It blows my mind to think that 2018 marked my 7th season as Head Professional here at the Balfour Golf Course! My family and I moved to Balfour weeks before our daughter Ainsley’s first birthday and here we are now with a 7 year old Ainsley and her four (and a half if you ask him) year old brother Brooks. Clearly we have fallen in love with the area! Personally, I am very proud and honored to be your Head Professional and truly do enjoy every minute I get to spend making your day better.
This year was so much fun! We had a number of very positive things happen throughout our operation that have me very excited about the season ahead! The most significant happening unquestionably was our re-hire of the very first Balfour Golf Course Superintendent, Larry Olson. One season in and I have to say that it is very clear how much passion Larry has for what he does. I’m certain that you’ll join me in commending Larry and his dedicated grounds crew for the best, most consistent tee to green conditions that we have seen in years! Add in all of the peripheral work that has been started around our facility and I mark Larry’s transition back to Balfour a resounding success.
We also saw the introduction of several new Season Pass options into the mix for 2018. By offering these new products our goal is to appeal to a wider demographic of golfer. Judging by our Early Bird Season Pass sales for 2019, we are on the right track. We saw a significant increase in Early Bird purchases this year over last and have gotten some great feedback on our introduction of the combo options.
This season marked the beginning of two new events at our golf course. In the month of May a some of you may have seen me working with the children of our local school, Red Fish Elementary. I had such a blast working with each and every one of those kids and can’t wait to see this program evolve in 2019. On June 16th we saw the 1st Annual Danny Rickaby Memorial Golf Tournament come to Balfour. This event was organized in the name of the late Nelson business owner, Danny Rickaby, and benefited both the Down Town Dan Business Bursary and the Balfour/Harrop Rescue Society. I’m very proud to say that we were able to raise in excess of $9,000 in the inaugural event!
2018 also marked a year of achievement around our course. How about the home victory pulled off by our Boyd Team in this year’s Boyd Haddad Cup! This is the first year that the Balfour name has been engraved on this historic trophy which marks a HUGE accomplishment for a team that had been on an upswing in recent years! Of course we can’t go too long without mentioning Balfour golfer, Jackie Little, who continued her high level of play again this year. Among several very strong tournament showings in 2018, Jackie took home titles in the Zone 1 Women’s Amateur, the B.C. Senior Women’s Amateur and the P.N.G.A. Senior Women’s Amateur. Well done Jackie!
Now a quick look forward to next season. Despite the painfully slow starts to the Canadian golf season in recent years, we continue to be optimistic that things will return to the ‘norm’ in 2019 and look to Friday April 5th as our scheduled opening date next year. Mother Nature ultimately has the final say on this of course but I’m sure you and I agree that we’re due for some agreeable golfing weather this spring! I am extremely happy to say that we will see both Rob Sibbet and Ginny Bernard return as my go to staff in the golf shop next year. These two did an amazing job in 2018 and I can't wait to get back at it with them by my side next season! Our ever rowing Men’s, Ladies and Retiree’s Leagues will keep similar schedules to what we saw this season and I would like to encourage all of you, Pass Holder or not, to get involved. These weekly leagues are a great way to meet fellow Balfour golfers in a fun and relaxed environment. Their success is also very important to the health of our golf course as each group donates annually to some kind of facility improvement. This year we saw a new greens roller, parking lot tree’s and parking lot dust suppression happen all thanks to our various leagues! In 2019 we will see this introduction of a sand & seed program to our facility which holds the potential to make a significant impact on our course conditions especially during our busier, drier months. The more participation that we see in our weekly leagues, the more you will see these types of improvements come to fruition. In terms of our fixture list, it is my intent to introduce a Community Day this spring as well as a mixed tournament in July to the schedule starting in 2019. Planning for these events will begin in February and would like to solicit your help! Anything from a format suggestion to an ideal date to an offer to help organize is on the table so please feel free to reach out if you think that you can help out in any way!
That puts a wrap on 2018 in terms of Golf Operations here in Balfour. For some, this time of year means migration to warmer climates and to others (such as myself) it means we start looking for that snow line to drop meaning we head for the hills and our legendary Kootenay powder! No matter where you are or what you do to bridge the gap between golf seasons, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Balfour Golf Course