BC's Senior Women Golfers Set To Do A Little Walking On Sunshine

The Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club Is Set To Play Host To The B.C. Senior Women’s Championship

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

The scorecard seldom tells us the real story about a golf course. This is especially true at Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club, which from June 20-22 plays host the B.C. Senior Women’s Championship.

With tees ranging in length from 4,743 to 6,357 yards, Sunshine Coast is not, by today’s standards, a long golf course.

But what it may lack in length, Sunshine Coast more than makes up with its many subtleties, like green complexes that are among the most challenging in the province. That is where the Senior and Super Senior women’s championships figure to be decided. She with the fewest three-putts may win.

“The approaches to the greens and definitely the putting are the major challenges out here,” says Jim Pringle, the longtime director of golf operations and head professional at Sunshine Coast.

“It brings a lot of players into the field. It is not just the longest hitters who can compete. It lets all different styles of players contend.”

A field of 57 players will contest the Senior and Super Senior championships. Vancouver’s Holly Horwood swept both titles last year at Kelowna Golf & Country Club, winning her third Senior title and second in the Super Senior category, which is for players 60 and over.

Horwood, who will be back to defend her titles, came from behind last year to beat five-time Senior champion Jackie Little, who now calls the Kootenay community of Procter home.
Little will back in search of title No. 6.

Other contenders figure to include the likes of Sandra Turbide of Maple Ridge, Alison Murdoch of Victoria, Penny Baziuk of North Saanich and Phyllis Laschuk of Vancouver.

Sunshine Coast opened in 1969 as a nine-hole course designed by Vancouver’s Ernie Brown. A second nine was added in 1997 by Les Furber. Some of Furber’s greens are especially tricky.

“I think the key to handling these greens is having the right speed,” Pringle says. “If you’re leaving yourself outside that two-and-half-foot range, you’ll face some challenging second putts. The challenge from 10 feet and in is everything is breaking lots and you’re giving the hole away sometimes from just six feet. You really have to be able to keep your distance control sharp in order to clean up those second putts.”

Sunshine Coast has an active membership of about 330 and also gets plenty of public play. About 55 per cent of its play comes from members, with most of the public play occurring between the May long weekend and Labour Day.

“I wouldn’t say there is a signature hole, but certainly the holes on the new nine, particularly holes four through eight when you get across the road, that is probably as peaceful and serene a stretch as anywhere in the province,” Pringle says.

“It is surrounded by a park, you can’t see the other holes, to me those are the holes that really resonate with me.”

Sunshine Coast also played host to the Senior Women’s Championship in 2004, when Donna Thompson of the home course claimed the title. Thompson remains an active member at Sunshine Coast, but Pringle says she is no longer playing in competitions.

Sunshine Coast member Deb Sneddon will represent the club in this year’s championship.
Sunshine Coast has played host to a number of British Columbia Golf and Golf Canada championships over the years, something that Pringle says reflects well on its members.

“We have a great response from out members who come out to volunteer,” Pringle says. “My opinion of any golf club is its willingness to share it with other people and I think our members do an amazing job of that.”