Wow, it's been a while since we've brought this blog back to life. We experienced some pretty unprecedented growth in 2016 and 2017, along with still working full time jobs outside of the Tour, so some things definitely fell by the wayside. But here we are, back, and better than ever! We are going to give you a more well-rounded look at the industry we all know and love, and some behind the scenes insights into how the Tour is run.
First things first: You hear "us" and "we" all the time, but who is "us" and "we"? Collectively, it's everyone who plays on the Alberta Golf Tour. After all, "we" do all of this for all of you.
Allow "us" to introduce ourselves. Meet Leah Bathgate-Snethun, the founder and President of the Alberta Golf Tour. Leah has worked in the golf industry for the past 10 years helping spearhead the way for golf marketing in Alberta. She's worked with several courses in the Calgary area such as Priddis Greens, Blue Devil, Inglewood, and Country Hills. She's an expert relationship builder, and she believes this is the foundation of every successful sales and marketing plan. She's a mom to a tremendous 10-year-old golfer (seriously, he's annoyingly talented), Flames-turned-Oilers fan, a now silent Roughriders fan, fitness fanatic, Kinesiology graduate, mediator, motivational speaker. She also thinks it's super awkward to talk about herself in 3rd person.
You probably haven't seen much of Leah on social media because she's usually the one behind the camera and posts, or busy rounding up the masses to make sure everyone is ready for her to announce their names on the first tee on time, or not pressuring people into playing snips every round. She spent the first couple of years doing it all herself, until the Tour grew so much, that a group of eager and loyal players insisted they help her, and began calling themselves her Minions (to which she always gets looks from the golf pro's like, "they let you talk to them that way?" "hey, it was their word!"). Lovingly referred to as "The Prez", Leah and her Minions (officially referred to as the Player Advisory Committee) make sure every single tournament is a consistent, exceptional experience run like a well-oiled machine. We'll talk more about this in later posts.
"But can she golf?" If you saw her scores lately, you'd probably say no. Once an 8 handicap in 2012, she's now a comfortable 12-13 and probably not getting better any time soon. Her 10 year old even beat her at the 2017 Presidents Cup match play tournament... 5&4. She's better suited to give people crap for pace of play anyway.
So, if you ever send an email or comment on a post, now you know who you're talking to! We had a few players interrupt Leah (pronounced Lee-ah) at the Championship Dinner this year - one of the few times she's in front of the camera - let's hear what they had to say (who said that comment at the end by the way? #newAGTslogan ?):
Well, the tournament season is officially upon us, and the first Major of the year is over. So many of you put hard work and lots of preparation and strategy into this 2-day Stableford event. $96 was given away as 50/50 and the other half was donated to the Red Cross for Fort McMurray Fire Relief. And with everyone participating in the side snips games, there was some extra incentive on the line!
The D Flight was a close one - tied after the first round, but Gordon Desjarlais of Red Deer found his groove on the 2nd day and came out victorious.
The C Flight featured a great battle between the 12-16 handicap players, some being thankful for the Stableford format not penalizing them for a couple blowup holes. Tour Rookie Lewis Klinck, also from Red Deer, snagged his first [Major] victory on the AGT!
To have a B Flighter shoot the same Stableford score as the Champ Flight is an impressive feat. Only ahead of Leduc's Clem Lozeau by 1 point after the first round, Calgary's Jordan Kopelchuk fired a 2nd round 31 points to take his first tournament on the Alberta Golf Tour.
Arguably the most nail-biter finish happened in the A Flight between Thomas Reid of Airdrie and Mike Rowe of Fort McMurray. Tied after the first round, Mike was heading into the 18th hole on day 2 with a 1 point lead. After Thomas hit his 18th tee shot fat with no line to the green, Mike thought he had it in the bag with a par. Thomas hit a blind high fade 5 iron from 250 on top of the hill, ended up stuffing it to 4 feet and made the birdie for the win.
After an unbelievable round of 73 and 34 Stableford points on day 1, Brad Borggard had a 6 point lead going into day 2. Tim Boston was able to close the gap, but not quite enough, and Brad came out on top of the Champ Flight in the first Major of the season.
For full results from all Flights, click here.
Congratulations to all who played! Our next events are:
Saturday, June 4 @ Coal Creek
Monday, June 6 @ Cottonwood
Saturday, June 11 @ Riverbend
Monday, June 13 @ Springbank
Don't forget to register, as they close a week prior to the tournament. In the mean time, check out the highlight reel from Canmore, and catch y'all soon!
On New Year’s Day, I re-posted a picture from Golf Digest on my Alberta Golf Tour page that got some trolling replies – something I don’t usually see. “Golf is an old man sport” or “Kayaking – because football and golf only require one ball.” Sometimes I get so caught up in how exciting I find the game and growing it in my own way, that I forget that this is still a common perception. Unless you play it and understand how obsessed we get over it, golf isn’t known for being a “cool” sport. Hell, some people argue it isn’t even a sport.
This is an amazing sports weekend in general – Hockey Day in Canada celebrating the annual Kraft Hockeyville winner, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and of course, the Superbowl. If you’re a sports fan in any way, this is a big weekend for you. But here are 7 things I see the Waste Management Phoenix Open does for golf:
1.You can walk on the playing field.
In what other sport are the fans allowed to walk on the same area that the players are competing on? It really gives fan a personal experience with the game with an up-close look at the athletes, and relies on the fans to act with respect and integrity (no matter how belligerent they may be).
2.The athletes compete for your love on 16.
Where else do you see the athletes throwing goodies and swag to the crowds in the middle of their competition? It’s pretty simple math: you want fans, you give swag.
3.Your tee shot WILL be cheered or booed on 16.
Even the most liked players (i.e. Rickie, Phil) will be booed for not hitting the green on this hole, so you might as well go along with it. Don’t expect silence when you’re teeing off here. The crowd is on your side and wants to cheer for you, but they will boo you if you mess up. No pressure.
4.Raises A LOT of money for A LOT of charities.
There are literally HUNDREDS of charities listed on the Waste Management Phoenix Open website. They have raised over $100 million for charity. So even if you don’t agree with the partying going on at 16, you can still appreciate where the proceeds are going. Plus, what other sports event sees over 200,000 spectators in one day?! (I’ll give you a hint: the Superbowl attendance record is just over 100,000.)
5.Puts golf on the same level as other professional sports.
You can buy beer, cheer, party, place bets – not things golf is typically known for. The culture around this tournament allows people to not take golf as such a “serious” sport.
6.Allows athletes to feel the excitement of other more heavily spectated sports.
Since I mentioned them earlier in this article – the NHL and NFL get to experience what’s on hole 16 at every single game. Have you heard the roar on 16? Like, actually heard the roar? On Sunday, when the leader makes a birdie and the crowds go wild? These guys don’t get enough of that!
7.Brings in the non-golfers to appreciate and grow our sport.
Again, the beers and cheers are too few and far between during the PGA Tour season. This tournament draws so many new golf fans due to the atmosphere on 16, and hopefully helps grow the game to people who haven’t truly experienced it before.
And might I say… love ‘em or hate ‘em, Rickie’s high tops work for him. It’s great to see a humble, modern player like him finally start winning tournaments like he has been over the past 9 months. He does great things for the game (as do many of the other young up-and-comers) and I hope we keep seeing great things from him!
I’m sure all golfers can appreciate when I say this weekend inspires me and re-starts my golf engine. The countdown to the Masters officially starts now. The countdown to this damn snow melting starts now. I'd be surprised if golf retailers didn't see an increase in sales this weekend, and all I know is now I cannot wait for golf season to start again!
See you on the links in a couple short months!!
- Leah "The Prez"
Sorry we are a couple days late for this one - there was a big party to prepare for then packing up and heading back to Alberta! First of all... a huge thank you to everyone who attended the Championship. From the players, to caddies, to significant others there for support, it all means the world to all of us! And also a huge thank you to Copper Point Golf Club who were gracious enough to put up with all of our antics for all 4 days and were the best hosts we ever could have asked for! They offered up the courses for all of our evening competitions and put up with some increased traffic in the Clubhouse and Pro Shop. We seriously could not have asked for more.
Pictures and video will be on their way in a week - we are in the process of moving before the end of the week so lots of things going on! But here's a list of our winners in the mean time:
Putting Contest: Brian Payne
Long Drive: Champ Flight: Andrew Cook (350 yards); A Flight: Brian Payne (298 yds); Ladies: Sandra Schell (240 yds)
Big Break Competition: Clem Lozeau and Shaun Collard
Altered Course: Andrew Cook (2:10 with 5 strokes)
Horse Race: cancelled due to weather
Thank you to everyone who participated in the evening events! We had such a blast. And finally, congratulations to our 2015 Alberta Golf Tour Flight Champions!
Champ Flight: Chris Patterson
A Flight: Brian Payne
B Flight: Sandra Schell
C Flight: Carson Papke
D Flight: Amanda McAstocker
Click here for full results from the entire #AGTChampionship! Check your email next week for your official AGT Canalta Cup invites! (Order of Merit and AGT Bucks will be updated next week as well)
The weather today started not too bad and the players were able to finish the front 9 without worrying too much. The wind picked up at that point (and the awesome staff at Copper Point helped an emergency take down of the tent that was attempting to be a parachute!) and the rain, lightning and thunder wasn't too far behind. It was definitely a challenge out there today, and as usual we saw some great scores and some struggles.
The afternoon horse race ended up being cancelled after the players waited half an hour for the wind and rain to potentially back off.... but it didn't cooperate. But, we had a fun time hanging out during that time anyway!
Tomorrow is going to be a great competition and we are really looking forward to crowning our new 2015 AGT Flight Champions! Click here for full results on the day 3 rounds.
Well... to say we had an eventful day would be an understatement. We had a 1-foot-in-the-pond shot to make a par save (totally worth it) for the round of the day. We had eagles and birdies and pars and quads from unsuspecting people. In fact... one of our "eagles" was actually the Alberta Golf Tour's FIRST EVER Hole-in-One!!! What a time to do it! Congratulations to Brian Payne who was also the winner of last night's putting competition and long drive. The "senior" came to play this week indeed! :)
Probably one of the most entertaining and fun golf times many of the players had was experiencing the Big Break Competition this evening. There was a flop wall, a V-tree, deep bunker, and a few other skill testing shots. The tallies are still being added up and we'll announce the winners at the Awards Dinner on Saturday. Then, in a turn of events from a challenge of caddie races... we decided to hold our own Altered Course competition! Players were timed from the moment we waved our flag to when the ball was in the cup, with the number of strokes being added to the minutes portion of their time. We will be surprising everyone with the results on Saturday as well. What a great night and a ton of fun with everyone! Give me a few weeks to make up a highlight reel.
We're back at it in the morning at Copper Point Golf Club on the par 62 Ridge Course. This is many players' first times playing these courses, and we've received some comments about playing an "executive" course. Let me say, the management of Copper Point and myself are truly looking forward to the test of golf this course provides (and they'll happily like to see any of you back should you want to redeem yourself later).
Click here to see the results from today's round, and we'll talk to you all tomorrow!
Well, the first day of the 2015 AGT Championship is over and it's pretty safe to say we had a great time out there today! Thank you to the staff at Greywolf for a great experience and amazing conditions. It was almost everybody's first time out there and they loved it!
We followed up the round with an awesome meeting at the Copper Point Resort discussing the future of the Tour. Thank you to everybody for attending this meeting and providing so much feedback! It is much appreciated and the future of the Tour is looking very bright thanks to eager and loyal players like you.
Then we made our way over to Copper Point Golf Club and enjoyed a great putting competition and long drive contest hosted by Copper Point's Head Professional Scott McClain (AKA: Copper Scott). With an impressive 3 way tie for first place in the putting competition, wise Brian Payne taught the young guys a lesson getting closest to the hole in a 1-ball putt-off from the most difficult location. Congratulations Brian!!
The group made their way over to the 3rd tee on the Point course to hit long drives into the setting sun on this visually pleasing par 5. Andrew Cook smoked his driver 350 yards winning the Champ Flight, with Chris Patterson coming in 2nd with 317 and Mike Rowe in 3rd with a 310. In the A Flight, Brian Payne once again showed off his skills hitting a very impressive 298! "The Prez" Leah Bathgate showed her players she could hit a ball with the best of them with a 241, with Sandra Schell continuing to try to out drive her, but rolling back down the hill to a 238! Amanda McAstocker hit an impressive 181.
The fun is just beginning! Tomorrow we play Radium Springs for Round 2. Click here for full results from the 1st round of the 2015 AGT Championship at Greywolf. Talk to you tomorrow!
Can you believe the 2015 regular season is now over?! We sure can't. What an amazing year the Tour has had making stops all over Alberta (Calgary, Canmore, Edmonton, Ponoka, Innisfail, Turner Valley, Sundre, Camrose), and lots of our players have had some success in the Alberta Golf Provincial Tournaments as well! We are already looking forward to next season... but first, the Championship and Canalta Cup!
Today was the smallest group we've had all year, but it might have been one of the most fun. We played a 75% net stableford format, and since there weren't too many of us, we decided to all compete against each other! We had some strong scores out there, and a couple of great caddies helping their players out. The greens were soft and quick, and the sun was shining. It was a really tight race with the top 4 players only being 4 points apart. Brad Lafreniere snagged his second win of the season with 37 points, over another solid round by 2nd place Sandra Schell who got 35 points! Clem Lozeau was in 3rd with 34 and Tom Gramblicka in 4th with 33. Great shooting by a lot of people... and as you can see on the video... putts weren't going many people's way today... :)
Thank you all for an awesome 2015 season and we'll see you at the Championship!!
Click here for full results from today's tournament.
Well, folks! That wraps up our final Major of the year! What a great weekend we had out in Sundre playing two amazing golf courses. If you've never made it up to Coyote Creek or Sundre Golf Club... you're really missing out. Both are in tremendous shape all the time and are absolute gems.
We had an excellent field out this weekend with four good sized Flights. We had perfect weather on Friday at Coyote Creek, with our awesome sponsor Wild Rose Brewery being there to hand out beer to the players as they came off 18, then ended the night with some food, drink, and laughs. We also had 8 first-timers out this weekend which was awesome as well! We always like seeing new faces and making new friends. The camaraderie on the Alberta Golf Tour is second to none. You only need to play one event to see what we're talking about... and luckily, we have one more left on Saturday, August 8 in Camrose!
Alright, let's get to the Major. We had players between 0 and 27 handicaps playing this weekend - we have a spot for ANY golfer! Some of the biggest highlights were some of the great scores we saw by the Champ Flight. After hole 7, Greg Charpentier was 4 under with Scott Wissler being 1 under! Wissler held steady at 1 under for the round while Charpentier finished at a personal best Even for round 1. Three-time winner Andrew Cook was 4 shots back at 3-over with the rest of the field a few more strokes out. For the final round at Sundre Golf Club, the Champ Flighters were the last group out and got sent off the course on before hole 5. As play resumed, some haunting bogeys showed up. The 9 Player Flight made 5 birdies all day, compared to 18 the day before. With scores bouncing back and forth all day, Charpentier came from behind to win by 1 stroke shooting an 80 to Wissler's 82. It was a hard fought battle by all the guys in this Flight and we got to see some really great golf out there.
The A Flight was anything but boring this week. There is A LOT at stake at Majors, especially this late in the season. When we've got double Order of Merit Points on the line, double Prizing, and a Championship entry on the line, these tournaments matter. When there is an unfortunate rulings decision that could potentially cause a 2-stroke penalty on multiple participants, that's a huge bummer. After much deliberation with 4 rules officials, only 1 person incurred the 2-stroke penalty. Clem Lozeau's lead after round 1 in the A Flight went from 1 to 3, with Rick Cloney, Greg Forsythe, and Brian Payne all looking to fight for victory the next round. Cloney shot another solid round, with Clem Lozeau coming in with a 2-round tying score which pushed these two into a playoff. We caught every shot of the playoff on the video - you gotta see these guys play! Congratulations to Rick Cloney for overcoming the struggles this weekend and playing some very good golf!
It's not often you come across a player who can shoot their handicap consistently in tournament golf. Usually nerves get the most of people, but this player seems to never waver from steady play. To have had the pleasure to watch this player improve from being a 23 handicap just a few short years ago... to consistently shooting low to mid 80's and winning tournaments all over the place has been amazing. Sandra Schell finished the first round at with an 82 giving her a 3-stroke lead over Robert Squibb. Squibby struggled a bit on Day 2, but Karen Kost and Stacy Lindberg exploded with some low scores at Sundre! Excellent playing by both of them, but it was too late to get ahead of Schell, who shot another soid 83 to win by 7 strokes, and lock up the Order of Merit Point Standings, which awards her the FREE ENTRY into the Championship!!! Congratulations Sandra!!
Our C Flight saw 3 new players, which is really exciting for us! We understand how intimidating it can be to sign up for a tournament when you are a higher handicap player, but rest assured you will only play with golfers of the same skill level - PLUS, they know how to have the most fun. It was a great weekend for these guys and gals who were 20+ handicaps and we saw some great golf from them too! To quote 4th place finisher Mike Stewart, "I made more birdies in these two rounds than I have in the past two years!" That's what happens when you're having fun and learning from other players! It was Gordon Desjarlais with the best round of the first round shooting a 90! Ryan Powell wasn't too far behind him with a 94. These guys made some pretty awesome shots both rounds... and it was very cool to see the improvement in all of these players just over a 2-day span. Gordon had a rough end to the tournament with a double on 18, but still locked up the C Flight with a 10-stroke victory. Congratulations!
The Mid-Tournament reception was a ton of fun and it was a blast having the chance to get to hang out together outside of the golf course! We're all really looking forward to the Championship now, but we still have one more Stableford Tournament to go at Camrose! If you've been wondering what the Alberta Golf Tour is all about, this is the perfect one to test out. No pressure, lots of fun, welcoming, nice people. It's time to come experience the AGT before the season is over!
Click here for full results from the Central Alberta Major.
The Alberta Golf Tour is Alberta's only premier flighted amateur competition open to all skill levels, ages, and genders.