Spring was sparse, but the rest of summer was super when it came to business at Whistler-area golf courses this year.
Thanks to an excellent stretch of weather spanning the last three months of the season, corridor courses were reporting a strong finish to the summer after all had closed for 2012.
“It was a very strange year,” said Alan Kristmanson, general manager at the Whistler Golf Club. “We had three of the worst months we’ve ever had, followed by three of the best months we’ve ever had, weather-wise.
“We had a nice finish to it, but the entire province again got off to a really slow start with April-May-June being so dismal. Especially June — it was as bad as we’ve ever seen.”
That trend seemed to also be the case up in the Spud Valley, with The Meadows at Pemberton owner Gord Bell also noticing a surge of players during a sunny end to summer.
“We had a fantastic September-October — our numbers there were way, way up,” said Bell. “In late May and June, we got killed, just (because) it rained a lot.
“We came out about the same as we did last year overall, so compared to the way I was feeling at the start of the year, I was feeling pretty good at the end.”
Some courses began limiting operations before the Thanksgiving long weekend, but Monday (Oct. 8) marked the last day of play at Whistler courses.
It also marked the end of the Whistler Golf Club’s first season with 18 new, bent-grass greens installed at the beginning of the year. Kristmanson said he’s very pleased with how the new putting surfaces are coming along after they survived a cool start to the year.
“Once the sun came in and we did a little work on them, they kicked in really nicely and were just awesome by the end of the year,” said Kristmanson. “They got back in good shape for the last three weeks of the season, even after aeration … so we’re really looking forward to next season.”
The Meadows, meanwhile, has a big project in the works of its own. The course is hoping to establish an RV campground on its property and has garnered the support of the Village of Pemberton to do so, but is awaiting necessary approvals from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to go ahead. Reports indicate that the ALC hasn’t yet had a chance to review the course’s proposal.
“We haven’t had any luck with that yet, but we strongly believe that it’s just a matter of time,” said Bell. “We certainly want to get that pushed through … to get other non-golfers out enjoying the property, because it is so beautiful, and hopefully turn them onto golf while they’re there.”
The Whistler Golf Club’s third annual Free Golf Day supporting the local food bank was another big success, put on in partnership with the Westin Resort and Spa last Thursday (Oct. 4) to wind up the year.
“We raised about $1,800 for the food bank and 2,000 pounds of food, so thanks to everyone who came out and supported that,” said Kristmanson. “It was a beautiful day for it and the food bank was thrilled, so it was a great day.”
Although Whistler’s courses are now closed for the season, golf isn’t far away for now, as the Squamish Valley and Furry Creek golf clubs will remain open until later in October.