INNISFAIL – Innisfail Golf Club was supposed to open its 2022 season on April 21, but Mother Nature’s post-winter wrath erupted days earlier.
No problem. The date has just been moved a few days later.
Plus, the extra moisture the snow brought added some much-needed insurance to the greens and fairways after last year’s hot, dry summer.
No one is really worried these days at the club, widely regarded as one of the most popular golf venues in the province.
The staff were fully prepared to start their first full season without COVID-19 restrictions since 2019.
Fewer or no pandemic restrictions are of course welcomed by many.
But there is another interesting aspect of the COVID-19 problem in terms of its impact on the golf industry, including the Innisfail Golf Club.
“COVID has actually done a lot for the golf industry, although we would all rather never have to deal with it,” said Mathew MacDonald, the local club’s head professional. “It allowed people to get out and discover golf.
“The only fear, and I’ll be honest, that we have is that so many oil companies and so many other companies are starting to reorganize and replicate and kick things off. Unfortunately, I think people will play golf a little less on an individual level, simply because, as I’ve always said, “work gets in the way,” he said, adding that the sport as a whole will see the average person playing more rounds of golf. Golf.
“It’s just because so many people have been exposed to the game over the past couple of years who would never have experienced it.”
With so many people, including new golfers, heading to the links everywhere, it has also led to unprecedented demand for new equipment in the industry, which is also being felt at the local club.
“We almost can’t get boxed golf club sets,” MacDonald said, adding that the item is what many people new to the sport would use for an inexpensive starter set. “You can’t order them. I couldn’t order them from October last year because people had already filled their batch.
“We have a few coming in, but a lot of them were really hard to find,” he said. “We had to fight and allocate a lot of dollars to that for us to get them because they’re so hard to come by at this point.”
MacDonald said the club normally expects custom golf club orders to arrive within five to 10 days, but he hasn’t seen some items for about six months.
Nonetheless, Innisfail Golf Club is doing quite well with the industry seeing record membership numbers.
Expectations are high for 2022, a season that could be one of the most watched and lucrative in the club’s 98-year history.
“We are extremely excited. We’re already starting to see in terms of membership that there’s still a ton of demand to join,” MacDonald said.
The number of club members is now limited to 500, which was also reached in 2021. It was also the first time in the club’s history that it limited the number of members.
“Unfortunately we have had to limit some of our memberships simply because of our business model and the way it works, not that we want to drive people away by any stretch of the imagination but we can only offer a number limited spots per day for members,” MacDonald said.
“And once we basically reach our maximum limit, we have to start allowing the public to continue playing as well, and all of that plays into the fact that we are a semi-private golf club as opposed to a private club,” he added. . “This year again, obviously positive. We filled up earlier than ever, which is really good.
“Last year we were still taking memberships in May, while we were nearly full at the beginning of April this year.”
As for key events and tournaments scheduled for 2022, the club’s Ping Vendor Day on April 29 will be the club’s first major event, and it’s open to members and the public with plenty of prizes on offer.
On the competitive front, the Alberta Golf Tour visits the club for a one-day amateur tournament on Saturday June 4th. For the pros, the Innisfail club is hosting a two-day PGA of Alberta tournament June 27-28.
MacDonald said there will also be the club’s Senior Open on June 14 for those 50 and older.
“It’s a very good event. It’s a good start to the season,” said MacDonald. “We usually have a good month under our belt for the golf course to really start to green up and look pretty solid.”