From left: Ciril Habjan, Charlie Northrup, Bruce Graff and Thom Barker were the first group off the tee to open the 2021 season at Smithers Golf and Country Club April 27. (John Pierce photo)

Golf season gets underway at Smithers Golf and Country Club

Interior News editor Thom Barker reviews the golf course following his first round on opening day

Golf season dawned cool and overcast April 27, much like my chipping.

In what appears to be becoming a tradition, I was once again able to get out with the first group of the season for the third year running.

The first group off at 8 a.m. was me, Bruce Graff, Charlie Northrup and Cyril XXX. Yes, all men, on what was heralded as the first time ever opening day was scheduled for Ladies Night.

But, then again, that is typically how Ladies Night goes, with the women starting out in the afternoon and the morning tee times fair game for whoever wants to book.

After an abysmal summer last year, during which Smithers set records for both rainfall and cool temperatures — the course never really dried out — 2021 is off to a very promising start.

On Tuesday, there were only a few soggy patches (parts of the sixth and 15th fairways and in front of number 4 green fro example), but all in all, the course is drying out and greening up nicely.

And speaking of green, the greens, with a few exceptions (numbers 6, 7, 8 and 10) are in excellent conditions. Even number 9, which never really recovered from the previous winter last season until September, is mostly puttable at the moment.

Of course, when I say excellent, that is a relative assessment, but they are in great shape for April, to be sure. Certainly 100 per cent better than they were on opening day last year following brutally unfavourable conditions the previous winter.

On Tuesday, they were still a bit shaggy, but rolling and cutting continues and barring some kind of deluge, I expect we are in for a good season greens-wise.

The new sprinkler system is more or less in the ground. On 15, the trench has already healed over fairly well. On 14 and 12, it is still raw, but a local rule allows for the moving of golf balls that land on it.

There are a few interesting developments on the course.

Over the winter, the stand of trees along the left side of the 10th fairway was removed allowing a clear shot for those who want to brave going over the ravine for a short approach shot.

Greenskeeper Murray Grasdal is also in the process of expanding the ninth green.

Long the bane of mid-to-high handicappers — I was personally only on that green a handful of times last year despite landing on it regularly — number 9 will be widened toward the 10th tee box and lengthened to the back along the left-hand bunker. This will allow for more options for tee shots while still maintaining the opportunity for tough tournament pin placements.

Consequently, work will also commence on moving the back number 10 tees toward the clubhouse. The fence there will be moved back to accommodate that work.

Finally, a new forward tee box is going in on number 17 by the cart path right at the dog leg making it a straightaway hole for those using the forward tee.

I should also express some appreciation for all the people who took advantage of the paths being cleared during the winter. It appears dog walkers respected the club and picked up after their animals. I only saw one pile of doggy doo all morning.

Kudos to them.

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a great season at Smithers Golf and Country Club.



Charlie Northrup watches the first tee shot of the year soar toward the first fairway to open the 2021 golf season at Smithers Golf and Country Club April 27. (Thom Barker photo)

Ciril Habjan has the honour of the first tee shot to open the 2021 golf season at Smithers Golf and Country Club April 27. (Thom Barker photo)

Ciril Habjan has the honour of the first tee shot to open the 2021 golf season at Smithers Golf and Country Club April 27. (Thom Barker photo)

Just Posted

The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)
B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

Tahltan First Nation wildlife guardian, Jarett Quock, above and below right, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Leadership Award by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on June 3. (Photos courtesy Adam Amir)
Tahltan wildlife guardian receives outstanding leadership award

Jarett Quock’s contributions were recognised by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read