Scramble golf is one of the most popular formats going today at the Yellowknife Golf Club.
But there’s a national championship for scramble golf and two teams of four took the first step of hopefully qualifying for that event in October this past weekend.
The Yellowknife Golf Club played host to the NWT qualifier for the RBC PGA Scramble on July 20 with 16 teams hitting the course looking to win one of the two spots up for grabs for the Northern Alberta qualifier next month in Red Deer, Alta.
When all was said and done, the teams of Kyle Hallett, Curtis Sernoskie, Jake Roche and Damien Healy and Andrew Hunter, Jony Bembridge, Drew Robertson and Ben Robertson ended up first and second respectively.
On behalf of the champions, Healy said his team put forth a good outing.
“I’m glad my guys came along,” he said. “Jake and Kyle can hit the ball a mile and our putting was superb.”
The rules for this tournament were like any other scramble tournament: everyone teed off on each hole with the team choosing the best ball following each tee shot and each other shot right up to the putt. Each player has a chance to make the putt on each hole and once it’s made, the team moves on to the next hole.
Healy and company shot an 18-hole total of 58 but there was the handicap factor as well, which lowered their score even further. Each team’s handicaps were added and then divided by 10 per cent and when the winning team’s net handicap of 3.8 was applied, their actual winning score was 54.2 (gross score minus the net handicap).
“That’s the great thing about this tournament – no one was excluded or alienated, everyone got a chance to play regardless of their handicap,” said Healy.
The tournament has been in operation since 2016 but this was the first time a club in the NWT had hosted a qualifier.
Matthew Gray, the Yellowknife Golf Club’s head pro and general manager, said he thought putting this on would be a good idea.
“It has to be hosted by a PGA Canada professional and so when the e-mail went out, I jumped on board,” he said. “Sixteen teams and 64 players is a pretty good turnout for your first time.”
The stakes are raised a bit for Red Deer as each team which attends the regional qualifier will have a PGA Canada pro as part of their team. Gray will be playing with the champions while the runners-up will play with Chris DiPasquale, who may be a familiar name to some in Yellowknife. He was born and raised in the city but is now a PGA Canada pro at the Bridge Valley Golf Course in Lethbridge, Alta.
It’s not yet known how many teams will advance to the national championship out of Alberta but whoever does will get the chance to play at the Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs course in Cape Breton, N.S., in October.
Healy said he knows the Yellowknife teams will be at a disadvantage not playing on grass all the time.
“You’re looking at the best of the best in Red Deer,” he said. “There will be some legitimate players there but we have a good group of guys going. Jake can grip and rip but we’ll have our work cut out for us.”