Calgarians Step Up In Big Way To Fill Vacant Positions

By Gord Montgomery, Senior Writer, Inside Golf

CALGARY, Alberta — When Albertans need help, it’s never far away no matter what the issue. Case in point: volunteers filling in spots left open in preparation for the 2024 LPGA championship in Calgary at the Earl Grey Golf Club.

In fact, the response to the Help Wanted social media post put out by Golf Canada for more volunteers on February 29 was so overwhelming that there is now a waiting list. That release stated that “the volunteer program is 95 percent full.” That deficit has now been met and surpassed.

“We are actually 100 over what they needed. We’re at 1,300 right now and what they needed was 1,200 (volunteers),” explained the host club’s head professional Pat Wilmot. “In fact, there’s a current waitlist.”

As always is the case for a host site, the members at Earl Grey stepped up big time to lend a hand. “I don’t have that information as it’s all done through Golf Canada but I know it was overwhelmingly positive right off the hop,” continued Wilmot about his club’s members stepping forward to help. “We got to 800 pretty well right off the bat. We could offer access to our members first and then the public and there was obviously a lot of interest with Calgary being such a charitable city. We hit those numbers; I think we hit it at the quickest Golf Canada has ever seen volunteer levels, so kudos to the city of Calgary and our members and everyone involved.”

The bid process for Earl Grey GC to host began a few years back, Wilmot said, and since it was Alberta’s turn to host the LPGA in 2024, the club went after the event. “Every four years, they like to be back in the prairies and the process was probably a two- to three-year window that we’ve been working on this. “

What the ladies will find at the host site is a tree-lined, old-style parkland golf course that demands accuracy off the tee and a hot putter. Wilmot figures the yardages will range from 6,500 to 6,800 yards depending on the day. The course sits alongside the Elbow River/Glenmore Reservoir but water isn’t a major obstacle here, with only three holes having such a hazard. The greens are not overly undulating, but “tricky at most times,” he noted.

“At our club championship, you don’t see too many scores under par, but these are the best in the world so I’d expect them to play well here. If we get a calm day, they should be able to go relatively low. But if the wind picks up, it can be very tricky with it being tree-lined and the wind can swirl here. I think the key will be them hitting fairways.”

As for the mantle this old beauty will wear as the host site, Wilmot noted his membership is thrilled with what lies ahead this coming July.

“Extremely proud to not only represent Earl Grey but also to represent Calgary on an international stage. For a club of our history to finally be put on the map and seen at the level we see ourselves, I think it was a long time coming for what the golf course is and what the members have built it to be. It’s extremely exciting but I think it’s more so the city of Calgary getting to be more exposed on that international level.”

The CPKC Women’s Open tees off in Calgary at the Earl Grey GC from July 22 through July 28.