The Prince Rupert Golf Club has a new pro who plans to add junior programming to the course this season.
Tyler Stene arrived in town three weeks ago from Victoria, where he previously worked as the assistant pro at the Highland Pacific and Cordova Bay courses.
The 33-year-old had a good short game on the Vancouver Island Pro Tour, but says his junior programs are really what made a splash on the island.
“They’re really good,” Stene told the Northern View of his junior programs. “You need that to build the community at a golf course.”
Stene said he already has a few junior programs planned for the club as well as for local schools.
“The newest one is called SNAG,” Stene said. “Starting New At Golf.”
That program, for elementary school age children, uses plastic clubs “that are safe for the little guys to swing around,” he said. “That’s the first one I’m going to get in schools and start doing that in May.”
Stene will also start coaching a Charles Hays Secondary School golf team.
“They haven’t had a golf team in like four or five years so that’s exciting,” he said, adding that he’s especially excited to start working with local junior golfer Arlen Des Champs.
“He’s a prodigy,” Stene said of Des Champs.
When school’s out, Stene said he plans to have morning summer camps at the club for young kids and afternoon summer camps for teenagers.
“For the most part with the young camp it’s just getting them swinging, trying to associate golf with fun,” he said. “For the afternoon camp with the older kids, a lot of them already have the fundamentals so you get them on the course and try to teach them about etiquette and all that stuff.”
The summer camps for both age groups will run five days and cost around $100, he said.
Stene also plans to build out junior programming at the club by providing an hour-long lesson for juniors every Thursday, starting on April 1.
“Nothing fool-sy,” he said of the tentative start date. “I hope not anyway.”
Stene will also add more tournaments to the club calendar.
“They don’t have any of that right now so I’ll just start small and make it big by the end of the year hopefully,” he said of the programming.
Stene said wine and lessons with Jackie Touchet will remain on offer at the course for older members, and he plans to add a “couples’ retreat” clinic of his own.
“If you’re a couple that hasn’t played golf you can play with other couples that haven’t golfed and then I’ll go out on the course with you,” he said. “I ran it in Victoria and it was really popular.”
Because the club hasn’t had a resident pro since early 2017, Stene said he’s “already booked pretty crazy for people wanting lessons already.”
“Everybody wants to come and chat and ask questions, and everyone’s fired up to golf when it’s winter here,” he said. “People are playing these days a bit, just like warriors going out there. I was happy to see that, that there’s people that want to play even though it’s frozen.
“It’s incredible. It’s a good feeling to be here with them.”
On the flip side, Stene said one of his favourite things about his new home course is the secluded feel the trees and mountains provide on some of the holes.
“There’s a lot of trees. I can’t get over that,” he said. “On a lot of courses you can see everyone while you’re playing. This one kind of makes it feel like you’re the only one out there a few times, which is great.”
Stene’s wife, a general practitioner, will be joining him in Prince Rupert in June.