August 11th, 2020

Hat Club will host altered Alberta Men’s Amateur

By RYAN MCCRACKEN on June 18, 2020.

Amateur golfers in Alberta finally have something to circle on their calendars.

The Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club recently announced it will be bringing competitive golf back to the local links when it welcomes the province’s top amateur talent for the Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship, July 21-23.

“Alberta Golf is going ahead with their events schedule so we will be hosting quite a big field, I think there will be 136 players,” said MHGCC general manager Cam Jacques, adding it will be the second time MHGCC has hosted the event. “We hosted it back in 2012 for the first time and they wanted to come back. They really like our track. The winning score was over par – plus-one was the winning score back then.”

While local fans won’t be able to come out and watch due to social distancing guidelines, 10 golfers from the area have already signed up for the event – Sam Bratvold, Nolan Burzminski, Ryan Hodgins, Mitchell Kurtz and Matthaus Taylor of MHGCC, and Desert Blume’s Jordon Forsythe, Ryan Werre, Lanny Seefried, Michael Valk and Derek Whitson – and at least one more is sure to be included in the mix. Jacques says MHGCC has one paid exemption into the tournament, and the course will be holding a 36-hole shootout for its male members, June 27-28, to determine who earns the berth.

“Any male member from our club gets to go try out and whoever gets the lowest 36-hole total over those two days will get our paid exemption into the tournament,” said Jacques. “So we’ll have one more local, for sure.”

Like everything in the world these days, the tournament will come with an array of new policies and guidelines that are sure to provide a challenge for Alberta’s top male amateur golfers. On top of the now-commonplace policies at courses across the province – aimed at enforcing social distancing and reducing contact points – golfers at the tournament will be without caddies and can only show up 30 minutes prior to their tee time.

“For these guys that’s a big thing,” said Jacques. “They’ll come an hour and a half before their tee time and putt, and chip and do bunker shots and practice. We’ll actually have volunteers as they come out of the parking lot with clip boards, saying ‘What time is your tee time?'”

Social distancing guidelines will also cut down on the number of rules officials and volunteers at the event, while golfers will send in photos of their scorecards following each round rather than submitting them in-person. It’s a list of concessions Jacques says is necessary to carry out a competitive tournament under the circumstances. The only thing he wishes he could add to the mix is a cheering section.

“The only thing I’m kind of sad about is that we just can’t have any spectators,” he said. “That’s too bad, because we’re going to see some really good young golfers, a lot of them are on scholarships. The top 20 of them have scholarships all over Canada and the States. We’re going to see some great golf.”

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