Amid all of the tournaments and events at the Yellowknife Golf Club, there are those who go just to play a weekly round of fun golf and enjoy the company.
Those are the people who play in the Men’s and Ladies Nights at the club and both of those ventures are now officially done for the season. The men wrapped up business for the season on Sept. 8 with the Breakaway Drilling Tombstone tournament, which was won by John Gouthro. He was able to go around the course the furthest before “dying,” which means hitting his last shot.
The rules of the Tombstone are that each golfer has the course par (72) plus whatever their handicap is added together to give them the amount of shots they can use to go around the course as far as they can. If a player manages to have shots left after the 18th hole, they keep on going until they’re out of shots.
It’s all a part of the fun, said Robert Redshaw, who organizes Men’s Night with Steve O’Brien.
“We’re playing fun games every week of the season,” he said. “We do four-player games, partner games, things like that. We try and do something different each week and it makes golf more fun as opposed to just playing a round by yourself.”
On average, Redshaw said there’s between 50 and 60 players each week with about 30 or 40 weekly regulars.
“I would say we’ve had about 100 different golfers play at least one week this season,” he said. “We have the regulars and we get others who come and play over the course of the season.”
The Tombstone is the only 18-hole event of the season for Men’s Night; every other one is nine holes and it’s a motley crew of sorts.
“We get the best golfers at the club but we also get some who have a 20-handicap,” said Redshaw. “We have the same philosophy as the Mediocre Golf Association – play to have fun and it doesn’t matter how bad you think you are. We’re out to have fun and for a lot of the guys, it’s the only time they golf that week. They play their nine holes, they have some food after and it’s a good night out for them.”
Redshaw has been looking after Men’s Night for four years now while O’Brien jumped in this year. The original plan had Redshaw stepping back but once he started helping O’Brien get things ready for this season, he couldn’t walk away.
“I said I would take a break but I enjoy it too much,” he said. “It’s about 100 volunteer hours over the course of the season and the guys who play are grateful to us for putting it on. There is a sense of appreciation that we get.”
This past Wednesday was the final evening of business for Ladies Night and they as well had a fun event to finish things off: a poker rally. Every player received cards based on how well they did performing certain shots.
Renee Jones, who helps organize the Ladies Night program, said fun is exactly what the goal is.
“Our focus is on fun and skill development,” she said. “It’s the only night of the week some ladies play and it’s a real social time where they can get away from everything else, meet up with other women and play a round of golf.”
Like the men, Ladies Night events are also just nine holes during the season with a lot of scramble or alternate shot formats to help with the pace, said Jones.
It’s also been a great way to introduce women to the sport, she added.
“Ladies Night is how I got started playing golf,” she said. “We had some new faces this year who were brand new to golf and we have a group of women who are always willing to help out and lend equipment or give tips, anything that will help.”
The women had a sizable turnout this season as well with between 50 and 60 players each week hitting the links.
“They really enjoy coming out to play,” said Jones. “Some of the ladies have supper before playing or they eat after. They love the social aspect of it.”
The Ladies Night committee consists of Jones, Joan Hirons, Leslie Bromley, Leslie Goit and Erin Palmer. Palmer joined the committee this year but Hirons will be stepping back after being part of the committee for the past four years.
Jones said it’s been the best committee she’s ever worked with.
“Every single woman says they can do something or they can handle it or they can take something on,” she said. “There’s no having to ask anyone to do anything. They’re all able and willing and very positive about it.”
One thing both groups have in common is sponsors and plenty of them. Every week is sponsored and one look at the list of each group shows that there’s a different one each week.
Both Jones and Redshaw said it goes to show how popular the evenings are.
“We have great support all year long,” said Redshaw. “We have 20 different sponsors and that’s cool to know.”
“The best part about all of the sponsors is that they’re local and that’s very important,” said Jones. “It shows the community appreciates what we’re doing.”