Pine Valley Draws Community Support
Prince George, B.C. – Support for the Pine Valley Golf Course is so strong among golfers and non-golfers, business people and politicians that organizers of this weekend’s second Rally For The Valley Open Golf Tournament added a second shotgun start to accommodate an unexpectedly large number of entrants.
Friends of Pine Valley was formed nine years ago to save the golf course for the community and keep it open for future generations. They’re hosting today’s tournament as part of the effort to continue raising public awareness of the course and encourage involvement. And the effort certainly appears to be having the desired effect.
Chair Don Chamberlain says “we’ve got 132 entries. We were going to limit it to 90 but we’ve had some overwhelming response so we opened up a morning shotgun as well as an afternoon one. So we have 11 groups in the morning and 18 in the afternoon.”
The morning start is at 9 am, afternoon at 1 pm and Chamberlain says they had to cut off entries at 1pm Thursday “because we wanted to be organized, like we’ve all been scrambling to get more prizes and food and stuff.”
Chamberlain believes one of the main reasons for the strong interest this year “is because the contractor has now got a 5-year contract, so there is some stability. And, as a group, our representatives have met with the consultants that the city’s hired to look at refurbishing the irrigation system and realigning some of the golf holes and hopefully fixing up Pine Valley to make it a class place again, maybe even add a driving range. So the consultant’s working on that and we’ve been passing that information along to people, so they are very interested.”
He points to another sign of interest in the course. “We’ve got 38 hole sponsors this year, that’s up about 20, which is really good. And we’ve even got three city councillors and the mayor that have sponsored a hole each. Hole sponsors donate us a hundred dollars in goods or services or cash and we’re really pleased that three councillors have come forward, Councilor McConnachie and Everitt and Krause, and Mayor Lyn Hall. So the four of them have put up funds to help us with the tournament.”
There are three hole-in-one sponsors, up from two last year, contributing $10,000 for an ace on #18, a two-year car lease valued at $10,000 on #16 and air tickets for two to anywhere in mainland North America on the fifth hole. And there are some great door prizes being awarded following the golfing and lots of other prizes as well.
Chamberlain says it’s great to see the public and business community support of the group’s effort. “Absolutely and they have been from the start and now, with a five-year contract, I think more and more folks are saying let’s get out and use the course. And that’s what I said last time we had the tournament, I said get your friends, even your enemies to come and use the golf course, we gotta get people out to use it and the city will keep it.”
“And we’re really encouraged the city is doing this study to look at how we can make it better. Like I pointed out to the consultants, ten or eleven of the golf holes are all about the same length within ten yards of each other so can we do something and they said absolutely. So they’re going to look at that.” That report is expected to go to City Council at the end of summer, to which Chamberlain adds “you know the group’s put nine years into this and so hopefully things will come to fruition.”
“It’s been amazing that we’ve got tons and tons of folks supporting retaining Pine Valley and they’re not even golfers, so that’s been right from that rally that we had a few years ago we’ve had tons and tons of support.”
“You know one of the things that we’ve said for years is that land and the land that the Prince George Golf and Curling Club sits on, and the land that they’ve sold to some car dealerships, was all airport before and it was supposed to stay as recreational land forever. And so they’ve gradually eroded it but city councils can apparently, well I’ve been told, they can do that if they want to and I’m saying well we’re not taking anymore you guys, we’re gonna fight you to the end.”
Back to the tournament, Chamberlain says everyone gets a prize, there will be low Gross and low Net based on the Callaway system. The top ten golfers will get to choose first and then after that we’ll draw names, so everyone will leave with a prize.”
Dinner and prize presentations will be around 5 o’clock and there’s also a 50/50 putting contest. Putt the ball in the hole and you get a ticket and at the end there will be a draw with proceeds split between the winner and the Friends of Pine Valley, for use in the cause.
One final note on just how widespread the support of the Pine Valley course is in the community. Chamberlain says “we went to Aspen Grove, Aberdeen and we went to the Prince George Golf and Curling Club to see if they would donate, and they’ve all come through with prizes for us. They know, you see, that Pine Valley feeds all of them.”
“And it goes full circle, right, because us old guys go back there when we can’t hit the ball over the lake at the Golf and Curling Club course anymore, we go back to Pine Valley.”