The Yellowknife Golf Club is the main setting for the annual Petersen and Auger golf tournament fundraiser for KidSport every year and has been for more than a decade.

The event marked its 69th year on July 9 and featured 84 golfers and 21 teams.

Bill Othmer, executive director for Sport North, said that this year was a success after the event was cancelled last year due to COVID.

“I think it was a real success this year and we are hoping to have raised more than $10,000 although we are still paying some bills,” he said.

“We have it the same time every year, usually the Friday following the July long weekend.”

Money raised from the event goes toward the program which provides grants to kids when families might have financial barriers to activities, Othmer said.

Youth in turn receive “a sustained sport experience led by qualified instructors,” he said.

Next year’s tournament is already scheduled for July 8, 2022.

Othmer said that he is grateful for residents who have contributed to the effort, many of whom go under the radar.

“We have some really generous people out there and sometimes they don’t want to be in the public eye some there are some very big sponsors that we get that help out.”

Chief among them was Nahanni Construction who joined forces with Sport North and KidSport this year to host the tournament, Othmer said.

Owner Ken Ruptash stepped forward following the passing of Roger Walker in February, who had been the tournament chair for the past nine years, he said.

“Roger believed all children should be able to play regardless of financial barriers, and therefore sponsored the tournament with all proceeds directly going to KidSport,” Othmer explained. “Roger’s leadership and generosity was paramount in the success of the tournament.”

Cole Marshall, club pro and general manager said that the tournament was one of 11 fundraisers scheduled this year.

“Our involvement with KidSport is with the tournament every year and we have done that at least 10 to 15 years,” he said. “I think every year it is something that the organization does quite well with as it comes to raising money and so that (hosting) is really our involvement with it for the most part.”

Marshall said that as someone who does work with kids in golf and other sports, including as a coach with a Futures Basketball Club in town, having an organization like KidSport does help boost involvement in sport and physical activity for those in need.

“We have four or five kids in two age groups involved in the club every year and I know off hand how it can help families and take a little it of pressure of 13 year olds who can’t access some sports,” he said. “So I can see both sides the need for making a bit of money for the program and then benefits of it for kids to play sport.”

Overall, Marshall said the golf club appears to be returning to a normal pace this summer as since the pandemic, demand to play has been high.

“It was really crazy here when the border was closed and people were still looking for things to do,” he said. “It was nuts when we started the season and it has been slowly getting back to what we typically see with the border opening to travel and back to normal when it comes to typical numbers we see.”

Weather-wise, after a few wet summers, Marshall said the 2021 season so far is “hit and miss” with either really cold and rainy days or nice, warm and sunny days that are ideal for play.

“There is nothing we can really do to control the weather and we do what we can because it is a short season. Even with cold miserable days it is still better than the weather in January,” he said.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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