You would never think that teeing a golf ball off of a Mayor’s crotch would get you a return invite to anywhere. That was certainly not the case from our experience last summer in Inuvik. The Honourable Mayor Denny Rodgers was our special guest at a Todd Keirstead golf clinic and Golf With Attitude trick shot show that we put on during a visit last summer. Little did he suspect that he would become the highlight of the show!
I know that we had a very receptive audience that evening and I suspect the Mayor himself must of thought it was a pretty good show as Todd has been invited back for a return visit this coming June to perform for the 500 or so participants of the Inuvik Petroleum Show. This annual 2 day trade show and conference is held every year in Inuvik and is a must attend for anyone in the oil and gas industry.
There is already a 3-hole golf course in Inuvik and the plans are in place to add another 6 holes to go along with the driving range and practice facility.
It just so happens that as the Inuvik Conference winds down the weekend of the Midnight Classic is just gearing up in Yellowknife. So the Traveling Golfer/Golf With Attitude road show just moves a few hours south in the Territories.
The Midnight Classic is a great annual event that traditionally sells out well in advance. 240 people generally participate in this around the clock event. It is not your traditional golf round, after all, how many places in the world can you play in a golf tournament that starts at the stroke of midnight!?!
This is not just your average joe that participates in this event, there have been people from the media all across Canada in addition to some of Canada’s elite and Hall of Fame golfers that have ventured up for the event. Nine time LPGA Champion Sandra Post has been there, amateur champion Doug Roxburgh, former PGA Tour players Dave Barr and Bob Panasik to name a few. In fact last year Barr shot a 69 on the course that’s short on grass but long on dust and sand.
The Yellowknife Golf Club is different than what most of us are used too! Still 18 holes, but the fairways are sand and the greens are artificial turf with real grass only around the collars of the greens. The course has a real layout, with defined fairways, some doglegs, and even the greens have a few different pin positions so that the members don’t get bored. It plays about 6,200 yards from the men’s tees. There are a couple of water hazards on the course, as well as a few bunkers. Believe it or not you can post a score for your handicap if that is important to you, for men from the black tees the course has a rating of 70.6 and slope of 121 and from the red tees 67.4 and 115. For women, black 76.6 and 134, and red 73.0 and 124 respectively. There are a couple of hazards that you do have to watch out for; mosquitoes are rumoured to be a big as a small bird and there is an abundance of large ravens the size of turkeys that have a propensity for swooping down onto the course and picking up golf balls.
There is one thing that is really different about playing here. Even though you are playing on sand fairways you always have a perfect lie. An integral part of you equipment here is an approximately 12” X 8” piece of turf that you partially bury into the sand and this is where you play your ball from once you have left the tee box. There is no roll to your shot, once it lands it pretty much sends a puff of dust into the air and stops dead. If bump and roll is part of your game…forget about it!
The greens are a fair size for being artificial but getting the balls to stop on them is a challenge that is not handled well by most. Better practice chipping from those grass collars. CPGA Head Pro Gordon Brayton says this is what makes the Yellowknife Golf Course, the northern-most 18 hole course in the country, so demanding, so intriguing and yes, so much fun to play.
“The impression is that it’s a cold place and it’s cold all year long,” said Brayton. “That’s wrong. In the summer it’s dry, it’s like a desert. We do get a little rain now and then, but it’s dry here. Temperatures here are generally around 30 degrees Celsius. I don’t sell rain gear, I don’t sell umbrellas” Brayton added.
The Yellowknife Golf Club now has a modern pro shop with many of the goodies that we find in pro shops around the world. But make sure that you get someone to point out the first club house which is still visible from the course and old DC-3 fuselage that members hauled onto some smooth Precambrian rock. http://www.yellowknifegolf.com/default.aspx
Anyone looking for a Stay and Play experience of a lifetime…c’mon get it off your buck list http://www.yellowknifegolf.com/OfInterest/TravelAccomodations/tabid/130/Default.aspx
By: Todd Keirstead