The PGA of Saskatchewan Callaway Pro Am Experience
Cooke Municipal Golf Course in Prince Albert once again proved to be one of the top golf event facilities in Saskatchewan as they hosted 96 of Saskatchewan’s golfers at the PGA of Saskatchewan Callaway Pro Am on June 24, 2019.
If you’ve never participated in a PGA of Saskatchewan Pro Am, you’ll want to talk to your local PGA of Saskatchewan Professional and find out how you can tee it up alongside one of Saskatchewan’s “leaders in the game of golf”. In a Pro Am, you have 3 amateur golfers, young and old, teaming up with a Professional and compete as a team in a Stableford Points competition. The Callaway Pro Am used a best 3 out of 4 scores for each hole, allowing one of the team members to rinse a ball in the water and not affect the team score too badly, or the overall mojo of the team. The real value in playing in any Pro Am is the rare experience of interacting with your Professional for an entire day, possibly two if you tee it up for a practice round.
A typical Pro Am experience goes something like this. Load up your 4 player team the day before the Pro Am and travel to the host course for a practice round. Be treated to a special practice round green fee rate and enjoy playing one of Saskatchewan’s golf courses that is in premium condition. Host golf courses use the opportunity of hosting a Pro Am to showcase their facility to their fellow Professionals and amateur golfers from throughout the province. I guarantee every golfer that played in the Callaway Pro Am returned to their regular work routine and raved to anyone who would listen about the amazing course conditions of the Cooke Municipal Golf Course. After the practice round, you typically patronize the local golf club and enjoy a few post round beverages with your team and treat yourself to a nice dinner. Check into a local hotel or cabin and day one of the Pro Am experience is complete.
On Pro Am day, you’ll want to stop in at the local Tim Horton’s for your morning coffee, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at the host golf club, and get ready for a full day of golf camaraderie. We have to once again mention that you are traveling and socializing with a PGA of Saskatchewan Professional, and if you pick your spots carefully, there’s nothing wrong with asking the Professional for assistance with holes in your golf game. In fact, it’s encouraged. You’ll notice that Professionals are much more at ease talking about golf and helping you with your game when they are not positioned behind the pro shop counter answering phones or attending to any of their multiple duties at their golf club. Watching the Professionals interact with the amateurs and their fellow Professionals during a Pro Am experience is truly refreshing.
Following breakfast, the golf course awaits your team and you’ll instantly know you’re in for a special day with the Callaway banners and PGA of Saskatchewan banners neatly displayed around the putting green and first tee. You’ll want to be prepared to have your regular warm up routine sidetracked as you will no doubt be shaking hands and catching up with many familiar faces. Yes, the Professionals are noticeably excited for the day, but amateur golfers are equally ecstatic as they meet up with some of their golfing friends that they have played with in provincial golf events over the years. We spotted many of Saskatchewan’s top golfing talent participating in the event including; local golf legend Martin Ring, top amateur golfers Brad Moser, Kathy Ziglo, Ian Laroque and George Janson, just to name a few. In the practice round, we were lucky enough to have Martin Ring join us, and that was worth the price of admission right there. Come to think of it, we are two for two this year when it comes to enjoying great local Prince Albert hospitality in golf events at Cooke Golf Course. Last month we were paired with Cooke Municipal Golf Course’s PGA of Saskatchewan Assistant Professional Ryan Wells at the 2 Person Team Championship, where he went on to win that event and was the low Professional at this Callaway Pro Am with a tidy 3 under par 68. The Ryan Wells squad also captured the Low Team honors at the Callaway Pro Am, with amateur members Andy Dexter, Trevor Ring and Brett Blakely.
As the shotgun goes off to begin play on Pro Am day, it only takes one hole for all team members to quickly engage in the team aspect of the event and provide full support to each other. If reading greens is your achilles heel, bring in your Professional to help you nail down the line. Again, it’s encouraged. It also takes just one hole to realize you are lucky to be playing a golf course in such great condition
Our Professional, Steve Ryde, couldn’t have been more patient and supportive as multiple golf balls from our team members were sent soaring off into some surprising locations throughout the Cooke Municipal Golf Course. All of us brought our “B” game, but the Pro Am experience is so little about individual accomplishments and all about enjoying the company of some of your best golfing friends.
If you’re like our team, you’re most likely going to immediately pay attention to the exciting live scoring aspect of the event. After a shaky start, resulting in a few holes with doughnuts for points, we saw ourselves publicly listed as the cellar dwellars on the live scoring app. Aware of our standings, and quite frankly embarrassed, we all stepped up our game and finished a very respectable 16th overall in the team competition.
On a side note, one of the best introductions when it comes to engagement in the golf industry has been the emergence of live scoring in golf events. Professional and amateur events utilizing live scoring provides participants with a heightened level of engagement and overall excitement during the entire round. There are many providers of live scoring software, including Impact Tournament Systems (used by the PGA of Saskatchewan), Golf Genius, Gallus Golf, Easy Golf Tour and more. We are personally looking forward to using Easy Golf Tour at the upcoming Scotia Wealth Management Saskatoon Amateur Golf Championship. If you are saddled with the duties of running your office golf tournament, you’ll want to look into implementing live scoring and online registration, effectively saving you countless hours in managing your event.
Following play, golfers are treated to a buffet dinner, followed by the prize presentation. More handshakes follow as all golfers chat with their golfing friends and depart back to their respective cities. If your team traveled from cities like Regina to Prince Albert, you are once again provided an amazing opportunity to learn more about your local PGA of Saskatchewan Professional on the drive home.
Golf events throughout Saskatchewan could not be the success they are without the ongoing support and sponsorship from not only the leading golf manufacturers such as Callaway, but from the corporate community as well. Amateur events in particular have been popular due to the financial support from businesses such as Scotia Wealth Management, Regina Dental Group, ICR, Reliance Gregg’s and many more. Amateur golf, and sports in general throughout Saskatchewan, have greatly benefitted from the corporate support. Blaine Arnold, Branch Manager at Scotia Wealth Management in Saskatoon, along with Dean Prosky and the entire Scotia Wealth Management team have stepped up this year to provide event sponsorship to two of Saskatchewan’s top golf events. Scotia Wealth Management has been supporting many sports initiatives throughout the province, including intercity hockey, football and other sports, injecting thousands of dollars into sports. On behalf of the golf industry, big thanks to all sponsors who continue to grow the game of golf here in Saskatchewan.
When it comes to the overall value of playing in a Pro Am, it’s one of the best experiences you’ll have in golf. Playing a golf course in peak condition, on course closest to the pin prizes and overall team prizes, enjoying the company of your Professional and amateur partners away from the office for a couple of days, all add up to an ideal summer golf experience.
Huge thanks and congratulations to PGA of Saskatchewan Head Professional Darcy Myers, along with the entire staff at Cooke Municipal Golf Course, for providing such a memorable day for all of the Callaway Golf Pro Am participants.
We already have a couple more tournaments and Pro Ams lined up this summer, including the Reliance Gregg’s Central Amateur Golf Tournament at Saskatoon Golf & Country Club and the Saskatchewan Amateur & Mid Am Championships. As much as I enjoy competitive golf as an individual, it’s the Pro Am experiences that really get me geared up. There’s nothing more satisfying than the relaxing team golf experience, playing alongside a PGA of Saskatchewan Professional.
See you at the next event.
By Scott Allan / SaskGolfer