Wolf Creek Golf Resort, just south of Ponoka, continued on a proud tradition and history by again hosting the Alberta Open championship last week.
The four-day tournament kicked off on Monday, July 12, 2021.
The Alberta Golf Association was incorporated in 1912 and continues today as a non-profit organization.
“Since 1935, the Alberta Open has provided some of Alberta’s best and most promising amateurs with the opportunity to test their game amongst professionals from the club level and PGA Tour Canada. The event was a regular stop on the Canadian Professional Tour at WCGR for 13 years in the late 1980s and 1990s,” said Kevin Smith, director of communications for Alberta Golf.
“Most of the hotels in the local area are booked up when we host a major event like this one. I suspect local restaurants do O.K. as well. 75 per cent of our business comes from regional tourism 100 kilometres or more away,” said Ryan Vold, owner at Wolf Creek Golf Resort.
Vold says that the family business has a history of hosting Alberta Golf tournaments. The golf course is an original Rod Whitman design.
Whitman has designed and constructed highly-acclaimed golf courses in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. His first solo design at Wolf Creek Gold Resort (opened for play in 1983) perennially ranks amongst the top-20 golf courses in Canada.
Smith says the Alberta Open was first contested in 1935. Legendary Canadian golfer Stan Leonard won the event a record nine times between 1937 and 1955.
“Alberta Open gives amateur players the opportunity to play alongside professional golf players,“ said Smith.
Alberta Golfs has two divisions, both amateur and professional. Amateur players have the opportunity to build on their resume. This helps immature players build up their name in the golfing community and top amateur players get to compete in the USA.,Smith says.
“The big difference is that the professionals can win money. The amateurs build up their names,” said Smith.
SVR Lawyers returned as the main sponsor of the Alberta Open championship this year.
“$30,000 is a small donation for SVR Lawyers but it goes a long way,” said Bruce J. MacLeod, managing partner at SVR.
Macleod says the SVR Lawyers supports the golfing community and has a history of supporting the tournament.
The money donated goes to help up-and-coming amateur golfers and that is one aspect of why they chose to donate. They also like that amateur golf players will get to test their skills against top professionals.
The tournament ended with two-time Alberta Open champion Riley Fleming of Airdrie adding a third Alberta Open trophy to his wins.
“Fleming started the day with a five shot lead on 2019 champion Andrew Harrison, but after the Camrose product went four under on his first five holes the lead was gone and they were tied,” stated Alberta Golf in a release.
“Fleming used an eagle chip in on the eighth hole and birdie putt on eleven to get a four stroke lead and he never looked back, winning by six strokes over Harrison.”