Well hard to believe another golf season has come and gone in Whistler. Time to take a look back on the hi-lites from the season.
The pre- season started off with the little thing called the Winter Olympics. The Clubhouse was transformed into Alberta House during the winter Olympics and Saskatchewan House during the Paralympics. ” Carrying the torch through downtown Whistler is something I will never forget” said Alan Kristmanson, GM at the Whistler Golf Club. “It was very special having the torch here and it really got the resort excited for the games to come”
It was great to see the village so alive during the games. The Resort was a star and nothing but great feedback came from the visitors from around the world. Your bloggers favorite venue was the Sliding Centre. The events there were electric and no one will soon forget John Montgomery’s stroll through the village.
The warm weather in February brought ice to the valley and work went underway late February to remove the 4-6 inches of ice from the greens. ” We didn’t get the snow coverage we typically get in the valley and that left us open to ice build up. The team did a great job of getting it off to limit the damage to the greens” Superintendent Dave Gottselig said. Although the course opened up with the greens not in normal Spring condition, the crew worked tirelessly to get them back in shape for the peak of the season.
The end of the Olympics brought us to Spring and the rebuilding of the Practice Facility which was used as a parking lot during the games. “Our goal was to make it a place where you can work on all aspects of your game” Alan said. “We think we accomplished that and feedback on the facility was amazing. The Grand Opening saw numerous Nike product given away to our guests and free lessons and club fitting from our CPGA Teaching Professionals. Our guests now enjoy and expanded putting green, a full chipping green and enlarged practice bunker, short game area and 5 target greens for full swing practice.
Our season started with a great group of students for our 5 session clinics. Lessons were taught on course as the Practice Facility was under construction. The students loved it! We will now include more on course lessons with our group instruction. “We loved being over at the course” one student said. “It makes us more comfortable when we come over and play for real. The bear that kept coming by to watch us was a bonus too! I think he was laughing at us”
Although May and June weren’t the best weather months in Whistler’s history, that didn’t deter the Passholders and guests from hitting the links. “We had a great group of passholders and loyal customers this year” Ro Davies, Sales Manager said. “Total rounds played for the season remained strong despite the challenging weather season. By mid June the course was in great shape and word started to spread.”
Group and Tournament rounds remained strong with the hilights being the Squamish Nations Tournament and the Canadian Olympic Committe tournament. ” The Native culture exhibits that were on display at the course we fantastic” Ro said. ” Noone can believe the Olympic Archer who can shoot the arrow to 6 inches to the pin from 160 yards! Both events were amazing this year.” “Whether it was large corporate events described above or small groups of 16 friends the playability and service of the course was often mentioned by our guests.
The Apres Party for one of Whistler’s “Twoonie Race” was a huge success. Once a week Whistler’s Mountain bikers kick in a twoonie each and hit the Whistler singletrack for a race followed by a sponsored Apres party in partnership with Summit Sports. The Whistler Golf Club has become the “party of the year” with live music from Brother Twang, adult beverages and prizes galore. The valet bike parking on the first tee is a sight to see.
The Canada Day parade saw the Whistler Golf Club win ” most Innovative Approach to a Sustainable Float” . The Club used two of its electric carts and all decorations used were recyclable. The caterpillar and lady bugs were a hit with the kids.
The Whistler Golf Club was honored to host the BCPGA Championship this year. “There is nothing better than having the best players in the Province play your course under tournament conditions” Alan said. The course received rave reviews from the players as the greens were perfect for the event. Congratulations to Doug Morgan from the Redwoods who took home first place with a 54 hole score of 7 under par.
Numerous weddings were held at the Club this year with no rain outs!! “Our venue of 50-150 along with our reasonably priced wedding packages allow couples a to have a great outdoor wedding venue combined with an awesome reception venue- all in the heart of Whistler” Ro said. We have some great phtotos from our weddings this year but none better than the shot with the bear visiting the wedding.
Speaking of bears it was a great year for bear sightings at the Whistler Golf Club. Due to the heavy snow this winter the bears were in the valley early and stayed all year. ” We’ve worked hard to create a natural environment for the bears” Dave said. “By not cutting back the natural berry bushes and letting our natural areas grow up the bears visit us for the right reasons.” Although they don’t help pace of play a lot, the bears”play through” a lot and the guests love seeing them.
July and August saw our Nike Junior Golf Schools kick into full gear. ” We had a good mix of returning students and new students” CPGA Professional Duncan Savage said. “They all raved about the new Practice Facility and they all improved a lot during the week” Students worked on all aspects of their game in the morning with video analysis, followed by lunch the 9 holes of golf daily. Our High Performance schools saw the students play 18 holes everyday.
One of the most talked about additions to the golf operation this year was the electric beverage cart. ” This made such a difference to the on course experience” Alan said. The cart is so quiet compared to the gas cart you can barely hear it coming. This allows our staff to get around the course faster without bothering the guests while they are playing. Crabbapple Corner (1/2 way hut) is known for having the best hot dog in Whistler and sales of 5000 hot dogs on solidified that reputation. Click here to have one made for you!
Every month our staff eagerly awaits our Guest Survey results and once again our service staff did us proud. Our overall satisfaction index score this year was 89.4% with 97% of guests saying they would recommend our facility to others. As always we look to implement guests comments into our service strategies moving forward. “Pace of Play is the number one comment we received in years past and we’ve worked hard at it” Alan said. “We are very proud of our 90% score on pace of play from our surveys” We aren’t perfect yet but I’m commited to putting the resources need to ensure timely play as in the end everyone’s time is valuable and there is no reason that rounds should be above 4:15 minutes here.”
Thanks to all our guests for a great season. Enjoy your winter season in Whistler. We will continue to listen to your feedback to strive to provide the most playable, accessible and fun golf experience we can.
Happy skiing and riding everyone!