Golf Manitoba members set new score posting record in 2023
It was a record breaking year for Golf Manitoba members who posted 283,431 rounds to the Golf Canada Score Centre in 2023. The season total represents a 28.5% increase over 2022 (220,576) and an 8.5% increase over the previous record set in 2021 (261,224).
Of the 283,000 rounds posted, over 138,000 rounds were posted using the Golf Canada App. Golf Canada is also on pace for a record setting year of score posting projecting over 10 million rounds posted nation wide.
The top five member clubs for score posting during the 2023 Active Season were as follows:
1. Breezy Bend Country Club – 21,952 2. Pine Ridge Golf Club – 20,563 3. St. Charles Country Club – 19,135 4. Niakwa Country Club – 18,600 5. Elmhurst Golf & Country Club – 17,579
All Golf Manitoba/Golf Canada members receive access to score posting under the World Handicap System. Any game played at an official Golf Manitoba/Canada Member Club or any club worldwide that has an official Course and Slope Rating under the World Handicap System qualifies towards establishing and maintaining an official Golf Canada Handicap Index.
Not a member? Join Canada’s largest golf community here.
(April 6, 2023) Golf Manitoba is pleased to announce its 2023 championship schedule. The 2023 competition calendar includes fifteen Provincial Amateur Championships that will be contested at Golf Manitoba member clubs.
As the Provincial Sport Organization and governing body of golf in Manitoba and Northwest Ontario, Golf Manitoba conducts premier amateur golf championships to support the development of the province’s competitive golfers.
Golf Manitoba’s championship season kicks off May 28 with the Match Play Championship, presented by St. Vital Dental Centre, at the Glendale Golf & Country Club and concludes with the return of the Men’s Four-Ball Championship that will be played on September 21 at the Bridges Golf Course in Starbuck, Manitoba.
Championship registration will open on Monday, April 10 at 10am and only for players who achieved exempt status based on their play in 2022. General registration will open on Monday, April 17 and also at 10am. Players who fall into the exempt category will receive an email informing them of their status.
To view Golf Manitoba’s 2023 Championship Schedule, including all host venues and registration requirements, click here.
Golf Manitoba Amateur Championships
Golf Manitoba annually conducts more than 15 golf competitions and qualifiers – which play host to more than 900 golfers who play over 1,700 rounds. In partnership with our host clubs, volunteers, and our proud sponsors, Golf Manitoba is dedicated to supporting player development through first-class competition. Golf Manitoba’s amateur championships are proudly supported by the Alex & Peggy Colonello Foundation, TaylorMade, adidas Golf Canada, Manitoba Blue Cross, Nott Autocorp, Diamond Athletic, St. Vital Dental Centre, Hodson Financial and our sport partners at Sport Manitoba and Golf Canada. For more information and scheduling visit golfmb.ca/competitions.
Golf Canada launches National Golf League in support of First Tee – Canada
Your League Levelled Up!
(April 3, 2023) – Golf Canada has announced the launch of The National Golf League (NGL), a nationwide network of existing recreational golf leagues designed to enhance the league experience for participants and generate charitable support for First Tee – Canada.
Built for golfers of all skill levels, the National Golf League will feature a six-week regular season that takes place within existing recreational league play during the summer. A series of regional playoff tournaments across Canada will take place in the fall at premium golf courses. The National Golf League will culminate with the NGL National Championship at Hamilton Golf and Country Club as part of the 2024 RBC Canadian Open tournament week celebration.
The National Golf League will also contribute to the development of a more sustainable and inclusive future for the sport by supporting a charitable component through First Tee – Canada. First Tee is a youth development program that provides accessible pathways to golf participation at schools, community centres, and golf courses across the country.
“League play is one of the most popular ways that Canadians engage with golf. The National Golf League will build on the fun that league golfers already have by supplementing and levelling up existing leagues through a national platform for regular season play and an exciting and unique playoff format,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer, Kevin Blue. “The National Golf League will also provide important charitable support to First Tee – Canada, a program that creates youth participation opportunities for the next generation of recreational golfers.”
National Golf League competitions will utilize an official Golf Canada Handicap applied towards a net Stableford scoring system that allows golfers to earn points for the net score they record on each hole.
Regular season NGL competition will take place over nine holes during six weeks of identified league play called “NGL Majors” that are integrated into existing league play and scheduled at the convenience of the local league operator. A golfer’s best four net Stableford point totals of the six NGL Majors will count towards their season-long points total on the NGL leaderboard.
A portion of the top regular season finishers in each participating league will qualify for the NGL Regional Playoffs, which will take place at premium courses across Canada. Qualifying golfers will select a guest teammate who also played in their regular season league and participate as a team of two in a best-ball net Stableford competition over 18 holes. Successful teams in the NGL Regional Playoffs will earn an all-expenses-paid trip to the NGL National Championship.
The NGL is open to recreational golf leagues played at both private and public courses. Participants must be Golf Canada members to ensure an official handicap is used. There is no registration fee for golfers or leagues to join the National Golf League. Participants will be asked to support First Tee – Canada in their home province by way of donation.
The size of the National Golf League will be limited in its launch year to ensure a positive experience for players and league operators. A limited number of spots remain for leagues to join the National Golf League in 2023—interested league operators should contact Ryan Logan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express interest before April 15. For more information visit NationalGolfLeague.ca.
Elmhurst Invitational to add junior division in 2023
Golf Manitoba Executive Director Jared Ladobruk and Elmhurst Golf & Country Club Director of Golf Operations Dave McMillan are pleased to announce a joint venture in the expansion of the 2023 Elmhurst Invitational Amateur Championship.
This year’s championship will see the addition of Golf Manitoba’s top junior boys and girls players to the field. Thanks to the generous contributions of the Alex & Peggy Colonello Foundation and in partnership with the Elmhurst Golf & Country and Golf Manitoba, the winners of each division in the 2023 event will receive a spot in the respective Golf Canada Canadian Junior Championship along with financial travel support.
“I am thrilled to see this opportunity presented to our junior players” said Ladobruk. “The Alex & Peggy Colonello Foundation has been such a tremendous partner in helping us to grow our junior programming and this is another example of their dedication to junior golf in Manitoba. I also want to thank the membership of the Elmhurst Golf & Country Club for their support of player development in our province in adding a junior division to this great event.”
“We are delighted as a club to be able to carry on the Colonello name and its legacy of supporting junior golf,” added McMillan. “Alex and Peggy were both honorary life members of Elmhurst and did so much for the club and continue to give back to Manitoba Golf through their foundation. We are happy to be able to affiliate The Elmhurst Invitational with Alex and Peggy’s vision of providing opportunities for junior golfers at their long-time golf home. I want to thank Golf Manitoba’s Jared Ladobruk for their partnership, supporting the event through the years, and moving ahead with this new initiative. Special thanks to the members of Elmhurst, long-time member and former champion John Multan and Head Professional Matt Lorenz for keeping the event alive and well. We look forward to celebrating the event’s rich tradition and adding the Colonello foundation’s support will only enhance the event for years to come.”
Once again this year, an exemption will be available to either the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship or the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Champion for the winner in this year’s men’s field. Invitation criteria will be adjusted and subject to the approval of the tournament committee as well as Golf Manitoba being able to accommodate the junior players on the field.
Founded in 2003 by long-time Elmhurst member John Multan, the Elmhurst Invitational Amateur Championship has become one of the highest regarded amateur events held in the province outside of the Golf Manitoba championship calendar. The field is continually one of the strongest of the year with most of the province’s top players taking part.
Past champions include the likes of the DP World Tour’s Aaron Cockerill, along with past Manitoba Men’s Amateur Champions Garth Collings, Derek East, Todd Fanning, Matt Johnston, Brad Kirton, Justin McDonald, Peter More and Marco Trstenjak.
The 2023 Elmhurst Invitational will be contested June 24 & 25.
Registration dates announced for Golf Canada’s 2023 championships
Canadian Junior Girls Championship Trophy
(Photo: Gary Yee/Golf Canada)
Registration for Golf Canada’s competitions is opening soon. The 2023 schedule features a total of 35 competitions including:
10 National Amateur Championships, presented by BDO
8 NextGen Championships, fueled by JOURNIE Rewards
5 RBC Canadian Open Regional Qualifiers, culminating at the Final Qualifier on Sunday, June 4
CP Women’s Open Final Qualifier on Monday, August 21
Various USGA Qualifiers in May, June and July
Registration will open on the following dates for each category of championships and qualifiers:
NextGen Championships, fueled by JOURNIE Rewards
NextGen Championships, fueled by JOURNIE Rewards will continue to provide a high-performance training ground and championship experience across Canada, which showcases the next wave of elite junior golfers.
Registration will open on Wednesday, February 15th at 12:00pm EDT.
Join the world’s best amateur and professional golfers and attempt to qualify for the 2023 RBC Canadian Open. Registrants are selected on a first-come, first-serve basis, as long as each applicant meets the eligibility requirements.
Registration will open on Wednesday, February 22nd at 12:00pm EDT.
The 2022 edition of Golf Canada’s successful campaign for #MyGolfYear fueled by JOURNIE Rewards features personalized achievements and countless golf stories from across the country
OAKVILLE (Golf Canada) – Golf Canada’s #MyGolfYear fueled by JOURNIE Rewards is back, and the 2022 edition is loaded with more achievements, more milestones and more fun for every member who logged their scores this year.
Building on the success of the 2021 campaign and the hugely popular Spotify Wrapped, Golf Canada has enhanced this year’s #MyGolfYear experience with a snapshot from golf scores posted during the season. In addition to total rounds, best round, total holes played, total distance played, users will now have more personalized insights in the form of Achievements.
“Last year we saw how much Golf Canada members loved sharing their #MyGolfYear stats on social media,” said Golf Canada’s Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Ferkul. “So, this year we really wanted to step up our game and give members even more personal achievements to be proud of when posting to social media channels.”
The full list of achievements for 2022 include:
Top Golfer: You’re in rarefied air; your handicap ranks you as one of the top X% golfers in Canada.
Every Day I’m Golfing: You played golf every day of the week this year; something you and 106,943 other Canadians did in 2022.
Golfer for All Seasons: You played at least one round in each of April, May, June, July, August, September and October.
Have Clubs, Will Travel: You and XX,XXX other Canadians ventured out and played golf in Y different cities in Canada in 2022.
#MyGolfDay: You play golf on Sundays and only on Sundays. That’s your day. No ifs, ands or buts.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: You managed to play at least a round of golf five weeks in a row this year.
Peak Summer: Canada’s warmest day in 2022 was July 28th; on that day, you and another 56,894 Canadians played golf.
Hole in One: The highest of achievements; you and just 3,089 other Canadians got a hole-in-one in 2022.
From Sea to Sea: You really get around; you and just X,XXX others played golf in Y different provinces of Canada this year.
I Am Canadian: You and 109,718 others celebrated Canada Day weekend in the best possible way: Getting in a round of golf.
Giving Thanks: An ideal Thanksgiving may or may involve turkey, but for you and 32,704 other Canadians, it definitely involved a round of golf.
Golf Supporter: You’ve been a supporter of Golf Canada and golf in Canada for more than five years—thank you!
Golf Protector: You’ve supported Golf Canada for over 10 years and helped us grow the game—thank you!
Breaking Not Bad: You scored a round under 100 / 90 / 80 / 70 this year—congrats!
New To The Club: You’re new to the Golf Canada community for 2022—welcome!
“We want Golf Canada members to see their achievements from score posting as badges of pride and measures of participation and improvement,” Ferkul said. “We also think it will be great when they receive validation of those achievements from their friends when they post their #MyGolfYear roundup on social media.
With more than 270,000 Golf Canada members posting scores in 2022, the marketing team at the national sports organization started digging into the data that would eventually lead to #MyGolfYear months ago. Sully Syed, Golf Canada’s Senior Director of Digital Experience and Technology said that once his team started exploring the data behind the posted scores, several things caught his attention.
“Once we started getting through the score posting data, we really started learning about Golf Canada members,” Syed said. “We learned about the days of the week they play, what golf courses they play most, how far they will travel to play golf, and so much more about their golfing habits in 2022.”
The data also revealed several amazing individual member stories, like that of Jeff Forgrave—whose posted scores indicated he did a few things no one else in Canada did in 2022. Forgrave played golf in all 10 provinces, played 103 different golf courses and played in 50 different cities in 2022.
“I’m an overly avid golfer,” Forgrave admits. “I’ve previously played in all 10 provinces, but never in the same year. This year was one of extensive travels and a lot of golf.”
While Forgrave is a longtime golfer, there were other stories from brand new Golf Canada members like Kathryn McCully of Petitcodiac Valley Golf and Country Club in New Brunswick. As a new Golf Canada member in 2022, McCully logged 89 rounds of golf for the year.
“I plan to play as much, if not more in the coming seasons,” McCully says. “My goal is to get technical with my game and do regular lessons with hopes of becoming more consistent, confident and competitive,” she says, adding, “it’s addicting to add your scorecard into the Golf Canada App and watch your handicap hopefully improve.
Vikes, Thunderbirds crowned Canada West Golf Champions
Photo: Canada West
Victoria, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men and University of British Columbia women took home the team titles at the 2022 Canada West Golf Championships, Oct. 4.
The Vikes men finished +3 collectively with rounds of 293 and 278. UBC finished second at +7 (279, 296) in the team standings, while Fraser Valley rounded out the top three with a +9 (286, 291) over the two-day tournament. The University of Manitoba Bisons men finished in 6th place with a +43 team score (303, 308). The Bisons were lead by Stefan Lavallee and Cameron McIntyre who both finished at T16 with a two-day total of +9 (151). Also playing for the Bisons were Trent Robertson (T19), Connor Stewart (T23) and Cole Peters (T37).
The UBC women shot +19 (221, 224) as a team to earn the conference banner, followed by Victoria at +25 (226, 225) for silver, and UBCO with a +29 (225, 230) in bronze position as teams.
Neel Soni (2020 Manitoba Junior Boys Champion) who plays for the University of British Columbia, helped the Thunderbird men to a second place team finish on rounds of 74 and 73 to finish individually at T11. Jacob Armstrong, (2019 Manitoba Junior Boys Champion) playing for the University of the Fraser Valley, shot scores of 75 and 82 to finish at T25.
For more on the 2022 Canada West Golf Championship and for the full leaderboard, please click here.
The Clear Lake Ladies Golf Club celebrated its 75th year on August 31, 2022. The group recognized its diamond anniversary with a luncheon at the NINE Restaurant at the Clear Lake Golf Course.
The Wasagaming Ladies Golf Club was first formed in 1947 thanks to the vision of Helen Hickling, a practicing Winnipeg lawyer and Clear Lake cottage owner, who decided to compete in the Manitoba Championships tournament in Winnipeg. Helen approached the first superintendent of Riding Mountain National Park, Mr. Hislop, to ask for permission to join the Manitoba Ladies Golf Association so that she could compete in the tournament. Permission was granted, Helen competed and subsequently became the first president of the club.
At the 1995 spring meeting, The Wasagaming Ladies Club changed its name to the Clear Lake Ladies Golf Club. The late 90s also saw the formation of the Fall Classic Tournament which had a very successful run for many years thanks to the efforts of several dedicated members. The membership currently sits at thirty-five players and one associate member. The Club has active members in their nineties continuing to enjoy coming out to play. Once a week, members take turns hosting a “social” at their cottage after a scheduled weekly game and for many members, this is a definite perk of belonging to the club.
Competitive golfers within the club included Muriel Clark, Geri Ferris, Betty Hall, Helen Hickling, The Lawrence sisters ( Donna, Heather and Marion), Donna Lawson, Joan Kullberg, Lynn MacDonald, Bea Matheson, Ann McDiarmid, Mabel Mitchell, and Marg Patrick. Notable junior members, Stacey Bieber and Kaitlin Troop, made their mark with impressive tournament play in Manitoba, Canada and the US.
The Clear Lake Ladies Club is proud to celebrate seventy-five years of memorable moments celebrating golf, women and good times that have defined the club’s past and will shape its future.
After a two year hiatus due to COVID the 60th annual Grey Owl Golf Tournament will be held at Clear Lake, Manitoba on the weekend of Friday, June 10th until Sunday, June 12th.
The Grey Owl is one of the longest running tournaments of its kind in North America and with up to 16 flights gives golfers of all skill levels the opportunity for competition, camaraderie and of course lots of fun.
Held at the picturesque and challenging Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park, the tournament has gained the reputation as one of the premiere events on Manitoba’s golf calendar and draws golfers from not just Manitoba and nearby Saskatchewan but from locales throughout North America.
Online registration is now open and all applications submitted by April 30, 2022 will be considered. For more information, visit thegreyowl.ca.
From zero to full in 40 seconds, and other strange tales from the 2020 golf season
Just how busy were golf courses across Canada in 2020?
Early one morning at the beginning of the season, Stephen Jardeleza positioned himself in front of his computer at GreyHawk Golf Club. On his screen was a blank tee sheet for the Ottawa club where he is the Director of Operations.
In a few minutes, the computerized tee-times reservation system would open for members to begin booking tee times for the upcoming Saturday. Up for grabs were 130 tee times across the club’s 36 holes, which, if fully booked, would work out to 520 golfers.
At 7 a.m., the tee sheet came alive. “In 40 seconds, our tee sheet was fully booked,” Jardeleza said. “And this happened every day.”
The 2020 golf season—and the year—will go down in infamy as one of the strangest that most of us will ever experience.
Faced with a mysterious and deadly nemesis, golf provided a beacon of badly needed joy amid fear and frustration. We were smitten. We couldn’t get enough golf.
“It didn’t matter that there was a worldwide pandemic,” said Simon Bevan, General Manager of Riverbend Golf Club in London. “Golf was like a drug. We all wanted to hit the little white ball.”
Now that the season has ended, the golf club industry in Canada is celebrating a record year in which rounds skyrocketed to historic proportions. Thousands of people took up golf—some for the first time, and some came back to the game—and veteran golfers played more than they ever have.
But right out of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for playbook, the industry faced the challenge of how to mollify established golfers frustrated that they could no longer get to the first tee when they wanted.
Back in April, with cities around the world looking like ghost towns, and major league sports and the PGA TOUR shut down, golfers held on to a slender thread of hope that a golf season might be possible.
By early May, golfers in Ontario and Quebec had endured two months of a gruelling lockdown, made worse by a tantalizingly warm spring that screamed golf. Golfers ached for their game. A friend said, “Golfers can distance. I play golf with people. I don’t dance with them.”
After weeks of consultation with the golf industry on safety measures, the Ontario government said courses could open May 16. Quebec set May 20 as its opening day.
Golf clubs had only a few days to finish their preparations in order to keep golfers safe. Staff removed ball washers, water coolers, benches and outfitted flagsticks with doo-hickeys that allowed you to extricate your ball without having to touch the stick.
Held back from their usual start to the season, golfers were ravenous. On May 15—the first day that tee times could be booked—thousands of ClubLink Members went online to reserve their tee times at 7 a.m., causing the system to crash.
Many technology platforms serving the golf industry were overwhelmed. When Golf Ontario opened its online tournament registration on June 24, 17,000 people visited its site in a matter of minutes, causing it to crash for the first time in its history, according to executive director Mike Kelly.
On those first wonderful days of the 2020 golf season, golfers were over the moon to play and golf club personnel were cautiously nervous.
“We were hoping that members wouldn’t contract the virus just from touching things,” said Paul Carrothers, Director of Golf at Royal Ottawa Golf Club.
Thousands of golfers wanted to play the game—not just because they are an extremely obsessive bunch—but also to escape the same four walls at home. Without having to travel for work or commute, working from home also afforded many golfers the freedom to play when they wanted. More or less.
With offices and schools closed, and nearly every other option for having fun shut down, golf became the ‘it’ activity. Spouses, friends and kids who had not tried golf, and those who had given up the game, were playing.
“Almost all of the guys that I played slow-pitch with every Tuesday for 20 years were now playing golf,” said Kevin Thistle, CEO of the PGA of Canada. “The way we play golf, work, watch sports—it’s all changing, and forcing us to adapt.”
From the once-a-year golfer to the 100-rounds-plus player, everyone played more—and wanted more.
“Players who would normally play 30 to 40 rounds played 70 to 80 rounds,” said Adam Tobin, Director of Golf at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge.
Even with most corporate events cancelled at most clubs, tee times became a precious commodity.
By the end of June, Canadians had played more than 1.5 million rounds during the month, an increase of 17 per cent over June 2019. And that’s a monumental feat folks when you consider June is THE busiest and best month to play. For an industry that faced media reports a few years earlier that it was declining, business was booming.
But for avid golfers who routinely play three or more rounds a week and were used to convenient tee times, it was not all sunshine and rainbows.
“There was a lot of frustration,” said Jason Wyatt, Head Professional at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club in London, where demand shot up 52 percent over 2019 with the same number of members. “There were people who wanted an 8 a.m. time but had to settle for hours later.”
Even playing ‘executive’ or nine-hole courses was a challenge. “There were times that we had six groups lined up to play our nine-hole course,” said Dennis Firth, Head Professional at Royal Montreal which experienced a 30 percent increase in rounds over 2019. “It was unprecedented.”
As a golfer, and the fellow in charge of tracking golfers across the country for Golf Canada, Adam Helmer said he could no longer just head out to play. He had to become organized in scheduling his golf.
“A downside of golf being so popular was that not everyone was able to get the tee time they wanted,” said Helmer, senior director of Golf Services for Golf Canada.
The problem was simple. Demand for tee times appeared limitless, but every course has a finite number of holes and daylight. And to keep golfers from getting too close to one another, most clubs spaced out tee times, which meant fewer golfers on the course.
John Finlayson, Chief Operating Officer of ClubLink, says that—as a general rule of thumb—a private golf club with 18 holes carries about 400 full dues-paying members to sustain its business.
But even in June when the days are longest, there’s only enough room to accommodate about 225 golfers. “If 300 people want to play that course that day, you have a problem,” said Finlayson, whose ClubLink courses saw a 29 percent increase in rounds in 2020 compared with 2019.
Many private clubs responded by restricting the number of guests that members could bring, and restricted access for certain classes of memberships.
“To make room for our full members, we had to restrict our legacy and out-of-town members,” said Ian Leggatt, General Manager of Summit Golf Club in Richmond Hill. “We had to communicate to them that these are unusual times,” said Leggatt, who has since moved to the same position at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
Initially, Leggatt and other senior club managers wondered if golfers would “drift from the game” because they couldn’t socialize in the clubhouse restaurant afterwards,
and the on-course experience was altered.
But with fewer golfers on the course, no need to rake bunkers, and single riders on carts, the speed of play improved dramatically.
“The measures were taken for safety, but it provided a better experience,” Finlayson said. “Most golfers expect to play 18 holes in 4 to 4.5 hours, but this year a 4-hour round was considered a bit slow.”
Nonetheless, many golfers were frustrated about access, and many golf clubs stepped up their communication efforts to help their members adapt.
“You couldn’t over-communicate,” Leggatt said. “This whole thing was shifting, and there was no template on how to make it work better.”
It affected everyone, including ClubLink Member and CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada, Jeff Calderwood.
“I’d jump on the computer five days in advance at 7 a.m. this fall, and there were often no times at Eagle Creek (his Home Club in Ottawa),” he said. “It illustrated the dilemma we had.”
Industry leaders such as Calderwood are thankful golf provided a silver lining during a pandemic, but they are also mindful that the industry is challenged by how it satisfies core golfers while retaining new players.
“I don’t claim to have all the answers. You could restructure and find that, perhaps with a vaccine, demand doesn’t stay so high, and then you’re not sustainable if you got it wrong.”
Mike Kelly of Golf Ontario was among the industry leaders who consulted with the Ontario government to allow clubs to open this season, and he’s grateful golfers turned a possible disaster into a banner year for golf.
As a golf administrator who represents the sport in Ontario, as well as players who want to play and have fun, Kelly says he can’t lose focus on what’s truly important.
“Our job is to provide a safe environment. That’s our No. 1 priority during this pandemic. We can’t screw this up. The game has grown and the industry will evolve, but the priority must be safety.”