You didn’t really think the Yellowknife chapter of the Mediocre Golf Association was going to let the evacuation get in the way of its business, did you?
Yes, the chapter hosted the first tournament outside the NWT on Sept. 7 at the Leduc Golf Club in Leduc, Alta., titled the Evacuation Open. The original field of 40 players was whittled down to 32 by tournament time as some players had evacuation flights to Yellowknife to catch that day, according to Shaun Morris, president of the Yellowknife chapter.
Morris said it all came together after a conversation with the club pro.
“Once I was in Edmonton, I e-mailed the club to see if it would be alright to run a tournament there,” he said. “He said ‘no problem’ and all he needed to know was what day we wanted.”
After the day was chosen, Morris got the possible times to have the tournament happen and the rest was up to the players. The club offered up half-price green fees and carts for all the players and threw in rental clubs and driving range balls for free.
Regular MGA rules were in effect with the only difference being the tournament happening on a grass course instead of the well-groomed sand of the Yellowknife Golf Club. Chris Lafferty ended up coming out on top when all was said and done and, yes, it will count as a win.
“The MGA allows to have off-season events and that’s what this one will count as,” said Morris. “It looks good for us being able to run an extra event.”
There was an extra bonus prize of a Taylor Made Stealth 2 driver for one lucky player and that was won by Gaeleen MacPherson.
“The Alberta representative for Taylor Made happened to be around and he offered up that up to us,” said Morris. “Anyone who knows how much drivers cost will know that’s not a cheap prize.”
Once the tournament was announced, it began to make the rounds on the MGA chatter circuit and some reached out to offer support, added Morris.
“The Albequerque (New Mexico) chapter was one of the first and they offered up some swag for the players,” he said. “The Knoxville (Tennessee) chapter also offered to give some prizes.”
Those prizes won’t be collected until November when Morris travels to the MGA World Championships in Las Vegas.
When it comes to the season in Yellowknife, Morris said there are three events left to go and they’ve been pushed back as far as they can be.
“We were going to have one this weekend, but the Club Championships are happening and that’s more important to have,” he said. “We’ll try to squeeze them in if we can, but it isn’t the end of the world if we don’t. The MGA allows for exceptional circumstances if a club can’t host a tournament and I think an evacuation would count as one.”
The Last Gasp is the next scheduled event at the Yellowknife club on Sept. 24, followed by the Fore! Championship on Oct. 1 with the Douche Bag Invitational closing things out on Oct. 8.
As for the Evacuation Open, Morris said there was some idle chatter about making this an annual thing.
“A bunch of players thought it would be a good idea,” he said. “It all depends on whether the folks in Leduc can make the time for us. I think we were just all happy to see each other again — there were plenty of hugs after it was done. It seemed so long since we had seen each other and it was so nice to be around familiar faces again.”