As 2020 comes to close I want to reach out to you all and thank you for your support through what was a difficult year for everyone! This year will be one that no one will forget any time soon, if ever, especially here in Minnedosa. From a global pandemic to catastrophic flooding and everything in between, 2020 was full of challenges.
After a delayed start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season began on May 4th, 2020 for almost every golf course in Manitoba. All courses hitting the ground running on the same day is something we will probably never see again. With restrictions in place we were thrilled to be able to open our doors and offer people a much needed outlet during unprecedented times in our world. Golfers flocked to the Minnedosa Golf & Country Club like we had never seen before. Everyone was thrilled to be out of the house and with provincial travel still restricted, many people stayed around home this year rather than travel to other destinations out of province or country.
We were unable to conduct some events the way we have in the past due to COVID-19 restrictions and some of our bigger events such as the RFM Par 3 had to be scrapped completely to ensure the health and safety of the public. However, we were able to conduct events via tee time and saw record numbers for all June events. We also saw the addition of the RBC PGA Scramble Qualifier in Minnedosa this season which brought golfers from all over the province to contend for a spot in the Provincial Championships. While this event and others were marred by restrictions, we were happy to be operating at all and thrilled with traffic levels to begin 2020.
While the season was off and running there once again was very little precipitation coming our way leading to some strain on the course that needed to be corrected. In what would turn out to be typical of 2020, we got precipitation, 14 inches of it, all at once. On June 28th the rain began to fall heavily in the evening and did not let up. In the early morning hours of June 29th the Little Saskatchewan River flowed over our dikes and onto and already saturated golf course. With run off water coming down the valley from all directions across the golf course, all we could do was move to higher ground and watch as cart paths washed onto fairways, bridges floated 150 yards from their original home, and water created new paths at the expense of our golf course.
The golf course closed completely for 10 days in the middle of our prime season. On July 8th we were able to get the back nine reopened and golfers could see just how damaging the flood event was even to our back nine which is elevated 100+ feet above the front nine and the river itself. With nine holes in play we trudged on through the 2020 season. Our grounds crew got to work immediately pumping water from the course, overseeding, repairing bunkers, cart paths, and many other damaged areas all while maintaining the rest of the course which was growing at a rapid rate. Their efforts this year cannot be put into words, it was truly remarkable what they accomplished given the hand that they were dealt. After exactly 2 months of repair and regrowth we were able to reopen all 18 holes on August 28th.
Those 2 months were the most challenging of my career but I am proud that our team was able to work through it and completed all the events that we had planned, in a modified form. We made the best of the situation we had while still maintaining public health as a priority, don’t forget about the global pandemic! 2020 was given many one word descriptions such as uncertain, challenging, disastrous or other more vulgar descriptors. I would like to think our year at Minnedosa Golf & Country Club could be summed up in another word, perseverance.
The season concluded with a full golf course for the final 7 weeks and great fall weather which provided a small bright spot in the golf season. Even though masks became the new normal, we saw a great amount of rounds played in September and we once again ran our Free Golf campaign in October to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. This year we were able to raise $855 for cancer research by offering free golf with a donation to the Cancer Society. This is always an enjoyable way to cap off the season in Minnedosa.
Outside of the exciting events 2020 had to offer in the valley, I was able to continue with junior golf programs not only in Minnedosa but in Glenboro & Pleasant Valley this summer. Although many of the programs I had planned for the spring were thwarted by COVID-19, I was able to work in some junior programs safely and numbers were never higher. This too was an encouraging aspect of 2020, the future of golf is bright if we can continue to nurture the growth of junior golf.
The highlight of my summer however came during Dylan Thornborough & I’s 9th annual Marathon Monday fundraiser event. COVID-19 once again made this event challenging and forced us to become creative with how to conduct the event. We wanted to host our second Sunday Funday tournament for the public to enjoy but restrictions did not allow us to do this as we envisioned. So we took the event virtual in a sense and challenged golfers to fundraise on their own and play as much golf as they could at their home course in the name of the Canadian Cancer Society. The response was humbling. By the time our supporters were done and Dylan & I’s Marathon Monday concluded we had raised a record $16,140 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Dylan even managed to beat me after our 210 hole Monday match, another strange thing to happen in 2020.
The final months of the year, post golf season, have once again been dominated by lockdowns and pandemic talk and it is very easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of this year. However, I encourage everyone to take time and focus on all the good that has happened this year. Such as the residents of Minnedosa banding together to help one another in so many different ways during the 2020 flood. That in itself was more amazing to me than the scope of the flood itself. Heartwarming moments like this were plentiful in 2020, so lets focus on the positive!!
I will not miss 2020, but it may be the best year for my family yet. Nicole & I welcomed our first child mid-December which wraps up the year in the best possible way. Despite everything this year threw our way, holding our healthy, happy son made 2020 beyond comparable. So as we flip the calendar to 2021, I would like to wish everyone all the best in the New Year from my newly expanded family to yours. I cannot wait for what this year has in store for us all.