Changes May Be on the Way at Pine Valley
Prince George, B.C. – The course dried out beautifully in the wake of the late-week rainstorm, just in time for the Rally for the Valley Open Tournament Saturday at Pine Valley.
The goal of the Friends of Pine Valley organizers was simple: continue the campaign stressing the need for the facility in Prince George and get people out golfing on the par three course.
Committee chair Don Chamberlain was thrilled that the event drew 137 entrants, way up from the original target of 90. “Really positive,” says Chamberlain “I just can’t believe how much support we’ve got from the community for our golfers and sponsorships, and thanks to the sun gods too, an absolutely gorgeous day and we couldn’t ask for anything better.”
“We even had folks scrambling trying to get registered this (Saturday) morning and we had to turn a couple away but we’ve done our best. We got twelve groups out in the morning, which is a shotgun start that we didn’t anticipate putting in and we got eighteen groups in the afternoon, all the holes (were) full.”
Chamberlain says with the display of interest there is a possibility of expanding the tournament next year. “We’ve already discussed that a little bit and we’re looking at probably running a full morning and a full afternoon. We can maybe sneak some people in between that, but we don’t want to crowd it up. People had a superb experience last year and we want them to have a superb experience.”
“The whole idea here is to get people to use Pine Valley Golf course. That’s why we have the tournament, we want to keep it in perpetuity. The more we use this golf course the better because that tells our city council and the city administration and the taxpayers that this place is worthwhile keeping.”
Chamberlain notes that the green fees at Pine Valley are very reasonable, eighteen holes can be played in two hours if you want to, juniors and seniors like the course because it’s flat, there are no water hazards to mess people up and only a few small bunkers and anyone can walk it. “We’ve got golfers as old as 93 that play here on a regular basis and we’ve had some dads out here with 3-year-old kids, teaching them how to golf.”
He says his group would like to see a driving range put in, if the city can see its way to do that. Where might it be located? “It’s hard to say,” he says “they’re looking at several locations, I guess the consultants are doing that now. It might be down where hole 9 and 1 are right now but we’re not sure. They could reconfigure lots of things.”
“The city’s got land that’s on the back side of the golf course against John McInnis school there. The fence was in the wrong place for probably twenty or thirty years, so they’ve got a piece of land there. There’s lots of ways to expand this area if they want to and they could put a driving range just about anywhere, but we want it near our clubhouse of course.”
“I’ve no idea what the consultants are going to come up with because the number one issue is irrigation, and that’s got to get taken care of.” He adds the consultants are also going to come up with some ideas to add some variety to the many similar holes.
“And we planted over five thousand seedlings here and three hundred trees about 2 ½, 3 feet high about five or six years ago and so its going to infill. I wouldn’t want to be golfing here in twenty years because you’re going to have a heck of a time if you get into the trees.”
Mayor Lyn Hall, who put up some money to sponsor one of the holes for the tournament, says that’s a display of his interest in preserving the course. “I think it is, I’ve been a strong supporter and proponent of the Pine Valley Golf course for a very long time and I think it just meets a need in our community, and what a beautiful setting. So I just felt if I can sponsor a hole I’m more than prepared to do that.”
Hall says “I think the support around the community is widespread and specifically from young kids who are maybe just wanting to get out and play golf on a smaller par-3 course. The seniors, the Special Olympics use this course so it meets a lot of need in the city and I’m very supportive of it.”