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Welcome To The Association
Play Ability Test News

Welcome To The Association

Congratulations to the 5 players who passed the Play Ability Test today at Edmonton Garrison Memorial G&CC. The 5 players all successfully passed after shooting the target score (78) or better to become an Apprentice Professional of the PGA of Canada.

Name Score
Michael Zorn (River Ridge GC) 77
Austin Gendreau (River Ridge GC) 77
Ethan Rimmer (Miskanaw GC) 77
Cameron Boyd (Japser Park Lodge GC) 78
 Nicholas Heyland (Windermere G&CC)  78

Mitchell Fox Celebrates Five-Shot Win at PGA of Alberta Players Tour 2-Day Event
Tournament News

Mitchell Fox Celebrates Five-Shot Win at PGA of Alberta Players Tour 2-Day Event

EDMONTON—Calgary’s Mitchell Fox made it look easy on Tuesday despite challenging conditions to close with a 5-under-par, 67 for a handy five-shot victory at the Players Tour 2-Day competition at the Cougar Creek Golf Resort near Edmonton.

The Apprentice Professional from the Speargrass Golf Course charged into Oil country, teeing up his work week by taking a two-shot lead into Tuesday’s final round of the 36-hold event. Fox was one of two players in the field of 45 to break par, posting a 69 on the 6,542-yard layout in Monday’s opening round.

The former Canadian Tour player mixed together one eagle with five birdies and two bogeys for a sizzling 67 in the final trip around the tree-lined, rolling layout to secure the win (69-67—136).

“I played really good today. It is the type of course that you have to find your way around it, and hit to certain spots, but the course is in great shape, it was a good day and I’m happy with how I played,” said Fox, the son of a Class A Professional who turned pro himself in 2007 before joining the PGA of Canada just four years ago.

Tyler LeBouthillier (365 Golf Inc.) was one of two other players behind Fox to card a round in the 60s in the final round.

LeBouthillier chalked up five birdies of his own to go along with one bogey to lock up second spot with rounds of 73-68—141. Adam Bruce (Northern Bear Golf Course) also fired a 68 to finish in a tie for fourth place at 145 with Jeff Cuthbertson (Stony Plain Golf Course). Cuthbertson was one of just four players to go sub-par on Tuesday.

Kevin Black (Redwood Meadows Golf and Country Club), who was sitting in second spot at 71 after the opening round, dropped a spot on the leaderboard following a final-round 18-hole spin of 73 for a total of 144.

Complete Results:

The Pro-Senior Pro-Am, presented by Golf Trends Inc. and Levelwear is next on the 2024 tournament docket. A field of 46 teams will tee it up at Cardiff Golf and Country Club on June 20.

For more information on the PGA of Alberta calendar of events, please visit https://www.pgaofalberta.com/tournaments/registration/


Fox Leads by 2 After Round One at Cougar Creek GR
Tournament News

Fox Leads by 2 After Round One at Cougar Creek GR

The first 2-day Players’ Tour event teed off today at Cougar Creek GR just west of Edmonton. After a rainy and windy start, the skies opened up to a beautiful afternoon for the 45 players in the field, who hope for calmer weather tomorrow morning as round 2 begins at 7:30am. 

Mitchell Fox (Speargrass GC) leads the field by 2 after five birdies lead to an opening round of 69. Following close behind is Kevin Black (Redwood Meadows G&CC) who had three birdies of his own to finish the day with a 1-under 71.

Leaders After Round 1

Name Facility Score
Mitchell Fox Speargrass GC 69
Kevin Black Redwood Meadows G&CC 71
Scott Smith Dynamic Motion Golf Performance Centre 73
Levi McDermott Big Buck Golf Centre 73
Tyler LeBouthillier 365 GOLF 73
Matthew Mah Mill Woods GC 74
Jake Behiels Cougar Creek GR 75
Jeff Cuthbertson Stony Plain GC 75
Michael Thompson Windermere G&CC 75
Shawn Proulx River Ridge G&CC 75

Round 2 Draw
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Cookes Share Passion for Their Jobs as Golf Pros
Association News

Cookes Share Passion for Their Jobs as Golf Pros

Right from Day 1, Chris Cooke may have been destined to follow his father, Darren, into the golf industry.

Darren has been a staple for the past 36 seasons at Canmore Golf & Curling Club where he serves the dual role of general manager and director of golf. Chris is now the head professional at neighbouring Silvertip Resort, another beauty in the Bow Valley.

“The day that Christopher was born, he didn’t go straight home from the hospital. He came to the golf course first,” Darren reminisced. “There was a group of old guys that played cards in the pro shop all winter long, so we had to come and show him off. So, the first stop was the golf course.

“And ever since then … ” 

Chris grew up at Canmore Golf & Curling Club, as much a constant as the stunning mountain views. It was, as he put it, both his “daycare” and “playground.”

He was only eight when he picked the range for the first time. When he was attending high school just down the street, Darren noticed that his lunch bill at the course was usually doubled. 

After Chris completed his collegiate golf career at the University of Central Arkansas, he ultimately decided to try for his pro card. 

He and his dad are now PGA of Alberta peers. When asked about his son, “proud” is the word that Darren uses most often.

“He always seemed to be where everybody came to have fun,” Chris said, sharing his childhood impressions of the life of a golf pro. “And when you get to work at a place where everybody goes to enjoy themselves, it makes for a pretty good work environment, for the most part. 

“We’re here to facilitate enjoyment, to facilitate camaraderie, to facilitate fun. It’s just such a great sport to be involved with.”

Now in his ninth season as a pro, Chris has even more appreciation for why his father has such a sterling reputation in the golf biz. Darren was the PGA of Alberta’s Club Professional of the Year in 2014. 

“He really cares about everyone else before himself,” Chris said. “There is no job that is too big or too small for him to take on, and I have always really respected him for that. Some people think, ‘Oh, as a golf pro, you just walk the range and teach a few lessons.’ They don’t tell you that sometimes you have to clean the bathrooms or once in a while, you have to do some real dirty jobs that aren’t very glorious. But it’s all about getting it done.” 

Whatever it is that you’re trying to get done, it helps to have somebody you can lean on for advice, experience or just a sounding board. For this father-son duo, that goes both ways. Golf isn’t the Cookes only shared passion. They also like to strap on the pads and tend the nets at the hockey rink.

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“We share a lot of conversations back and forth, and I learn a lot from him too,” Darren said. “With the PGA of Alberta and PGA of Canada, it’s always been about networking and helping each other and sharing. Of course, when it’s your family member, sometimes those conversations are easier and sometimes they’re a little more difficult.

“I know in our area, with all of the golf courses, you can ask anybody around here and you’ll get an honest answer about what’s going on. Everybody is willing to help out. And when it’s your son, you answer that phone quickly and maybe get it done a little quicker, because it’s a part of you.”

For the Cookes, golf has been a big part of their lives. This Father’s Day will be extra special for Chris — his first with a child of his own. His daughter, Ruth, was born last August. And yeah, she is already a regular at the course.  

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“Through the winter, there was a simulator set up in the Canmore pro shop,” Chris said. “So, I would take her around there quite frequently and we’d hang out with Grandpa and I’d hit a couple shots and she’d be cruising around and she just wanted to grab every golf club or every golf ball she could see. It’s cool to see her so excited already and I just want to continue to expose her to all the greatness that golf can deliver. If she chooses it as one of her pastimes, great. And if not, so be it. She’ll have a lot of other activities going on. But just the way she’s already grabbing that golf club, I think she’s going to be hooked.”

That would be a case of history repeating itself.

“There’s not many places I’d rather be other than the golf course or hanging out with my family,” Chris beamed. “And at the golf course, I get to do both.”


Who Says You Can’t Go Home
Association News

Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Mathew MacDonald and Weston Gillett can look out the window and sometimes feel like they’re watching a rewind from their junior-golf days.

 

That’s one of the unique perks of working as head professional at the same course where you first fell in love with the sport. In MacDonald’s case, that would be Olds Golf Club. Gillett, meanwhile, learned the finer points of the game on the fairways and greens at Lacombe Golf & Country Club. 

“I can’t remember who came up with the term, but I was what they called one of the ‘grapes’ of the pro-shop, because I would just hang around,” MacDonald said with a chuckle. “There were weeks when I was out here seven straight days as a kid. It was basically whenever mom and dad were able to get me to the golf course, I was usually more than willing to go.

“So yeah, I can definitely see a part of myself in some of these youngsters.”

Gillett, his fellow PGA of Alberta pro, knows that feeling.

Long before he had an office at Lacombe Golf & Country Club, he was one of the young whippersnappers with a stall in the junior club storage area. 

Whenever he wanted to practice or play, he’d simply lace up his sneakers and walk to the course. When he arrived, he typically had to empty his pockets.

“Luckily, I didn’t live too far from here,” Gillett reminisced. “Back when I was a kid, the highway wasn’t as busy as it is now. I wouldn’t recommend walking anymore, but it wasn’t that busy back then. 

“So, I’d walk over, and then on the other side of the highway, there’s ball diamonds across

from our ninth hole. I used to walk up between the ball diamonds and the golf course and I’d find tons of golf balls. I remember never having to buy balls because I’d find them as I was walking.”

Gillett had such fond memories of his upbringing at Lacombe Golf & Country Club — and his stints as a high-schooler on the maintenance crew and pro-shop staff — that he admits there was a bit of apprehension as he pondered whether to apply to be the head pro in his hometown. He’s now in his sixth season in the role after making the move from Drayton Valley. 

“This golf course, this Club, it’s always been very important to me because it’s kind of where I grew up, and I didn’t want to go in and have a negative outlook if something were not to be quite as I perceived it,” Gillett explained. “But it’s been really good. It’s all been super positive.”

MacDonald is just getting settled into his new job as pro/manager at Olds. He worked up the road in Innisfail for the past three years. 

“This was always something that was in the back of my mind that I wanted to potentially do,” he said. “I mean, this course kind of gave me my start in the golf world — both as a back-shop kid when I was younger and again as I was starting to make my way into the professional ranks. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the town of Olds and for the golf course. When I had an opportunity to jump up and take the position, I jumped into it with both feet. It’s been a really fun experience so far. It’s very interesting. I always say it’s very weird that I get to sit on the other side of the same desk where I used to get in trouble if I did something wrong out here.

“But it’s been a lot of fun. Pretty cool.”

For Gillett, MacDonald, and other professionals now working at the same facilities where they were first introduced to the game, the best part isn’t the opportunity to occasionally relive their youth. 

 It’s the opportunity to influence the next wave. 

When Gillett was a smooth-swinging junior, Kevin Snell was head pro at Lacombe. He was delighted when Snell, a PGA of Alberta life member, stopped by on his first day on the job to offer his congratulations. 

“I see a lot of kids that come out here, and I see a little bit of myself in them,” said Gillett, now a proud father of three. “I was always treated really, really well by the previous pros when I was kid and they’d take me out to play. I know the first couple times that I played with Kevin when I was 12 or 13 years old, I was just in awe of what he could do with the golf ball. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t like Tiger Woods or anything. But to me, it was.

“I can remember walking in the shop and Kevin had his bag there with his name on it, and I thought that was so cool. I thought that was just one step below seeing Tiger Woods.”

MacDonald, too, can rattle off a list of pros who had a major impact on his growing love for golf and instilling the values that you learn while chasing birdies and pars — honesty, integrity, and responsibility to name a few.

“One of the things that I’ve always remembered is that those individuals always made time for me, always took time to say hello or come walk out on the putting green to see how I was doing,” MacDonald said. “They always made themselves very available. They were very generous with their time. And I always try to remember that — that I probably wouldn’t be here in the position that I’m in if it wasn’t for their encouragement, their kindness and their willingness to have that influence on my golf game and my life. I always try to remember that no matter what comes up, it’s the people first and making sure that people feel valued and welcomed. A simple tip on the driving range can go a long way toward helping a relationship grow. In my case, it helped me create a career out of it.”


Samuel Kirkness and Glenn Carr Take Playoffs to Win PGA of Alberta Players Tour Title
Tournament News

Samuel Kirkness and Glenn Carr Take Playoffs to Win PGA of Alberta Players Tour Title

Kirkness claims 2024 title in second extra hole, Carr captures seniors crown after first playoff hole

EDMONTON—Samuel Kirkness and Glenn Carr proved victorious following extra holes at the Players Tour presented by Duca del Cosma at the Mill Woods Golf Course.

Kirkness (Inglewood Golf and Country Club) captured the main event in a two-hole playoff, while Carr (Lakeside Golf Club) triumphed in the first extra hole to take the seniors’ category. 

Kirkness – the 2023 Club Professional Championship winner – finished deadlocked at 70 with Wes Heffernan (Dynamic Motion Golf Performance Centre), Jacques Plouffe (Royal Mayfair Golf Club), Nick Vandermey and Keith Whitecotton (The Quarry) following an 18-hole spin of the 6,778-yard track in Edmonton.

Kirkness, Heffernan and Whitecotton dropped Plouffe and Vandermey after matching pars on the first extra hole, a 381-yard par-4. The PGA of Alberta heavyweights exchanged shots to the green on the par-5 538-yard test where Kirkness solidified the title with a birdie.

A close battle also unfolded in the seniors’ division (golf professionals 50 and older) where Carr (Lakeside Golf Club) and Andre DiBartolo (Edmonton Garrison Memorial Golf and Country Club) carded identical scores of 76.

Carr wasted little time putting his name in the history books as the 2024 winner, topping DiBartolo on the first extra hole – the 364-yard, par-4 10th hole.

Just over 100 players teed it up through the rainy conditions in the morning shotgun start.

Final Results - Main Field

Final Results - Seniors Division

For more information on the PGA of Alberta calendar of events, please visit https://www.pgaofalberta.com/tournaments/registration/