like this gives the youngsters a solid learning platform from the start and it’s done in a fun way so they don’t lose focus while learning.
golf. You use real clubs, real golf balls. Now, you just let them swing and have fun. It’s not a real club but as they get older you change,” to standard golf gear as skills improve. Gilbertson suggests that feeling of accomplishment for a coach in watching a young person’s love for the game grow is worth the weekend it takes to become recognized as a trained Community Golf Coach. “It’s very exciting. When these kids actually know they can hit a ball it’s thrilling for them… but it’s even more thrilling for you! To see the smiles on their faces, like ‘Wow! I can do this!’ They love it and they want to come back and that’s very exciting!” In closing, Murchison said the importance of this program to the club pros who have community coaching trained volunteers is indeed priceless. “It’s so valuable. The club pro, by nature of the way the job has always been, there are never enough hours in the day to do what they love to do. And their favorite thing is to be out there with the kids because it’s so rewarding. If they can have some people around that have a trained background, their support is just a bonus.” n
Connect & Enjoy
t last November’s Alberta Golf Property Managers Conference one of the first questions was what the dates for this year’s Challenge Cup were going to be. Dennis McKernan, the executive director of the Alberta Golf Superintendents Association (AGSA) and the organizer of both the Property Managers Conference and the Challenge Cup wasn’t surprised.
“It’s a great opportunity to understand what challenges there are at other courses, what their solutions were and how they approach things,” said Booth.“I constantly found myself saying ‘I didn’t know that, or I didn’t know this.’You get to ask technical questions in a relaxed situation.”
by Curtis Stock
“Here it was November and they wanted to know when a tournament was going to be played eight months away in July,” McKernan said of the event which has taken place annually since the mid-1980s. “But it’s just that popular. They look forward to it that much.” The Challenge Cup, you must understand, is not just another tournament. Bringing together Alberta golf course general managers, club presidents, head pros and superintendents, the Challenge Cup is one of the most unique tournaments anywhere. “I don’t know of any other association in Canada that has something like this,” continued McKernan. “For sure it is the largest gathering of the golf management teams in Alberta.You might get events where the club managers and head pros play together. But to have all four of those groups - the brain trusts of golf clubs that make all the major decisions - come together is very rare.” The brainchild of the AGSA, McKernan said the Challenge Cup is a great social event but also a venue for business development and professional management development all centered around a couple of rounds of golf. “They praise this tournament to the skies.”
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Copper Point Golf Club in Invermere, BC will be the site of the 2018 Challenge Cup.
Apparently so. “The presidents that preceded me told me it was one of the best things about being a president,” said Lynn Booth, past-president of the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. “They were right. It was a great experience and very well run. They looked after us great.We pretty much just live in our own little bubble but this event gave all presidents a chance to talk to other presidents which doesn’t happen very often,” said Booth, who will sit on the board of directors this year. “It also gave us a chance to meet with course superintendents, head pros and general managers - which hardly ever happens - over an extended period of time.” Questions get asked. Answers are given. Ideas are generated. New friends and contacts are found and meshed. Communication is opened.
Don McFarlane, Red Deer’s general manager and PGA of Canada Executive Professional, said “We wouldn’t miss it. From my perspective, it’s all positive. There’s not a reason not to go. “It’s a really good networking deal for us. You can put a face to a name so that if you have an issue you know people and can knock on their doors for information.” A two-day tournament with net Stableford scoring, the Challenge Cup originally rotated primarily between Calgary and Edmonton. But for golf course personnel who lived in one those cities it wasn’t a chance to get away. And, as more and more clubs came on board it was also impossible for one 18-hole course to hold. So, seven years ago, they moved it to Windermere Valley where Eagle Ranch and Radium Springs hosted it; five years ago Copper Point became the
tournament site where they could play 18 on the fantastic main course and 18 on the decidedly underrated Ridge layout. Last year they had 42 teams which means 168 golfers.“A nice reasonable number,” said McKernan. “Nice and close to get to and an away site for everyone,” added McFarlane.“As well as meeting new people, it’s just really good for team building. We drive down together, spend three days together in an informal setting, stay at the same hotel, share breakfasts and dinners and we’re all there to talk about the industry and have a few laughs.” Trevor Goplin, head pro at the Derrick, another club that has made an annual point of participating, said the Challenge Cup is good for everyone. “No. 1 it’s great to see other colleagues inseason, have a few laughs and a few chats sharing stories and comparing how things are going at the other courses in Alberta. But it’s especially good for the presidents who, by and large, probably don’t know the lengths the superintendents go through to make this whole thing work: how they deal with problems, and how they put their courses to bed in the fall.” Keith Blayney, the superintendent at the Edmonton Petroleum Club, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s a good way to get the management from the various clubs together but I think it’s a real eye opener for the presidents, who probably never get another chance to play with the superintendents.They talk to us about just about everything. From bunkers, to mowing patterns, green speeds, how they trim their course…It all comes up,” said Blayney, who is also chairman of the Challenge Cup committee. “The pros get quite a few chances to get together when they play in tournaments together. But the managers generally don’t, the presidents don’t and we superintendents don’t.This way we all get to know people from other clubs, quiz them about their operations and what issues they are dealing with.We’re all in the same boat - trying to provide a product for the members or guests or if it’s a public course the general public.” “In the current economic environment, one of the biggest issues is costs,” said Blayney.“It’s all about keeping expenses under control and maintaining the conditions that the golfers are expecting.” Also often discussed are issues like green speeds, water, aeration, the use of pesticides and air flow. “Everybody cuts grass, fertilizes and waters their greens. We mostly do the basic things the same. But there are so
“They praise this tournament to the skies.” many other issues that are part of the package of keeping the clientele happy and everybody wants to know what everybody else is doing to achieve that.” As well as being a team building and brainstorming event, the Challenge Cup comes by its name aptly because every club goes looking for other clubs to challenge. “I remember one year someone came up to me and told me they had made 41 challenges,” said McKernan. “I said ‘Geez, you’ve challenged just about every team,’ and the guy responded ‘Yeah, we still have to find three other teams.’ “They wanted to challenge everybody and in the end they did just that.It’s all part of what makes this such a fun event.” n
A Perfect Balance of Challenge and Beauty
• 18-hole Championship Golf Course • 8,300 sq. ft. Clubhouse • Relaxing, unhurried golf at the Gateway to the Rockies • Daily play, tournaments and unlimited enjoyment
Rocky Mountain House, AB Ph. 403.845.7400 | Pinehillsgolf.ca
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he Alberta golfing community lost three key people this past year. Sid Puddicombe was an allencompassing construction genius. Mike Gendron, was a builder and friend to everyone given his ability to tell stories and his sense of humour. Bill Tait was one of the province’s finest players and a member of the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame. Puddicombe, passing away at the age of 85, started in the golf industry in 1947 at the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club watering the greens at night. From that humble beginning, he went on to become the superintendent of the Riverside Golf Course in the same city before leaving for Alberta in 1968. In Edmonton, he took over the superintendent reins at the prestigious Royal Mayfair Golf & County Club. One of his most notable legacies is being the first person known to cover greens in the winter to protect them during the cold months. In 1982, he started what was to become one of the most well known golf architectural companies, Puddicombe and Associates, with sons Grant, Mark, and Tod. That foursome was involved in the design, redesign or redevelopments of over 75 golf courses in Alberta, B.C., New Zealand, Japan and the United States. The elder Puddicombe was known for mentoring young superintendents and volunteering with Alberta Golf with a role in educating clubs about turf maintenance. He started a turf school at the Fairview and Olds Colleges and was instrumental in hosting annual spring conferences with the goal of furthering the conditions of all Alberta golf courses through education. He was inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame in 2010 in the Distinguished Service category. Mike Gendron was one of those people who everyone seemed to love, given his sense of humour and his willingness to
The Alberta Golfer 2018
The Alberta golf community remembers
Sid Puddicombe, Mike Gendron and Bill Tait by Gord Montgomery devote time and energy to make sure everyone around him enjoyed the game of golf. Gendron, a member of the Windermere Golf & Country Club, was heavily involved in programs at the private track in Edmonton, including the club’s juniors. As well, Gendron was a club captain, acting as a liaison to the head professional during club events. He was highly valued as a member of the board given his thoughtfulness in stressful times where his decisions were based on what was best for the association and club as opposed to letting personal feelings interfere with his judgement. The Windermere’s head pro, Jason Hnatiw, noted about Gendron, “He always had a good perspective. At times at a private club, often emotions get involved in some of the decisions. My experience with him was it was always a logical response, which for me, especially in my first few years here, felt like he was giving me direction. “As to his personality, he was always very kind to the staff here at all times. A smile on his face all the time… the perfect member in many ways and he will be missed.” Gendron passed away unexpectedly in 2017, the day after divvying out scholarships for young Albertans through his role as President of the Alberta Golf
Association Foundation. The third man leaving a lasting legacy behind was Calgary’s Bill Tait, a longtime member of the Calgary Golf & Country Club, who passed away at the age of 95. Tait was a wonderful player, who despite giving up lots of yardage off the tee always seemed to find a way to come out on top. To that end, Tait was a winner of a number of high-level amateur tournaments during his lifetime, including the Alberta Amateur, the Alberta Open and the Alberta Senior Championship and was a runner-up in the national senior championship. He also played on a number of Alberta Willingdon Cup teams and was inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame in 2008. One amazing stat Tait laid claim to was that he eagled every hole at his home course over the course of his 80-year membership. Tom Greiner, the head professional at Tait’s home club had this to say about his roles at the course and his playing abilities: “He was a past president of our club and served on our board for a number of years. I think a lot of members who knew Mr. Tait probably admired the game he played. Mr. Tait was not a large man, so the style of his game was hitting fairways. He had an amazing short game. His chipping, his putting, his bunker play was probably second to none and that’s how he competed against some of the best players in the city and the province. “He was a student of the game. He was a tinkerer always working, experimenting with different clubs. He probably inspired a lot of members. He was a low single digit handicap even into his senior years which was truly remarkable for him to maintain such a high level of play well into his 70s. There’s not too many golfers in the world like him. He was a great member of the club.” Tait will be greatly missed by the Alberta golfing community as will the other two golfing pioneers who passed away this year. n
Learn & Play
Rules Update for 2018 No More Viewer Call-Ins! by Adam Helmer, Director of Rules, Competitions & Amateur Status, Golf Canada
n advance of the modernization initiative to the Rules of Golf which will take effect in 2019, Golf Canada, in conjunction with the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), recently announced a new Local Rule effective January 1, 2018.The new Local Rule will eliminate the additional twostroke penalty for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty. In addition to this Local Rule, new protocols have been put in place to review video when applying the Rules of Golf at broadcasted events. For Golf Canada specifically, this will only impact our two professional opens and not have any impact on our amateur competitions. For some time, it has been a point of contention with many enthusiasts of the game that viewer call-ins should not be permitted in our sport. Advances in technology and the use of high definition television and slow motion replay have added a level of complexity that has caused undesirable outcomes to many competitions in recent years. Golf ’s governing bodies felt this needed to be closely looked at and a group of experts from the PGA Tour, LPGA, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and The PGA of America, as well as the governing bodies, was tasked with discussing the role of video footage when applying the Rules. As a result of these discussions over the last year, the protocol moving forward will be to assign one or more officials to monitor the video broadcast of a
A TV viewer phone call led to Lexi Thompson (L) receiving four penalty strokes at the 2017 ANA Inspiration LPGA tournament. She eventually lost to So Yeon Ryu (R) in a playoff. Viewer call-in’s will no longer be taken by pro golf tours.
competition to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise. Committees will also discontinue any steps to facilitate or consider viewer call-ins as part of the Rules decision process. All of the organizations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018, and this score card penalty will be permanently removed when the modernized Rules of Golf take effect on January 1, 2019. As golf ’s governing body, Golf Canada will be implementing this new Local Rule as part of their Standard Local Rules and Conditions of Competition for competitions in 2018. If a committee wishes to introduce this Local Rule to modify the score card
penalty, the following wording for the exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows: “Exception: if a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable rule, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of rule 6-6d. This exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.” For more information on the Rules of Golf, or to send a rules question to our ‘Ask an Expert’ tool, please visit golfcanada.ca/rules-of-golf/ n AlbertaGolf.org
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The Year in Pictures 1
1. Members of the Alberta Golf board of directors and staff at the 2017 spring launch event in Sundre. 2. Team Alberta Head Coach Randy Robb keeping a close eye on the action at the Alberta Junior at Coal Creek Golf Resort. 3. The Power of Pink! Participants pose for a shot on the range at Stewart Creek G&CC prior to teeing off in the Alberta Ladies Team Classic. 4. The Alberta contingent at the Alberta/ Montana Ryder Cup at Desert Blume GC cheering on the final matches on the 18th hole.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
5. To the victor go the spoils… Sabrine Garrison receiving the Ladies Amateur trophy from Sun Life Financial sponsor Carl Taylor.
9. A place in history. The Alberta Boys get a close up look at the previous teams after capturing the Alberta/ Montana Ryder Cup.
6. Brett Hogan teeing off in the rain soaked playoff at the Ponoka Community GC. The conditions couldn’t keep the spectators away from witnessing a thrilling finish.
10. The unsung heroes. Superintendents and turf care employees are instrumental in conducting a quality tournament. Thanks to these two from the Edmonton Petroleum G&CC at the Alberta Senior Ladies.
7. What we love about the game… even in the heat of the moment Brian Laubman congratulates his fellow competitor Frank Van Dornick on his playoff victory at the Alberta Senior at Henderson Lake GC. 8. Volunteers don’t just do the work. They make it work.
11. The summer of 2017 brought smoke from wildfires into the province but it didn’t hinder the golfers’ spirit. Here a team at the Alberta Interclub plays a par-3 at the Canmore G&CC. Unfortunately, the usual breathtaking mountain views were obstructed by the smoke.
12. Community events like the Calgary Food Fest are an opportunity to introduce newcomers to the game. Just watch out for Golfzilla! 13. Marilyn Palmer Oâ€™Connor (center) was inducted as a golf athlete into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2017 class. Congratulations Marilyn! 14. The Canada Summer Games is the pinnacle of sport for many junior aged athletes. Taylor Stone and Ethan Choi took full advantage of the opportunity, even rubbing shoulders with Canadian icon Ron MacLean.
15. All hands on deck. The venue, sponsor, staff, committees and host club volunteers are a few of the essential ingredients to a successful championship. Thanks to this crew at the Alberta Ladies Amateur at the Red Deer G&CC for all of their hard work.
16. The Alberta Interprovincial Boys Team (left to right: Max Sekulic, Chandler McDowell, Matt Bean) captured first place at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship. n
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NEW TECHNOLOGY Helps PROVIDE A BETTER GOLFER EXPERIENCE
Advancing the Game by Hunki Yun, USGA
ver since the first shepherds swatted at rocks with their crooks, golf has followed a trajectory of innovation. For much of the game’s history, most of the innovations have focused on the playing of the game itself: teaching the game to golfers, the equipment used by players and the grounds on which they play. But in the early years of the 21st century, the industry requires new modes of thinking in order to approach the game as a business, impacting the way facilities – private clubs, daily fee courses, municipal facilities – make decisions and pursue increased productivity and efficiency in order to increase the financial viability of golf course and secure the future of the game. The USGA’s strategic plan includes a commitment to advance the game, and we have set a goal of a 25 percent reduction ofcritical resources – such as water, fuel and labor – that are used in maintaining golf courses.The USGA introduced this challenge statement during the North American Golf Innovation Symposium, which took place in Vancouver, British Columbia in March 2017. The Symposium covered many topics in the areas of research, science and technology related to golf facilities. One of the highlights was the introduction
The Alberta Golfer 2018
of Resource Management, a web-based tool that provides exact data about how maintenance budgets are spent on the course. The product will help facilities measure and allocate their finite resources more effectively and make smarter decisions without an adverse effect on golfers. The engine of USGA Resource Management is a fully customizable map and dashboard, which users can populate with the inputs, boundaries and maintenance practices in place at their courses. The tool’s algorithm can calculate the cost of maintaining specific areas of the course – a single hole, the fourth fairway, all the greens, the fairway bunker on the 17th hole, etc. By adding, editing or deleting features in the map, it is possible to calculate the financial implications of potential changes to the course design or maintenance levels. Whether you’re thinking about converting portions of your course to native areas, adding teeing grounds or removing bunkers, USGA Resource Management can calculate the potential return on investment. All these options are being considered at golf facilities around the country, but these decisions are often made without fully considering how they will impact golfers. USGA Resource Management allows for the overlay of golfer heat maps
on top of the course map so you can see the areas that most impact golfers and – more importantly – identify the areas that rarely come into play. The USGA employs inexpensive GPS loggers to collect data about golfer tracks and behavior, an area that has the potential to yield benefits and innovations in numerous areas of facility management and golfer experience, from pace of play to course setup to course design. No doubt, the more data we can collect, the more insights we can glean. When used within the Resource Management platform, the heat maps produced by the GPS loggers allow for the presentation of easy-to-visualize scenarios that expedite the process of making decisions that reduce or reallocate resources without negatively impacting golfer experience. In addition, the USGA is looking to add potential features such as an advanced weather dashboard that provides guidance for maintenance tasks; the ability to track hole locations on the map and print holelocation sheets similar to those used at the U.S. Open; and a pace calculator to model the impact of changes such as teetime interval, hole lengths and number of players to pace and playing times. This is the kind of data and technology that is transforming other industries and helping managers to make smarter decisions, both on a daily basis and in strategic planning.These changes are slowly coming to golf, and the USGA is leading the efforts to put them in the hands of those who need them most: facility managers. n
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odcast producers, from the eager to the established, say the same thing. Golf fans deserve more. They should know what makes their favorite players tick. They should be taken behind the scenes, inside the ropes. They should get insight about the rivalries and friendships, the quips and put-downs – but, especially, the characters. “People really want to hear the stories,” says Calgary’s Emmett Oh, who, with chum Vincent Martino, started a podcast called Over The Top. “Some people may want to hear how that 8-iron felt on Hole 6, but I really care about all these random stories.” Oh and Martino, roommates during their time on the University of Houston golf team, are podcast newcomers. They pumped out four episodes in October 2017. At the other end of the spectrum is No Laying Up, one of golf’s most popular podcasts. No Laying Up co-founder Chris Solomon echoes Oh’s sentiment – the sport’s enthusiasts are hungry for content. “That was always our point of emphasis, ‘As a fan, what would I want to hear?’” says Solomon, on the phone from Dublin, Ohio. “We entertain. We’re not that worried about the business model of it.” That appears to be taking care of itself. Because podcasts, which can be streamed or downloaded, are flourishing.
According to one survey, 10 million Canadians listened to podcasts in the past year. The audience is expanding annually by 10 to 20 per cent. Golf, explains Solomon, is only now catching up to this booming medium. And the sport, with its massive following, lends itself to all kinds of niches. Physical conditioning and mental fine-tuning. History and architecture. Tips and technology.
“Podcasts are an escape for these players to go into an environment that’s not a press room – a place where they can talk about their hobbies, talk about their family, talk about their friends.Those kinds of podcasts are doing the best right now.” Hard to argue. No Laying Up, in 2017 alone, boasted seven digits’ worth of downloads. And it’s only growing. Solomon recently quit his day job to oversee the operation. “It’s a crazy, weird, organic story of how it all started.”
Listen Up by Scott Cruickshank For keen ears, there is no end of variety. At a glance – The Fried Egg, Fore Play, Mindside, ShackHouse, 18 Strong, On the Mark, A Good Talk Spoiled – with dozens of others available. “I just love hearing good interviews, good in-depth questions,” says Oh. “Right now, in the golf world, you have the Golf Channel and they just pound Brandel Chamblee down your throat for 24 hours. They don’t have any comedic relief.
In 2013, Solomon and three like-minded golf fanatics started using Twitter to offer wisecracks, in real time, during PGA Tour events.Their sense of humour struck a chord.Players began to follow them on Twitter, and, suddenly, Solomon & Co. had profile. They discovered they could attract top pros for podcast sitdowns. (Justin Thomas was the first victim.)
“It’s evolved into a place where players have felt safe to come on and have a free-flowing conversation,” says Solomon. “We saw an opportunity to say, ‘Look, the way the media covers golf directly, through the press conferences, the players don’t really get to say what’s on their mind.’ It’s not really indicative of what fans are interested in.” As their podcast’s popularity soared, so did its credibility. Meaning they could wrangle a who’s-who of guests, including Rory McIlroy. Solomon credits the two-part interview with the Irish superstar in September 2017 for their brand’s explosion – five times more downloads this past year than the first three years combined. “People do get inspired – and should be inspired – that we were nobodies,” says Solomon. “We were just dudes that started a website and it got to be the No. 1 downloaded golf podcast probably in the world.” None of which had been lost on Oh and Martino who dropped $70 on a microphone and a subscription to a podcastposting website. Over The Top was born. The first episode featured topics from college football to freak injuries to fast food. “I have no idea what the end game is,” says Oh, who, last winter, began graduate studies in Houston. “We just wanted to start it for fun. And it’s been a whole lot of fun so far.” n
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olfers in Alberta have reason to be excited. After all, we’re talking about a golfers’ paradise.
the country. I visited with more than 150 member clubs across all 10 provinces over my first 100 days—a national listening tour that included round table discussions with almost all of our partners from the provincial golf associations and PGA of Canada professionals to our club owners and managers along with corporate partners and other constituents who share a vested stake in the game.
Consider the total golf supply of 308 facilities—third most of any province—of which, 92 percent are publicly accessible. For those who prefer a private club experience, the province counts two dozen private golf courses and another 22 tied to real estate developments. You also can’t talk about resort golf in Canada without featuring the 24 Alberta resort facilities, many set amongst or in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. From iconic Stanley Thompson designs such as the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Fairmont Banff Springs to similarly spectacular layouts such as Silvertip Resort, Canmore, and Stewart Creek, beacons that help support a robust tourism industry. Albertans are celebrating the long-awaited return of Kananaskis Country Golf Course in 2018, the 36-hole gem decimated by the 2013 floods that ravaged southern Alberta. Talk about Alberta resilience! The impact of golf on tourism in Alberta is part of a larger economic impact which contributes an estimated $2.4B towards the province’s Gross Domestic Product. This includes some 43,000 jobs, $82.9M in property and other indirect taxes, and nearly $309M in federal and provincial income taxes. Beyond the economic impact, Alberta is on the leading edge of accessibility. Consider the multitude of 9-hole facilities—121 spread across the province that are a gateway for avid players, casual participants and potential new enthusiasts to enjoy the game. Alberta has welcomed eight new golf courses over the past decade, the most of any province. Another eight are currently in development, including the much anticipated Mickelson National Golf Club set in the community of Harmony, just west of Calgary.
The Alberta Golfer 2018
Golfers’ Paradise By Laurence Applebaum CEO, Golf Canada
And speaking of Calgary, its 31 courses are the most of any city in Canada. Among those city-based courses is Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club, a wonderful member club that welcomes the legends ofprofessional golf every August to what has quickly become a must-attend event—the Shaw Charity Classic. I felt the enthusiasm around the Shaw Charity Classic first hand—a jewel on the PGA Champions Tour that welcomes golf greats such as Nick Faldo, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomery, Bernard Langer and Canadian Stephen Ames.I’m so impressed by the event’s charitable impact with over $20M raised for various causes over the past five years. It’s an incredible event that Albertans have really wrapped their arms around. Since joining Golf Canada as CEO in July 2017, I’ve connected with golfers across
I wanted to explore the state of our game and fully understand what our stakeholders and partners expect from their relationship with Golf Canada. My first impression— the support for golf in this country is overwhelming and Canada continues to have this incredible appetite for this amazing sport. But just as important, Golf Canada needs to do more. We need to invest in the game and become more relevant to all our golfers. In Alberta, that means building more meaningful relationships with the 308 golf facilities across the province. It also means working closely with our partners at Alberta Golf to better communicate with the golf clubs and deliver more value both to the clubs and golfers at large. There’s real optimism around the game right now all across Canada. But there also needs to be more focus on bringing new enthusiasts to the game. Whether by growing club membership or engaging green fee golfers, efforts to address affordability, accessibility and inclusiveness are areas of focus for both Alberta Golf and Golf Canada. It is encouraging to hear about progressive clubs rolling out innovative programming to bring down barriers to the game. Every club can look at its facility through fresh eyes and ask, “How can we lower the barriers at our club?” Connecting with more of Alberta’s passionate golfer base isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a priority. After all, we’re talking about a golfer’s paradise. n
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The moment you discovered two of Canada’s greatest golf treasures.
Discover Canada this summer with a trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains and into the heart of Jasper and Banff National Park. The Stanley Thompson masterpieces, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course and Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, leave all those who visit speechless with their beautifully carved landscapes and unparalleled mountain vistas. Few golf courses in the world can match the rugged majesty of these iconic courses. Experience a journey through two of Canada’s top golf courses as rated by SCOREGolf Magazine and Golf Digest.
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