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Yukon golf season in full swing with new additions

Mountain View Golf Club pro Jeff Wiggins is not only sure the club's course record of 69 will fall this season, he can tell the day it will happen. On July 24, Mountain View will be hosting the first ever professional/amateur tournament in the territory, the Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am.

Mountain View Golf Club pro Jeff Wiggins is not only sure the club’s course record of 69 will fall this season, he can tell the day it will happen.

On July 24, Mountain View will be hosting the first ever professional/amateur tournament in the territory, the Skookum Asphalt Charity Pro-Am.

“We’re going to be flying in golf pros from Alberta and BC - we’re even thrown in a couple Alaska professionals,” said Wiggins. “It’s a charity event, so all the proceeds we’re going to be raising are going to the Yukon Hospital Foundation and Variety Children’s Charity as well.

“Even though that one is based out of BC, the funds aren’t leaving the territory. We’re going to start a fund up here to families with sick kids, or whatever the case might be.

“Let’s put it this way, I expect the course record to be broken twice on that day.”

The club, which held its opening scramble on Sunday, has another full season planned with a few other new additions.

Putting more emphasis on junior programs, the club will be hosting its new Junior Open on May 29 - for junior members only - one of four junior events planned for this season.

“We’re trying to bring the kids together and form a bit of a camaraderie, find out who wants to do it competitively and who doesn’t,” said Wiggins. “Because you have to offer both. You have to have programs that allow the kids to have instruction and have fun, but it’s our responsible to create a competitive schedule as well to develop.”

In addition, Mountain View is reintroducing an adult/junior tournament, the Whitehorse Beverages Coke Adult/Junior Classic.

“That’s something we haven’t done in a couple of years,” said Wiggins. “So we brought that back and Coke was very supportive of moving from the Coke Championship, which we used to have, to something that had a junior component to it.”

Advancing golfers’ skills outside Whitehorse, Wiggins and other staff have organized trips to Faro and Watson Lake to conduct golf seminars for school children and adults.

“When I came up here in 2008 there were fragments of (a junior program), or the beginnings of it, but now we have it going,” said Wiggins. “So some people look at the Mountain View Golf Course as a non-profit organization - we get funding from lotteries and the city. Well, these are the reasons why we get that, because we’re out there giving back. We’re not charging Faro or Watson Lake for any of this.”

While Mountain View, Yukon’s only 18-hole course with grass greens, does have a Ryder Cup formatted Whiskey Cup Invitational on July 9-10, Wiggins is hoping to add a second club-versus-club style tournament with the Valley of the Eagles Golf Links in Haines, Alaska.

“It’s basically the old ball-league boys from way back in the day,” said Wiggins of the Whiskey Cup. “It’s the Whitehorse guys and the Skagway guys, hence the ‘Whi-Skey’- it’s not actually alcohol being referred to. It’s referring to Whitehorse versus Skagway.

“I was talking with one of the pros over at Valley of the Eagles in Haines, and he said he had interest from his members wanting to start an interclub against the Mountain View members in a Ryder Cup format. So we might have an event - maybe this year, surely next year - where we do get a Ryder Cup format going between the States and us, and it’ll be open to all the members.”

Meadow Lakes gets early

jump on season

According to Meadow Lakes Golf and Country Club owner Jeff Luehmann, the course’s nine greens are already in tip-top shape and the club is installing its irrigation system two weeks earlier than usual.

“The weather has been phenomenal,” said Luehmann. “We had a mild winter and an early spring with very little freezing and thawing. Bottom line, there’s virtually no damage. My grounds crew is already bored because there’s not a lot to do until the grass starts growing.

“The conditions, bar none, are the best we’ve ever had. It’s unbelievable. The greens are almost flawless already.”

Mostly holding private tournaments, Meadow Lakes will again be offering two charity tournaments to the public, both to raise money for Special Olympics Yukon. The Women’s Floral Classic will take place July 9 and the mixed tournament, the Golf Gala, will take play August 6.

“We’ve done lots of course improvements and a lot of changes here in the club house - as a matter of fact I’m putting in a new TV today,” said Luehmann last week.

“It’s a sports facility, so everyone wants to watch sports after their round of golf.

“Just improving the overall look of the course. Just cosmetic stuff - making it look prettier.”

Top of the World

keeps it casual

For those who are constantly late for tee-times, Dawson City’s Top of the World Golf Course is the place for you.

“Golfers just come out - we’re pretty casual here,” said club employee Cheryl Wilson. “I laugh when visitors phone and say, ‘Can I book a tee-time?’ And I’m like, ‘Just come on down.’”

The nine-hole course, Canada’s northern most course with grass greens, began the season on Saturday and is now open seven days a week.

“It’s a little earlier than some seasons, everything was a little earlier - the river went out a little earlier,” said Wilson.

“Tourists are tickled pink when they learn there’s a golf course this far north. We can rent them anything they need.”

Top of the World has three tournaments planned for this season, although the exact dates have yet to be confirmed.

Coming up first is the Midnight Sun Tournament - most likely to take place the weekend of June 19-20 - and offers golfers a rather unique experience: a tee-time at midnight followed by a pancake breakfast around 3 a.m.

Other tournaments include the Earl MacKenzie Memorial in July and the Discovery Days Tournament in August.

Adding a little quirkiness to start the season, while on temporary greens, golfers are playing the course backwards, starting at hole-nine and working down to hole-one.

“Why not? We’re on temporary greens anyway,” said Wilson. “It’s just until the greens are in shape for a regular round.”

Faro Golf Club

holding two tournies

It sounds like a recipe for broken windows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The Faro Golf Club is a nine-hole course that actually runs through the town, taking the term “community golf course” to the next level.

“It started out many years ago - 50 years ago - with some guys who loved golf and they had a couple areas with grass, so they started fooling around. And it just grew from there,” said head gardener Debbie Carreau.

“It winds through the community and makes it look incredibly wonderful.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I don’t know of anyone’s window getting broken. But I could be totally wrong about that.”

The course, which also offers a driving range, will host two tournaments this season, starting with the 13th annual Faro Golf Club Tournament on July 9-10.

“It’s a big event for the community. People from all over come out and they enjoy a beautiful banquet and everyone gets a prize,” said Carreau. “We always have a hole-in-one prize provided by Mic Mac Motors. It’s a pretty big prize - you get a vehicle if you get a hole-in-one. It’s never been won yet.”

At the end of the season Faro will also host a “fun” tournament for local golfers only.

“It doesn’t have a name,” said Carreau. “It doesn’t have an official name because it hasn’t become and annual event yet.”

Greenway Greens

looking for green

Watson Lake’s Greenway Greens nine-hole golf club is not deserted, but it’s also not opening anytime soon either. After being closed for the last few years, Greenway will remain closed this season with no foreseeable opening in the coming years.

“I’m up there puttering around, keeping it in half-decent shape in case someone comes with a handful of money,” said owner Robert Greenway. “I’ve got no more plans to open it up here in Watson Lake - never.

“The economy got so bad and people couldn’t come out.”

As indicated, Greenway is keeping the course in playable condition, but its days as a functioning club are over unless an investor can be found.

“Oh yeah, you betcha,” said Greenway. “If you’ve got some money, come on down - and you can golf it too.”

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