The Masters golf tournament begins on Thursday, April 7, and with it the unofficial start to spring and summer season at Myrtle Point Golf Club.
Men’s league opening night, called Masters Pairs, coincides with the fabled tournament held every spring in Augusta, Georgia.
According to Steve Phillips, Myrtle Point’s general manager and Canadian Professional Golf Association (CPGA) member, the Les Furber-designed course wintered well.
“We had a fairly good winter,” said Phillips. “Apart from the green on 18, which had a little bit of disease, everything is in really good shape.”
The club is also in good shape financially, according to Dave Craigen, who enters his third year as chairman of the club’s board of directors.
“We’re getting new members,” said Craigen. “We’ve made some significant reconstruction of our finance program and that’s given us great operating cashflow.”
For several years Myrtle Point has worked toward financial stability.
According to Craigen, the club’s operating expenses can now be covered with annual cashflow from revenue generated through memberships and green fees, which have not increased this year.
Other playing options are available for couples, seniors, limited members, juniors and youth. Craigen said the board is strategically planning to attract new members in the 20 to 40 age demographic who are juggling other activities and budgets.
“Golf isn’t the cheapest game,” said Craigen.
The club is looking at different programs to maintain the financial sustainability the club has achieved, he said.
“We’re allowing members to bring in juniors aged 13 to 18 at reduced fees that would get young people involved,” said Craigen. “Those are the future members of the club.”
Phillips has new community programs to introduce newcomers to the game. The clubhouse features two CPGA members; Phillips and new associate professional Kelvin Trott.
“Having the right teacher is key because you don’t want people to get involved in the game and walk away because you think you’re no good at it,” said Craigen.
To that end, he added, Myrtle Point has an executive length course, which was accomplished by shortening the fairways, especially for beginners.
By breaking even last year, money has been invested back into the club.
“With a board decision this year, we were able to get a once-in-a-lifetime deal on 30 gas-powered golf carts that were only four years old,” said Phillips.
Carts at Myrtle Point were aging and putting money into repairs did not make sense. With the new fleet, the club also underwent cart path upgrades.
Myrtle Point’s 7,000-yard course record is a 63, shot by Powell River’s Dan Dupuis in 1999 at the Malaspina Open. Greg Poa matched that score at the BC Junior Boys’ Championship in 2005.
Phillips does not think the record will be broken anytime soon.
“It’s a great test of a track,” he said. “It offers all kinds of challenges for any level of golf, and nine under par is good anywhere in the world.”
Other than the annual Malaspina Amateur tournament on June 25 and 26, the club will not hosting any other major tournaments in 2016. However, in 2017, Myrtle Point will host the BC Golf Association’s Men’s Senior Championship.
For more information, go to myrtlepointgolf.com.