Long winter delays tee-off for new P.E.I. golf season

Jason Malloy jmalloy@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on April 11, 2014
Spring golf
Guardian photo

It looks like golfers will have to wait a few more weeks before getting out for their first rounds of the season at Prince Edward Island courses.

While some courses opened around this time last year, the snow and ice on local courses will prevent that from happening for a while.

“We’re probably three weeks behind, but we’re optimistic for the first week of May,” said Ron MacNeill, Prince Edward Island Golf Association executive director. “If we get a good week of south winds, warm rain and some warmer evenings it can change quite dramatically.”

After a lengthy winter, golfers are anxiously watching the weather forecast.

“People are salivating to get out there and play golf at this time of the year,” MacNeill said.

The first tournament of the season is May 12 with the King of Clubs Senior Men’s Tour at Anderson Creek and the senior women starting in Avondale.

The senior men’s tour, which has spring and fall sections, includes 12 tournaments culminating Oct. 6 at Countryview. The tour is open to men 55 years and older.

The senior women’ program has nine events on this year’s tour, which has been growing during the past several years. It is open to women 50 years and older.

The men’s players’ series awards points based on finishes at eight tournaments. Accumulated points are used to determine the player of the year as well as exemptions into Golf Canada’s national championships.

A highlight of the golf year is the Island Coastal Amateur Golf Championship scheduled for July 5 and 6 at Summerside.

“This year the amateur will be used to select the team that will represent P.E.I. at the new Atlantic championship that will be held at Bell Bay in Cape Breton in August,” MacNeill said. “Twenty players in six divisions will be awarded spots on our team.”

The competitive golf season will conclude with the Abegweit Outfitting Match Play Championship at Glasgow Hills on Oct. 4 and 5.

“In addition to the programs offered by the association our member courses have a full calendar of tournaments for players,” MacNeill added.

A key priority for the association is junior golf. The association’s provincial golf coach, CPGA. professional Dallas Desjardins, oversees a number of programs targeted to juniors of all ages including, golf in schools, the CN Future Links program and the Holland College junior order of merit tour.

The tour is a summer-long program of 11 junior tournaments, which allows boys and girls to develop their competitive skills throughout the province. The first tournament takes place on June 8 at the Eagles Glenn golf course in Cavendish.

The association represents 19 courses on the Island and nearly 3,000 recreational and competitive golfers.