The Australian Open took place at the Hope golf course on Monday afternoon — and there was no one there to witness it. In fact, the course was wide-open for the five Australian visitors who took one loop around the links before heading home to the State of Victoria on Tuesday.
While the wives were relaxing at the Skagit Motel, three men and two sons enjoyed a round in the sun, with a few hairy marmots popping their heads out of their burrows to check out the action.
The group had rented two vehicles and spent three weeks touring the B.C. and Alberta Rockies before stopping in Hope for their last night in Canada.
PGA greats, Greg “The Shark” Norman and Adam Scott might be from Australia — but Monday’s visitors admitted to being very casual golfers.
“I’m the only one who didn’t lose a ball,” said Ian Rhode, grinning.
With the rising waters of the Fraser causing the seventh-hole water hazard to swell, the Aussies had their hands full. “Hole number seven wasn’t good for us,” said Rhode, the others nodding wistfully in agreement.
It’s not all about the game, though. The sun was out, a warm breeze was blowing and Hope’s scenery was polished up to its springtime finest.
“For us to play a round of golf, with a view of snow-capped mountains… it was incredible,” said John Wetemans, a farmer in Victoria. “Good green fees, too,” added Steve Nimmo, who finished his round with a par on the ninth hole. “Some places we played were over $100 for a round (of 18 holes).”
For a total of just over $100, three adults and two juniors could play a round of nine holes at Hope on a weekday; $140 for 18 holes.
Course operator and clubhouse chef, Kerry Krahn said Wednesday, “Weekends are obviously busier but the weekdays can be random… some are busy and others are not.”
Great rates, conditions and scenery and an easy trip out of town are drawing golfers from Chilliwack and other parts of the Fraser Valley, he added.
Spring run-off often brings excess water to the lower end of the course but so far, said Krahn, “The Fraser isn’t high enough to cause flooding.”
If you’re looking to get back into the game, take up a new sport, or join a new social circle, the club offers a few options.
“Monday mornings, the ladies play nine holes,” said Krahn. “It’s more for beginners — and lunch is available afterwards. On Tuesday mornings, they play 18, followed by lunch.
“The men had their first official night on Wednesday last week and we had 28 golfers out,” he added. A barbecue social follows the golf, with ‘cards night’ sitting as an option if there’s a rain-out. Tee offs run between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Men’s Night planner, Peter Adamo has laid out a healthy list of challenges for the season, including “horse races,” hidden holes, “Iron Man,” 2-ball and visits from other clubs.
Krahn said the club has no junior club this year — but they continue to offer junior memberships for students aged 18 or younger. For $179, a junior member gets basically unlimited access to the course, said Krahn.
From personal observation over the years, this is a fantastic deal, especially for teens during the summer holidays.
They can stay gainfully occupied, while learning a life-long sport and linking up with veteran players who help fill in the finer points of the game.
If you’re worried about not having clubs, just speak up. You’d be amazed how many spares there are out there, waiting to be passed on for free or for a few dollars.