BC Mid-Am Host Ledgeview Still Waiting For Its New Clubhouse Three Years After Fire

The Devastating Fire That Destoyed The Clubhouse At Ledgeview Golf Club In Abbotsford In April Of 2016. The Club Has Yet To Find Out What Sort Of Replacement Will Be Built - File Photo

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

ABBOTSFORD -- The leader in the clubhouse at the B.C. Men’s & Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Ledgeview Golf Club is. . .wait, there is no clubhouse. And that’s a shame.

It has been more than three years since fire destroyed the clubhouse at Ledgeview. In its place sits a large tent. Next to it are a couple of portable washrooms. The pro shop and restaurant are operated out of trailers at the opposite end of the parking lot. 

The golf course, meanwhile, is in absolute pristine condition.

“The condition of this course is as good as I have played on this year,” said former B.C. Amateur Champion Sandy Harper of Nanaimo, one of the competitors at this week’s Mid-Am. “It’s just amazing how good the fairways are.”

The reason why the City of Abbotsford, which owns the land and what was the clubhouse, has stalled on a replacement is something of a mystery. Ledgeview is highly regarded in British Columbia golfing circles and has produced a number of top-caliber players, including the likes of PGA TOUR winners Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, as well as former amateur sensation James Lepp and former PGA TOUR member Ray Stewart.

Kelowna’s Norm Bradley, another of the competitors at this week’s tournament, was a member of Ledgeview back in the 1980s and early 1990s. He, like so many others, can’t understand why the City of Abbotsford is not looking after a course he considers something of a civic treasure. “I think this is one of the best golf courses in B.C,” Bradley said. “It is one of the most challenging courses in B.C. It has the best set of par 3s, it is really demanding off the tee. The greens are very challenging. They can drive you crazy. . .The golf course is tremendous.”

Bradley and others think it is a shame that Ledgeview is being forced to operate out of make-shift facilities. “I think someone needs to go shake their heads on city council and say, ‘listen, we have a great golf course here, we need to take care of it and we need to do whatever we need to do and bring the outside of the golf course back to where the actual course is at.’ This place is gold. . .I do think saner heads will prevail and they’ll do it right.”

Gerry Hadwin, Ledgeview’s Director of Golf/General Manager, hopes Bradley is right, but his optimism is waning. Last September, it looked like there was a deal to get the clubhouse built. About $5.75 million was in the city budget for a replacement and a groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for Sept. 24 of last year. Adam Hadwin -- Gerry’s son -- and Taylor were on hand for the ceremony and 250 guests invited. Four days before the ceremony, the city sent word they weren’t ready to proceed. Hadwin had to quickly change the event into a customer-appreciation night.

Eight months later, nothing has changed. It appears there is a tug o’ war going on between Abbotsford council and the Ledgeview Golf Society that runs the course. “I do know that every time the clubhouse is mentioned I do get a little bit more upset,” says Gerry Hadwin. “Personally, I think they are just holding us hostage.” Operating without proper facilities has been a challenge for Hadwin and his staff, but they seem to be flourishing nonetheless. “We are surviving,” Hadwin said. “We have a really good staff here and everyone has bought into it and said look, there is nothing we can do. Let’s make the best of it.”

image courtesy Golf Canada

Nanaimo's Sandy Harper Has The Lead In The Men's Mid-Master Event And Is Only One Shot Back In The Mid-Amateur

Play has remained steady, a testament to the work of longtime course superintendent Chad Burns and his staff, and although some tournaments have been cancelled, Hadwin has managed to replace them with new ones. The Ledgeview Golf Society is comprised of 256 members and has more than 16 years remaining on its lease with the city to operate the course. The suspicion is the city is reluctant to spend big bucks on a new clubhouse without having full control of the facility.

The society is reluctant to cede control after having spent much time, energy and money to keep the course running all these years. “We just spent $180,000 on cart paths,” Hadwin said. “Where did that money come from? It came from the members and green fee players. The city didn’t give it to us.” More than anything, Hadwin just wants an end to the uncertainty. “All we would like is some certainty,” Hadwin said. “That’s all we are asking for. Say what your end game is. They can’t come up with an end game.”

Hadwin and his staff are delighted to be hosting a Provincial Championship this week. They feel it is testament to the high quality of the golf course. He and others hope it sends a message to Mayor Henry Braun and his council that Ledgeview is an asset that should be supported. “This is just my personal opinion, but I believe they don’t really care about Ledgeview,” Hadwin said.

Meanwhile, the second round of the 54-hole Mid-Am was completed Wednesday and Ledgeview played a little easier on Day 2. Former Calgary Flames forward Max Reinhart of West Vancouver fired the tournament’s best score, a three-under 67, to move into a tie for the 36-hole lead at two-over par. Richmond’s Mike Aizawa shares the lead after shooting a one-under 69. Harper is alone in third place at three-over after firing a 69 on Wednesday.

The Mid-Amateur competition is open to players 25 and older. The Mid-Master category is for players 40 and over. Harper leads the Mid-Master competition by two shots over Stewart Scott of Kelowna.

Shelly Stouffer of Nanoose Bay will carry a five-shot lead into Thursday’s final round of the Women’s Mid-Am competition. Stouffer fired a one-over 71 and sits at four-over par through two rounds. Port Alberni’s Christina Proteau is second at nine-over. Stouffer has a commanding 13-shot lead in the Mid-Master competition over Tina Papatolis of Issaquah, Wash.

The tournament also features a two-person best-ball team competition. Stouffer and Proteau lead at 10 under, two shots better than the team of Malachy Hagan and Kyle Gerard, both of Abbotsford.

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