Gord’s Alberta Golf Notes: Volume 1

By Gord Montgomery, Senior Writer, Inside Golf

It’s going to be a busy season on the Alberta golf scene in 2024 and that is highlighted by two major events. The biggest of the pair will be on the LPGA circuit when the CKPC Women’s Open tees things up in Calgary. The entire event, including the 72-hole tourney featuring the best women golfers in the world, will take place at the Earl Grey GC on July 22-28, 2024. Tickets are available by phone at 1-800-571-6736 (OPEN), Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The second major event to hit the green grass in Alberta will feature up-and-coming stars as the Innisfail Golf Club hosts the Canadian Junior Boys Championship. While this club is set in small-town Alberta (population in 2021 was 7,985), the course these young guns will take on is anything but small. The layout features 27 holes that will test the skill and patience of all those taking part, no matter which 18 they take on. The four-day, 72-hole event will run on August 13-16, 2024, and feature a total of 156 golfers to begin with before the cut after two days. This will mark the first time in its history that the Innisfail course will host any national championship staged by Golf Canada.

Although not quite on the scale of the previous two events, another major championship, this time for provincial honours, will be taking place at the esteemed Red Deer G&CC. The ladies will again take centre stage for the Alberta Women’s Amateur Championship running July 2-4, 2024. This marks the 110th anniversary of the playing of this championship and the fourth time it will take place at the host site, the last being in 2017.

One of the more interesting tournaments to hit the fairways this coming summer will be the Alberta Golf Adaptive Championship to be played in Sherwood Park at the Broadmoor GC on August 6-8, 2024. The event plays host to players with different types of disabilities but that doesn’t mean they can’t play at a high level. In 2023, I had the pleasure of interviewing the eventual champion, Kiefer Jones from Calgary, a legally blind golfer. His story of a heartbreaking disease that caused him to lose the majority of his sight and leave the golf world, to the exhilaration of finding his love for the game again is a triumph of the human spirit. If you get the chance, stop by and watch him as well as the other players show off their skills in a game where a handicap isn’t just a number on a card.

The members of Team Canada that were recently announced include Alberta golfers on both the professional and the amateur side of the coin. On the pro side, Brendan MacDougall from Calgary and Max Sekulic from Rycroft were among the 14 players named. On the amateur side, Brady McKinley from Lacombe was the lone Albertan named to the squad. Two coaches from Alberta will be on hand: Jennifer Ha from Calgary and Darcy Dillon from Red Deer will join the crew as assistant coaches.

While some golf courses in the province got an early start to the 2024 season, notably Henderson Lake and Paradise Canyon in Lethbridge, layouts in the north-central area weren’t quite as lucky. Despite some Edmonton area courses hoping to open for play on April 5, 2024, which is quite early for that part of the province, wet snow and cooler-than-normal temperatures halt early-season play. The same system that laid a glancing blow on the Edmonton area also walloped the southern part of the province, shutting down courses everywhere. Warmer temps and no snow in the long-range forecast are seeing some courses opening their doors this week to welcome players for what they hope is a long, and enjoyable golf season.