Golf community faces annual fight for survival

The Bowen Island Golf Club is not just a place to play golf.  For members and non-members alike,  our public golf course is a social centre.  The community of golfers that has grown over the eleven years the course has existed brings together people from all walks of island life, and from all parts of our socio-economic spectrum.  On the clubhouse deck, it is not unusual to see retired titans of commerce having a beer with young construction workers.  They start out with a love of golf in common, then find that they can converse and connect in other ways.  

At the many social tournaments throughout the year, couples meet and create friendships that extend beyond golf. My wife and I arrived on Bowen from Vancouver six years ago.  We now have many more friends and acquaintances here than we did in Vancouver after 20 years, and almost all of them have been made at the golf course.  It’s quite common to hear people say that if there was no golf club, they might leave the island.  The importance of feeling like part of a community can’t be understated, particularly as we age. 

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But this gem of a social club faces the question of its survival every year. It costs more to operate the course than is taken in from membership and golf fees.  We don’t receive money from any other sources. So we end the year with a substantial deficit, and need to raise additional funds to cover the loss. We do this with an annual fundraising tournament, which this year takes place on September 16th. Called “From Tee to Shining Tee,” it will celebrate Canada’s 150th with a 9-hole scramble followed by a great buffet dinner, and live and silent auctions - the most fun you can have on a golf course this year. 

Our golf club was created by a group of dedicated volunteers, and that’s largely still how it’s run.  The Pro Shop staff are employees of Monaghan Golf, a management company we contract out to; and the grounds staff are paid employees. But the overall management and much of the organization of events and tournaments are still done by volunteers. Equipment is all bought second-hand, and used as long as it’s humanly possible to keep it running.  As a result, we have the lowest possible overhead. But we still have a significant operating loss each year.

So our September 16th fundraiser is critical to our survival.  We urge everyone who uses the club, or just cares that it continues to exist, to think about contributing. If you’re a golfer, please sign up for the event through our Pro Shop - proshop@bowengolf.com, 604-947-4653.  If you can’t attend, or don’t golf, you can donate a Joint Hole Sponsorship for $300, or a Patron contribution of $50 or more.    All contributors will be recognized on prominent signs at the event, and in an ad in the Undercurrent the following week.

Our public golf course has become an integral part of Bowen’s rich social fabric.  Please help us keep it going.

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