Greens keeper Brent Schaffner keeps things looking great at the Castor Golf Course. Photo submitted

Despite pandemic challenges, the Castor Golf Course has some reasons to celebrate their 2020 season

Projects in 2020 include renovations to the club house kitchen and repairs to the roof from last year’s hailstorm

Despite a rather bumpy start to the golf season thanks to COVID-19, the Castor Golf Course has much to celebrate for their 2020 season.

Much of the celebration can be attributed to the golf course’s new caretaker, Brent Schaffner, who completed many of the projects.

“Brent has done a fantastic job for us this year,” said Golf Club President Todd Pawsey.

“He showed us he is the right guy for the job.”

Projects done at the golf course in 2020 include some renovations to the club house kitchen, repairs to the roof from last year’s hailstorm and the construction of new tee-boxes.

“We had a fairly ambitious job list of projects to get going,” said Pawsey.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic hitting in March, the opening of the golf course was delayed a few weeks while the province grappled with how to go about safely opening the facilities.

“We cancelled our June events, but were able to host them in July,” said Pawsey.

“We had the Iron Man in September. We’ve had all our same events; we’ve just had them at different times this year.”

In addition to the projects completed and events held, the year to date has been successful financially for the club as well, with increased memberships and green fees – something that Pawsey attributes to, “Being the only game in town,” due to the fact that ball, soccer, and many other usual summer sports were shut down this year.

However, Pawsey is hopeful that the club manages to carry its successful 2020 into 2021.

“We’d love to see the same level of memberships come back to us next year,” said Pawsey.

“I think that’s on the incline.”

As for the remainder of 2020 and beyond, the golf course is entering its fall wind-up phase, preparing to overwinter the course.

As part of that winterization work, the crew will be out aerating the course and laying sod on the new tee-boxes to give it a jump on growing in the spring.

Looking to the future, the course is also planning to expand its patio to allow for increased social distancing and is currently waiting on a grant to possibly further develop the driving range at the south end of the course.

If the grant is received, the plan is to fence in the driving range and add a ball collector to allow more efficient use of the range and allow for better lessons to be conducted.

“We’ve done a lot between this year, and those couple of projects next year,” said Pawsey.

“We’ve accomplished a lot.”

Pawsey was quick to point out that a lot of the work that’s been done at the course wouldn’t have happened if not for the volunteers who donated time and money to the various projects.

“We had a great turnout of people stepping out to help the golf course,” said Pawsey.

“We hope that continues on for next year.”

Despite the optimism for the year to date, Pawsey cautions that there are still challenges ahead, most notably with the annual Christmas party fundraiser that accounts for $10,000 to $15,000 of the course’s annual income.

“We’re not sure if we’re going to be able to have it this year due to limitations,” said Pawsey.

Currently, indoor events such as the Christmas party are limited to 50 people by the Province of Alberta, due to pandemic restrictions.

“We’re kind of hoping that the Province updates those numbers by mid- to late-October,” said Pawsey.

“It makes it hard to plan things.”

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