Golf and Special Olympics BC Are Here to StayOctober 24, 2012
Richmond, British Columbia (BRITISH COLUMBIA GOLF)– The 2012 golf season was a success for Special Olympics BC and British Columbia Golf, highlighted by the strategic partnership between the two organizations in an effort to further develop coaching and competitive golf in BC. After the conclusion of year one of national competition, it is safe to say that golf as a Special Olympics sport in British Columbia is here to stay. (The picture to the right is Conrad Der- SOBC Burnaby hitting one right down the centre at nationals. Conrad is an avid golfer who loves has a great time at nationals)
Back in 2009 when golf made its debut as a sport in the Special Olympics BC Summer Games, the turnout was lean but as expected. Twelve registered golfers partook in competition at three communities throughout the province. Fast-forward three years later and the turnout has increased by an exponential growth that is somewhat unfathomable. At last estimate, golf is being played by upwards of 300 registered Special Olympics BC athletes at over 23 communities throughout the province.
No truer is a gage of golfs provincial-wide level of popularity with Special Olympics athletes than the selection process for a spot on the squad that headed to the inaugural nationals at the end of September on behalf of British Columbia. Following regional qualifiers that acted as a try-out, 12 SOBC athletes were selected as Team British Columbia’s that headed to Chippewa Creek Golf Club in Mount Hope, Ontario. As Team BC members, the SOBC athletes competed in a two-day, 54 player championship that featured Special Olympics athletes from across the country.
Participating for British Columbia were Kyle Grummett (SOBC-Kelowna), Jason Muldoon (SOBC-Ridge Meadows), Barb Conway (SOBC-Prince George), Ryan Courtemanche (SOCB-Kelowna), Yves Moskaluke (SOBC-Nanaimo), Erin Thom (SOBC-Kimberley/Cranbrook), Carl Richard (SOBC-Summerland), Conrad Der (SOBC-Burnaby), Brett Tassell (SOBC-100 Mile House), Aiden Fisher-Lang (SOBC-North Shore), Chris Harrington (SOBC-Kelowna) and Lynden Hicks (SOBC-Penticton). Assisting with the coaches responsibilities were Chuck Betrand (SOBC-Sunshine Coast), Parry Dickie (SOBC-Kamloops), Art Peck (SOBC-Nanaimo) and Joanne Thom (SOBC-Kimberley/Cranbrook).
At nationals, Team BC golfers enjoyed great success, bringing home a number of gold medals as well as having the only player in the inaugural national tournament to record an eagle. Carl Richard was able to knock his third-shot into the hole on a par-5, granting him bragging rights for the remainder of the championship.
Not only are the successes of British Columbia’s athletes at the national level an indication of skill but it is a true testament to the overall success of the relation between British Columbia Golf and Special Olympics BC.
“To see the evolution of participation and excelling performance rates for SOBC golfers is remarkable. This is a great sign for golf as a Special Olympics sport in this province,” says Debbie Pyne, Managing Director of Player Development for British Columbia Golf.
“These athletes and coaches have strived to be the best in their sport. It is fantastic to see them bring home gold medals. Their success is a highlight of our 2012 competitive golf season here in British Columbia.”
From here, the newly formed relationship between British Columbia Golf and Special Olympics BC will go in only one direction and that is up. This forward progression is needed as the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games are headed to Vancouver, the first time in which golf will be contested at a national multi-sport games showcasing the best athletes in Canada.
It is important to note that as the popularity of golf increases, so does the demand for volunteers and difference makers. The North Vancouver Special Olympics BC golf program has doubled since its inception, creating a disparity in the instructor/player ratio. In order for the program to remain sustainable, increased participation from the golfing community is needed. All professional golfers are a welcome addition to support the program.
For all those interested in becoming involved with Special Olympics BC/British Columbia Golf, please contact Debbie Pyne at firstname.lastname@example.org
It remains to be seen just how successful golf will be as a Special Olympics sport but if year one are any indication, the future sure does look bright.
Click to read the three-part series outlining Special Olympics BC and British Columbia Golf working together to grow golf in the province:
PART I- Relationship Outlined
PART II- Programming/Developmental Stream
PART III- Competitive Stream
For more information:
Manager, Communications and Marketing
British Columbia Golf
604 346 8003
Special Olympics BC
604 737 3077
Posted in News