The Prince Rupert Golf Course. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

KURIAL: A defence of the golf course

Golf club offers a number of benefits to Prince Rupert, and is a space we should work to maintain

Our recent web poll showed a stark split of opinion in this town. The stakes of the question are not likely to see it develop into one of the talking points in the upcoming Skeena-Bulkley Valley election, but on a hyper-local level it is one that holds importance. That is, what to do about the town golf course?

Golf has developed an image among many people, that of an elitist sport played among the one per cent, where financiers drink gin in between holes and talk about the stock market. This is not an unfounded opinion: many golf courses have long not only encouraged this type of member, but at the same time actively discouraged anyone who did not fit this mold.

Results of The Northern View’s web poll for the week of Aug. 5

READ MORE: Golf course superintendent off to new job

But we are not talking about Augusta, or the posh clubs of Martha’s Vineyard or Malibu. The club I see here in Prince Rupert is not only one that welcomes the whole town, but one that gives back to the community as well. The course has put an emphasis lately on charity golf tournaments; just last month the Firemen’s Scramble raised over $7,000 for the BC Burn Fund. More are planned before the year is out.

Golf pro Tyler Stene has been introducing kids to the sport not only through his hotly demanded summer camps at the course, but also by taking his lessons right into elementary schools themselves. This is an invaluable resource that I suspect most schools do not boast, and if the next Brooke Henderson or Adam Hadwin comes out of Prince Rupert, we know what local institution to thank.

This is not to mention the recreational benefits. We are quick to laud the many trails in this town; well one of our longest and most beautiful walks you can go on can be found right at the golf course. Take your time and enjoy the scenery – just allow other groups to play through if you’re doing so.

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The course needs a new greens superintendent now that Peter Drake has departed. While most of us never see all that goes into the maintenance of a golf course, there is no way such a massive space can function in a proper and enjoyable manner without someone skilled filling this role. Conversely, they need the machinery and tools necessary to do so. Without these, play will suffer, interest and engagement will drop, and much of what the course offers the community will be lost.

I believe, within reason, that the city would be wise to ensure the club is able to bring in a skilled superintendent, and purchase appropriate machinery, so that we can all continue to benefit from the golf course.

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Alex Kurial | Journalist
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