North Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Putting Green A Hit With Community

North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto (Right, putting) And Section Manager For Parks, Dave Turner (L) Enjoy The Unique Putting Green Installed At Sam Walker Park In North Vancouver - Image Credit Gino Cutri/British Columbia Golf

by Gino Cutri

The thought originated with the neighbour of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who had just started to learn how to play golf. She approached the Mayor with a question, “How about we do something about golf in our community?”

Mayor Mussatto paused, and remembered that his section manager for parks, Dave Turner, had mentioned he too would like to incorporate golf into the community. His idea was to build a putting green in a local park. That local park was Sam Walker.

Turner, who fell in love with the game ever since working at his local course growing up just outside of Guelph Ontario, noticed that Sam Walker Park was not being utilized as well as it could be. He wanted to add something that would attract a lot of people, and drive more traffic to the area. The next thing you know, neighbours were knocking on doors petitioning if others would like a putting green at Sam Walker.

Weeks later that same neighbour went to city council with a presentation asking for a putting green to be built, city council considered it, and made the putting green a priority over the next year to be built at Sam Walker Park. “In this case it was a 50-thousand dollar project to go together with what the developers were already doing.

For that we got the putting green, a lot of it was done by staff in-house, and we hired a contractor to do the actual artificial turf part of it. We put in the benches and the drinking fountain around the park. It’s a relatively small project in terms of the city’s budget but I thinks it’s turned out to be quite successful and quite well used,” said Turner about the publicly funded project.

Thus far Turner is very satisfied with the communities’ active involvement with the putting green, mentioning that when he drives around the city he always makes a point of seeing which park facilities are being utilized. “You always see the little kid’s playgrounds being used, but you’ll often see this being used probably as much as tennis courts. We really like to put facilities in that get a lot of use and that cover a wide demographic,” Turner added.

image credit greg moody

The Putting Green At Sam Walker Park Was A Community-Driven Project And Has Meet With Great Response

According to Statistics Canada, golf is the most participated sport in the country, but when using the age variable, golf did not make the top 10 with children under the age of 14. Turner feels building this community putting green will increase local youths' participation in golf.

Mussatto echoed that statement noting that young kids through to seniors living nearby all love coming out to the green. Mussatto believes these types of projects work really well in high-density areas of the city where most people do not have backyards. “People can come out of their apartments, have their own little putter and ball and go. These are things that don’t take up a lot of space, they have a high utility, and not a lot of cost. They check all the boxes of what you want to see in the community.”

There were a few in the community who initially had reservations about the idea, but after seeing the popularity and community involvement they admittedly withdrew their concerns. Furthermore, the putting green has very little upkeep. The city crew who comes to mow the park grass gives the putting green a sweep/blow once a month to take off any dirt that may be lingering on the green.

Moving forward, Mussatto definitely wants to see more of these putting greens built in his city because of the aforementioned high utility and low cost. He also wants to invite mayors from other areas of Metro Vancouver to Sam Walker Park so he can show off his green, have a putting contest, and sell the idea to other municipalities.