Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Rivalry Series to continue after winter break; Sloan posts season-best result in Bermuda; Handicap scoring season nearing end; Vancouver courses tee it forward

UBC Thunderbirds Golf Coach, Chris Macdonald - Image Credit Wilson Wong/UBC Athletics

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Having just completed a successful fall schedule, the B.C. Rivalry Series will return in mid-February with several more one-day events. “I don’t think it could have gone any better than it did,” says UBC golf coach Chris Macdonald, who created the series when the regular collegiate golf season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We were very lucky, the weather was fantastic, the courses were all really supportive of us being there and it was a great experience for the students.” Eight one-day events were held in the fall, with the final two tournaments played last week at Chilliwack Golf Club and Morgan Creek Golf Course in Surrey.

UBC, University of the Fraser Valley and UBC-Okanagan competed in the events. Langara College also participated in some events. Macdonald is now starting work on setting up a series of spring events. “We are hoping to start it again in mid-February and go until the beginning or the end of April,” he says.

“So over the next two weeks I will try to set out the schedule for that and we’ll probably do it exactly the same way. The only thing that might change a little bit is that we might take one or two events over to Vancouver Island. University of Victoria is not allowed to travel to the Mainland right now, so holding an event over there would allow them to play.”

The Order of Merit standings in the team and individual competitions will carry over into the spring events. UBC’s Ethan de Graaf leads the men’s competition, with Jackson Jacob of UFV a close second. On the women’s side, Sonja Tang of UBC leads Kayleigh Trowman of UBC-Okanagan. UFV has a one-point lead in the men’s team competition, while UBC has a substantial lead over UBC-Okanagan on the women’s side.

SEASON BEST: Merritt’s Roger Sloan registered his best finish of the new PGA Tour season when he tied for 16th at the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course. Sloan finished at eight-under par, seven shots behind winner Brian Gay, and earned $61,000. Two other Canadians also finished strong in Bermuda. David Hearn tied for 8th, while fellow Ontario native Michael Gligic tied for 11th.

Roger Sloan - Image Credit A. Lau/BC Golf

The PGA TOUR heads to Texas this week for the Vivint Houston Open. That should be a home date for Sloan, who resides in the area, but he unfortunately did not draw into the 132-man field. Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin are both taking another week off before heading to Augusta, Ga., for next week’s Masters.

CAPPING THE SEASON: The active season for posting scores for handicap purposes ends on Nov. 15 for most of us in British Columbia. But Kojo Frempong, manager of course and slope rating for British Columbia Golf, explains that members at some clubs will be able to post scores during the winter. “For the golf courses that do have the ability to play through the winter we are extending the active season so that they can continue posting,” Frempong says.

“But it is done on a club-by-club basis. So we are not inviting everybody to go out and post because we have to do some adjustments to course and slope rating to reflect the winter conditions. “Not every club allows members to post scores during the winter, so we are not doing it at every golf course. Only the courses that say we want to maintain it and then we go in and adjust their ratings and the members at that course can continue posting.” The active scoring season will resume on March 1st of next year

PLAY IT FORWARD: Vancouver Parks Golf has started work on a new forward tee at Langara Golf Course. It’s part of a Tee It Forward initiative that will also include Fraserview and McCleery. The new front tee at Langara will measure about 4,000 yards. Construction of new forward tees at Fraserview and McCleery will follow and should be completed by sometime next spring.

Larry Gilhuly - Image Credit Bryan Outram/BC Golf

Former USGA agronomist and longtime play it forward proponent Larry Gilhuly visited all three courses last spring and provided recommendations the city is now implementing.

Gilhuly and many others in the industry believe that providing shorter tees for beginners, seniors and others helps increase enjoyment and gives those players at least a fighting chance at par on most holes. The three city courses also plan to begin numbering their tees 1 through 4 next year and ditch the red, blue and white names.

TIGHT RACE: The road to Tokyo and the Summer Olympic Games is getting crowded. The Official World Golf Ranking will be used to determine what two players will represent Canada in the men’s golf competition assuming -- and that may be a big assumption -- that the already delayed Olympics are indeed held in 2021.

Abbotsford’s Hadwin has been Canada’s top-ranked player for some time, but has recently fallen out of the top spot. In the most recent world rankings, Hadwin is ranked 67th in the world, behind Ontario native Mackenzie Hughes (53rd) and just ahead of Ontario’s Corey Conners (69th). Taylor Pendrith of Ontario (116th) and Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor (132nd) round out Canada’s top five.

Hadwin and Taylor still have plenty of time to try and move into the top two as Canada's Olympic golf teams will be set on June 21, 2021.