Hopes were so high for the Wheat City Golf Course this season, with leagues and tournaments returning and a full 18 holes set to open.
But now 12 holes and 11 greens are under water from the flood, with the Assiniboine River expected to crest again on July 17, and the course is seeing its business plummet. Both the RBC Wheat City Senior Men’s Tournament — which was set for July 30 — and the 78th annual Brandon Ladies’ Western Open — which was slated for Aug. 10 — have been cancelled, and some of the leagues have left the Wheat City for drier pastures.
It’s not an ideal situation for a course that had finally recovered from the devastating 2011 flood, but manager Bryce Wilson knows there’s not much he can do about it.
“We were hoping for a good season of 18 holes and having those tournaments back and we did have a lot booked, but with the condition the course is currently in and the timing of those tournaments, it could be tight if we have 18 holes or not,” he said. “I can totally see where they’re coming from, but it’s also disappointing that we can’t provide that service of a full 18 holes. It is what it is, and unfortunately we can’t control the river at this time.”
Members of each of the leagues that play at Wheat City were given the opportunity to move to a new course or continue at the city-operated club. The top six holes are still open and people can play them all day for only $15. Keystone’s food operation is also running at the Wheat City. Some people are taking advantage of the deal, but Wilson admits it’s not as many as would come out to play the full 18.
Until the river recedes past the dikes and crews can start to pump off the remaining water, Wilson won’t know the extent of the damage or how quickly the course can recover from the flood. It makes the financial outlook for this season hard to predict, but potential profits have been washed away.
“It’s kind of on hold,” he said. “We’re hoping we can get some it back at the end of the year, but it will be a financial hit for sure. We’re looking at insurance and so forth as well to see if we have those possibilities.
“It will be a hit for sure, but some of our expenses will drop as well as we’re not maintaining as many holes, but we are still maintain the holes up top.”
SOURIS: It took a while, but the Souris Glenwood course is back on its feet. The club is expected to reopen all nine holes today and hold its Ladies Open on Sunday.
Oak Island: Crews are still working to clean up the bottom nine holes at Oak Island, but the top nine are still open. A date has not been set for the bottom nine to be back in play.
JUNIORS: The provincial junior golf championships begin next week at Rossmere. Brandon’s Austin Dobrescu, Glenboro’s Zach Wytinck and Dauphin’s Connor Shaw are set to take part in the four-round men’s event that runs from Monday through Thursday, while Erickson’s Bobbi Uhl will be in the three-round women’s event Tuesday to Thursday.
TAKE A KID TO THE COURSE: Glen Lea, Minnedosa and Poplar Ridge are all taking part in the program that allows children under the age of 16 to golf for free at their courses as long as they are with an adult. The offer runs through Sunday. Glen Lea and Poplar Ridge both have a full 18 holes open, while Minnedosa is limited to its back nine, but the course is dry enough now to allow carts.
CHIP SHOTS: Minnedosa’s Senior Women’s Open will take place on Wednesday, followed by its Men’s Open on July 20. Contact the club to register … Glen Lea’s 55-plus Men’s Open Tournament will take place on July 17, with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. Call Steve Morrison at 204-726-5826 … Boissevain’s Tommy Turtle four-person scramble will take place on July 19, with shotgun starts at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Proceeds go toward course expansion. To register, contact the clubhouse at 204-534-2365 … Carberry’s Senior Men’s Open will take place on July 25. The cost is $40. The Desert Classic, held in Carberry and Neepawa on Aug. 2 and 3, costs $80. To register, call the Carberry Sandhills club at 204-834-2325 … Although the location of the Brandon Sun Father-Son golf tournament is up in the air with the Wheat City course flooded, entries will still be accepted until the end of July. Cost is $80 per team. Call Shawn Baker at 204-725-1958 or email Glen Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizers will inform participants which course will host the event once it’s finalized.