It’s golfing season and that can mean one of only two things: either the Toronto Maple Leafs are out of Stanley Cup contention or the Yellowknife Golf Club is officially open.
In this case, the latter is true as the club opened its doors for the 2021 season this past Friday with all 18 holes in play along with the driving range and it’s obvious people were itching to dust off the golf bags, clean up the clubs and head out to do something active, according to Cole Marshall, the club’s general manager and head pro.
“In a word, it’s been ridiculous,” he said. “People were obviously excited to see the doors swing open and we’re a little late over past years but not that far off, maybe a day or two later than usual.”
The club was one of the first recreational areas to re-open during the first stage of Emerging Wisely, the GNWT’s document on how it will open things up during the pandemic. Some of the rules included the introduction of tee times – no one could walk into the pro shop and simply ask to play, as in past years – and a strict one-person-per-cart rule. The latter rule was later amended to allow two people to ride in a cart if they were from the same household or from the same bubble of friends.
Marshall said those rules are still in place for this year.
“We’re getting people to sign an updated form stating that you’re agreeing to follow the guidelines as laid out by the chief public health officer and the club,” he said.
As for the tee time rule, Marshall said he foresees that remaining in effect simply because it’s commonplace around the country.
“I’ve always encouraged people to call ahead and book a tee time because it saves me the disappointment of having to tell them no,” he said. “Most clubs I know have a rule that you need to have a tee time in order to even be there. I don’t hate the idea of tee times because it’s easier for everyone at the club and it doesn’t lead to disappointment.”
There are grand plans each year to make the golf club look nice and this year is no exception. The big plan is to replace the greens at all 18 holes, which won’t be a one-year thing.
Marshall said that will have to be approved by the membership because it’s not exactly the cheapest fix out there.
“We’re going to have that on the agenda at our spring meeting (on Saturday),” he said. “They’re well past their best-before date and we’ll try to seek out the funding necessary if the membership approves it. The maintenance crew has done a great job prepping the course for this season but the greens are definitely past their life span.”
There is also the hope that some solar panels installed to help save the club some money on power and operate a bit greener, he added.
In addition to the regular golf activities, there will be several tournaments this season, including the Canadian North Midnight Classic, which won’t have any special guests for the second year running but it did regain the corporate sponsorship of Canadian North.
“We’re really happy to have them come back on board,” said Marshall.