Peace Region golf courses not giving up on tournaments

The 2020 golf season has been as popular and busy as expected — at least when it's not raining. Right out of the gate, the Peace Region's five courses were booked solid throughout each day. Golf has remained one of the few sporting activities available, and the interest has stayed high. However, what's missing from the picture this year is the constant stream of tournaments every weekend. 

Charity tournaments are almost certainly cancelled for the year, but there is still hope that some competitive ones will go ahead. Both the Lake Point and Lone Wolf golf courses will be hosting their first tournaments of the season on July 11 and 12. Lake Point will host the Petron Communications Peace Country Open, while Lone Wolf is going ahead with the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Tournament, its ladies tournament open to all women in the area. 

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Hosting a tournament can still be done, so long as there are no more 50 golfers on the course at once. Further complicating the matter is courses are unable to do a shotgun start, where each team starts at a differeng hole. Instead, pairings will begin on set tee times, resulting in longer tournaments. Lake Point is planning to limit entrants to 48, while Lone Wolf will likely have less than that. However, just because it's hard to plan and host a tournament doesn't mean it can't be done. 

"People are dying to have a tournament and some kind of event, anything to do outside right now," said Lake Point GM Troy Knight. "Right now, there isn't much of that happening but the Peace Country Open is a prestigious event that Lake Point has held for years and years and we'd like to keep that going."

Similarly, Lone Wolf is eager to hold what few tournaments it can and give people an event to look forward to. 

"People want to play and it's important they have something to participate in," said Lone Wolf GM Ryan Galay. 

One thing that is definitely different for tournaments this year are the food and drink portions. There are no drink carts being driven around, and no meals are being held. That's a big part of the tournament experience that just won't exist, but the golfing remains. 

Lone Wolf will follow up the ladies' tournament with its Lone Wolf Men's Classic July 18-19. Following that, the club may try to hold some kind of celebratory event once per month but that remains to be seen. 

However, not all courses in the region are going through with tournaments. Fort St. John Links Clubhouse Manager Jeff Holland said there will be no tournaments this year, including the annual Links Open. They will have a club championship later in the year, with tee times and all the players spread out. 

Lake Point is hoping to have a couple more tournaments this year, including its Charity Pro-Am, but that remains to be seen as it would have to follow the health guidelines of both the Vancouver Golf Tour and Northern Health. 

The Dawson Creek Golf Club is planning on hosting a couple tournaments this year, though nothing is set in stone yet. The Dawson Creek Athletic Association tournament recently was pushed back into August. 

"All the courses rely on tournaments for income. It's such a short season, and now with all this weather, and only having 50 golfers per tournament, it's really a double-whammy. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place," Dawson Creek GM Jim Wickstrom said about how his club has been impacted. 

On the surface, it would seem like there's more obstacles then there are solutions. Still, what matters is that golf courses are open and are busy this year. Sure, the rainy days may outnumber the sunny ones, but if you want to hit the course on a hot day, you will be able to. And, should you want to see how you do in a field of 50, you may just have a chance to do that this summer as well. 

"If it's possible, then we are going to try and figure it out," Knight said.

Email reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca.  

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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