When Tyler Stene arrived in Prince Rupert seven months ago, he said he had big plans for the golf club.
With his first summer in town drawing to a close, the golf course’s new pro feels he has been able to see many of these said plans come to fruition.
“There’s a movement happening at the Prince Rupert Golf Club. We’re seeing the beginning of a very strong junior program, and more participation from the public,” Stene said.
And the recognition is not just from those around town. Stene was just selected as a regional award recipient of the Jock McKinnon Candidate for Membership of the Year by the PGA of British Columbia for his work at the course.
|Tyler Stene with one of his summer junior golf camp classes at the Prince Rupert Golf Course. (Tyler Stene photo)|
The winners were selected by regional nomination committees, with all award winners now becoming provincial finalists for the PGA of B.C. awards, which will be announced next month in Richmond. Certain winners will then be put forward as the provincial representatives for the PGA of Canada national awards.
“When I found out I was up for the provincial award I was very happy. Progressing in the industry is really important to me, and this is a nice reminder I’m heading in the right direction,” Stene said.
“As I’ve said before, I’m just getting started, and there is a lot of bigger and better things coming Prince Rupert Golf Club’s way.”
While happy to be honoured, Stene’s focus since arriving has been to put the local golf course on the map.
He said this award shows that the work he and the club have been performing this year are working.
On the youth front Stene engaged in a targeted push towards getting junior golfers involved in the game. Prior to the previous school year ending, Stene made appearances at the town’s elementary schools to introduce kids to the game via his Starting New At Golf (SNAG) program.
|Tyler Stene helps line up a shot at the driving station during his SNAG class at Annunciation School. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“You have to go into the schools, especially if you’re the only golf professional in the community,” Stene said. “You have to make sure you give every kid the same opportunity to play.”
Stene saw the enthusiasm carry on after school ended, with all eight of his kids’ summer camps going over capacity. He also serves as the coach of the Charles Hays golf team, which in June sent a team to provincials for the first time in over six years.
Stene also noted a jump in participation from those in their twenties and thirties, many of whom work for the port or perform seasonal work in Prince Rupert.
He believes that, along with the youth, these ages are key for growing the sport.
“You can play it for the rest of your life, there’s not many sports out there where you can do that,” Stene said.
|Tyler Stene arrived with big plans for the Prince Rupert Golf Club as the new pro. (Karissa Gall / Black Press Media)|
There has also been a rise in charity tournaments at the course. Last month saw more than $7,000 raised for the B.C. Burn Fund at the Firemen’s Scramble. The September long weekend played host to the annual ILWU Scramble, which raised more than $17,500 for the B.C. Children’s Hospital last year. This is in addition to charity events held earlier in the year.
“I love doing those events,” Stene said.
“We’ll have all sorts of competitions to generate more stuff for charity.”
Stene emphasizes that golf is for everybody, and hopes that his efforts will convince people of that.
“A lot of people say ‘I’m not very good.’ It doesn’t matter. No matter how good or bad you are, you’re going to have fun if you get out here and play,” Stene said.
“Judging by how many new people I saw this year, just a lot of people who have never golfed before, now they’re hooked. They’re not all bankers, lawyers or stockbrokers, and they’re out here having a great time quite often now.”
“With our town size and our member numbers, I think there’s a lot of room for growth,” Stene concluded.
“This is just the beginning.”
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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