Taking advantage of an early spring and a surge in popularity in the sport, the Kitchen Creek Golf Course saw a record number of rounds played there this season.
Roughly 34,000 rounds have been played so far, club pro Gord Workum said Monday morning.
“That’s a big-time jump,” he enthused. “Last year, we had 26,000 rounds played and it’s the first time we’ve ever had over 30,000 rounds played.”
Workum said when he first became the club pro in 1994, an “inaccurate” count indicated just 12,000-15,000 rounds a year. He noted that shows just how far the club has progressed in a relatively short time.
“The popularity of the sport adds to that figure but the club is a lot more organized than when I first came here,” he said, adding the course plans on being open until the end of the month (weather permitting).
Club president Steve Lundon noted the course has come a long way in recent years, and he fully expects the club to continue to prosper down the road. He added the jump in rounds had a positive aspect on the club—especially in its bank account.
“It means we’ve done very well financially after a terrible year last year,” he said yesterday. “The club continues to grow very nicely and I expect it to continue to grow.”
Kitchen Creek also saw a big surge in membership this season, with 630 signed up compared to about 400 a year ago.
“That’s over a 50 percent increase in memberships over a year,” said Workum. “With all the new members, and the current members playing more, that’s a lot more rounds.”
Workum said the club attracted record numbers this year despite the mill strike and an “ugly” October in terms of weather. He noted play has levelled off this month due to the cold, wet conditions but was optimistic for this weekend, saying he heard the weather was going to be “much nicer.”
In fact, Workum predicted the club could have seen even more rounds played had there not been the mill strike.
“I really don’t attribute [the jump in green fees] to the strike,” he said. “I think it hurt us more than it helped us because the members were going to play as many rounds as they could but ones who weren’t members might not have been able to afford to play as many.”
And while the club’s membership was up, so was the increase in players from outside Rainy River District, including the U.S.
“It was probably the dollar but we definitely had more tourists from the States playing the course this year,” said Workum. “And the course was in good shape [and] we had the longer season by starting on April 18.
“It was just a good season all around.”