On Saturday, September 12, the Bowen Island Golf Association held its annual fundraising tournament and dinner. More than 80 players and 100 diners enjoyed perfect weather, a great Cup Cutter meal, and the live and silent auctions.
Living on an island with a small population, there are public amenities we just can’t afford. It was long believed that a golf course was one of them. But for almost 10 years our beautiful nine-hole gem has offered islanders a great golf experience, and attracted many new visitors.
One of the things golfers appreciate about our course is that it’s relatively quiet. It’s not hard to get a tee time, and you often find your group is almost alone — no one ahead to slow you down, no one behind pushing you.
It’s the ideal golf experience, and it’s very rare.
But this great experience comes with a downside, because running a golf club is expensive. Annual budget shortfalls have always been the norm. The green fees — set at a reasonable level to encourage public participation — are not adequate to cover the operating costs of a first-class golf facility. And necessary equipment costs, such as a new $30,000 aeration machine, can quickly create an even bigger budget hole.
An amenity open to all, our public golf course was created by the sheer force of will of Bruce Russell and an incredibly hard-working team of volunteers. And the course still relies largely on volunteerism and the generosity of its members for its continued survival.
Although the Pro Shop is professionally-managed, and the grounds are maintained by paid employees, all organizational work is done on a volunteer basis by the board, committees, members and friends of The Bowen Island Golf Association. This includes the administration and financial management of the course, and the planning of all tournaments and events, and the coordination of the Pro Shop and restaurant operations.
The experience of golfing and dining at the Bowen Island Golf Club has never been better. The Pro Shop operations were taken over this year by the Monaghan Golf management company, which runs similar operations in a number of other Lower Mainland courses. Glenn Cormier, of the Bowen Island Pub, is again running the very popular Cup Cutter restaurant, with manager Frank Patt and his team.
And in spite of the drought, groundskeeper Frank Griffiths and his crew have kept the course in top shape.
The club’s catchment reservoir, the only source of water, is living up to its design promise, and will make it through the summer.
But… we always need to raise more money. Thanks to the tireless fundraising of Bruce Russell, and tournament organizer Heather Coulthart’s stellar management skills, this year’s fundraiser exceeded its target, raising an estimated $33,000.
As usual, Bruce tapped into his vast network of personal and corporate friends and many Bowen Islanders stepped up with $300 each for Joint Hole Sponsorships. Mulligans and scotch-tasting tickets were generously purchased on the day, as were opportunities to join the “shoot-out” after the tournament.
Oh, and yes, there was a golf competition. The winning team, with a score of 4 under par, were Kathy and Peter Clark, David Bellringer, and Rob Purdy.
BIGA thanks everyone who donated, or contributed items to the auctions, and special thanks to our ace auctioneer Dale Hewitt. And a very big thank you to James Presnail from Monaghan golf, and his Pro Shop team Sarah Graham and Terry Boss; and Glenn Cormier, Frank Patt and the Cup Cutter staff - Cheri Netzlaw, Suzy Casillio, Natasha Vaz, Patty Pasternak, and Bjorn Vik.
A great time was had by all, and most importantly our fabulous public golf course will make ends meet for another year.