Kelowna Golf and Country Club ready for the season

Built in 1920, the Kelowna Golf and Country is the oldest golf course in Kelowna and the only semi-private facility. This year will see the start of a capital plan to make some changes to the traditional city course. - Contributed
Built in 1920, the Kelowna Golf and Country is the oldest golf course in Kelowna and the only semi-private facility. This year will see the start of a capital plan to make some changes to the traditional city course.
— image credit: Contributed

The Kelowna Golf and Country Club kicks off a new golf season this year with an increased membership, a healthy waiting list and a capital plan for improvements to Kelowna's oldest golf course.

Built in 1920, the KGCC is in the second year of a long term course improvement plan that will see some substantial changes over the next 10 years including more length, more bunkers and some changes to certain holes and greens.

"We're all pretty excited about the changes," said KGCC general manager David Walker. "We've hired an architect to put together a master plan for the golf course. We're looking at some pretty substantial changes over the next seven to 10 years."

While the look and feel of the course will remain in that traditional feel, Walker says it was time to add some length in certain areas to the 6,300 yard course and bring a few holes more in line with the feel of the entire tree-lined course.

"We'll be keeping the same layout but doing things like relocating trees, maybe adding some bunkers or taking some out, slightly renovating greens," he explained. "We want to give the golf course a consistent feel. We'll be environmentally conscious. There are some areas that we can naturalize that we don't have to maintain and we may look at some changing of the type of grass that we seed with in these more natural areas."

The KGCC is a semi-private course that boasts a membership of just over 800 voting members. When you throw in the junior and intermediate members as well as folks who are on the membership waiting list, that number swells to 1,400.

"Our membership is extremely healthy," said Walker. "I would say we are bucking the trend in the country and certainly in the province."

This off-season the KGCC held an aggressive recruitment campaign to increase its intermediate members, those golfers in the 19 to 30-year-old age bracket. Previously the course had a healthy junior membership as well as those over 30, but featured only a half-dozen members in the 19 to 30 range. Now that number sits at 50 with another 30 on the waiting list.

"We looked at our regular membership and we didn't have anyone who was going from junior to regular membership so we had to find a way to get them involved and make the transition from junior to regular easier," said Walker. "We dropped the price considerably and extended the age of our intermediate membership from 20 to 30."

As always the KGCC will have a healthy tournament schedule this year. Here is a look at the tournaments coming up for the 2012 season.

Junior Open / Closed  -  May 12

Ladies Member / Guest  -  May 24

VIPOND Charity Golf Classic  -  June 1

Senior Mens Invitational  -  June 7 & 8

Ogopogo Invitational  -  July 12, 13 & 14

Ladies Charity Tournament - July 26

Walter Gretzky CNIB Golf Classic - July 30

Mens Invitational  -  August 11 & 12

Ladies Invitational  -  August 20 & 21

Western Canadian VIPOND Final - August 24, 25 & 26

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