Wiggins named Golf Pro of the Year

The Professional Golfers' Association of British Columbia has taken notice of how the state of golf in the Yukon has been improving over the past few years.

The Professional Golfers’ Association of British Columbia has taken notice of how the state of golf in the Yukon has been improving over the past few years.

Mountain View Golf Course’s club-pro Jeff Wiggins has played no small part in the development of the sport in the territory, and the PGABC has noticed that too.

Earlier this month Wiggins was named Golf Professional of the Year by the association.

He wasn’t given the award for his prowess as a player, promoting the sport in the Yukon, or running a top-notch course.

It was all of the above and more.

“It’s a big award and I was surprised to get it,” said Wiggins. “Talking to my peers and some of the staff down at the PGABC office, they gave it to me because not only what we’ve been able to do up here in Whitehorse, which is basically put the Yukon on the map. But it’s from attending national events, playing well, and also getting out there and marketing the Yukon.”

Wiggins, who is originally from Saskatoon, has been with Mountain View for five seasons. Few improvements at the club don’t have his fingerprints on them. He has overseen everything from improving the course to raising the quality of events to introducing programs to grow the sport.

His dedication has been outstanding, said Gord Zealand, president of the Yukon Golf Association.

“He’s made an incredible difference,” said Zealand. “He brought a professional attitude to the course and to the Yukon. Thanks to Jeff we all get to benefit from both his skills and his knowledge of the game.

“He’s just a great individual. He’s very intense and very dedicated to the job. Thankfully we have the privilege of having him up here.”

The annual Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am, held at Mountain View the last three summers, is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to Wiggins receiving the award.

Not only did the event almost immediately become the premier event on the golf calendar in Whitehorse, it has become the Yukon Hospital Foundation’s second largest fundraising event of the year. The event has raised almost $200,000 for the foundation in just three years.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of pro-ams in the past – charity pro-ams, celebrity pro-ams – and I’ve never seen a pro-am that raises as much money as we do up here,” said Wiggins. “It’s very rare to see one that raises as much as we do, which says a lot about the community up here.

“Creating events that bring the community together is so important for obvious reasons.”

Each summer, 20 or more pro golfers leave the pro-am blown away by both the qualify of the event and the course.

“(The course) is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” said Ethan Danish, a visiting golf pro who won the pro-am in August. “Everyone talked about how tight it was, and even being from the Okanagan where there’s a lot of tree-lined courses – but nothing like this.

“I didn’t expect anything like this. It was awesome. I was really impressed.”

The pro-am promotes the Yukon’s only 18-hole course outside of the territory, but Wiggins also promotes the sport within the territory.

Shortly before the start of the season, Wiggins and his assistants run an elementary school program to introduce the sport to youngsters using the SNAG Golf developmental program. The club pros also use SNAG Golf, which uses special equipment that is safer and easier to use, to introduce the sport to athletes with Special Olympics Yukon.

Wiggins also works with the Yukon Golf Association in running junior programs and was Team Yukon’s head golf coach for the Canada Summer Games in 2009.

Thanks to Wiggins and Mountain View, Yukoners can now enjoy a round of golf during the winter – a virtual round of golf, that is.

First introduced last winter and restarting in January, golfers can play during the winter using the Optishot Golf Simulator, a highly sophisticated simulator that uses real golf balls and clubs.

Along with the Optishot, golfers can use new V1 coaching software, a video analysis tool that allows golfers to see their swings frame-by-frame.

Wiggins has done so much for golf as a coach and administrator, but let’s not forget he knows how to swing a club too. In the last month he has performed well in two professional tourneys.

A couple of weeks ago Wiggins, and Mountain View members Terry DeForrest and Dan Jordan, competed at the Navigator ProAm in Scottsdale, Arizona.

After five rounds they finished in second place as a team, for the second year in a row. Wiggins tied for fourth on the pro side of the tournament, one spot behind his result from last year.

Wiggins then competed at the Titleist & FootJoy Club Professional Championship of Canada last week in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

It was a tough course, with tough conditions and he also had some tough luck. The day before the first round, Wiggins broke the shaft of his driver at the range and was unable to find a suitable replacement.

“For me it’s very, very important I have my driver, especially on the Wanamaker Course where this event was being held,” said Wiggins. “It’s a Tom Fazio design and … he is absolutely relentless off the tee if you miss a fairway. He puts you into bunkers that you just can’t get to the green from. So you’re going to make a lot of bogeys if you’re not hitting it straight off the tee.

“I have one of the most accurate driving stats in the Canadian PGA, but when this shaft broke I had to whip it around with a three wood.

“So I wasn’t attending to my game plan.”

Wiggins finished tied for 62nd out of 93 pros with a score of plus-24, a far cry from his result last year. In 2011, while becoming the first club pro to represent the Yukon at the event, Wiggins finished tied for 20th.

He wasn’t the only one struggling this year. It was the highest winning score the championship had ever seen with Brian Huttlon winning with two under par. Last year Wiggins hit even par, which would have put him in a tie for third this year.

“At the end of the tournament it was just nice to make the cut,” said Wiggins.

Before moving north to Whitehorse, Wiggins was on a crew of administrators that won PGABC’s Promoter of the Year Award. He was also nominated for Junior Promoter of the Year in 2007.

Last year was a finalist for the Professional Development Award.

“It’s more recognition for Mountain View Golf Club as well,” said Wiggins.

Superintendent Derek Wirth “has done just a fantastic job making sure the (course) conditions are second to none in this country,” he added.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Most Read