Special Olympic British Columbia athletes hit the links with Golf Canada

(Golf Canada Archives)

Golf Canada gave Special Olympics BC (SOBC) athletes and coaches the opportunity to showcase their abilities and hone their skills at the CN Future Links Pacific Championship in Kamloops on May 11.

Twenty-five golfers from SOBC – 100 Mile House, Kamloops, Kelowna, Quesnel, Surrey, Trail, and Victoria opened the day with a nine-hole competition, followed by a clinic for the athletes and SOBC coaches with a PGA of Canada professional to cover key lessons from the day.

The top-scoring female golfer was SOBC – Victoria’s Kelsey Simpson, and the top-scoring male golfer was Ryan Courtemanche of SOBC – Kelowna.

Golf is one of SOBC’s fastest-growing sports, and the support from Golf Canada provides great opportunities to help build the game.

“For the past two years we’ve been working with Golf Canada on a partnership, and this is the outcome of that partnership. This is the first time that Special Olympics athletes have been a part of their series,” Special Olympics Canada Vice President, Sport, Blair McIntosh told CFJC.

There are now 1,675 registered Special Olympics golfers nationally, including approximately 400 in B.C. The Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver had the first National Games golf competition, and Special Olympics Team Canada 2015 marked the first time the national team included golfers.

This spring and summer, there will be great SOBC competition on greens and fairways around the province as Golf Regional Qualifiers are being hosted by SOBC – Creston (May 14), Kamloops (June 18), Surrey (July 2), Sunshine Coast (July 10 for Regions 4 and 5), Victoria (June 12), and Quesnel (June 25 to 26). For all except SOBC – Sunshine Coast, this will be their first time hosting Golf Regional Qualifiers. Competitors are seeking to advance to the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games.

SOBC – Kamloops golfer Andrew Mitchell told CFJC that he first started playing golf at age six or seven, but subsequently stepped away from it, and Special Olympics brought him back in.

“I like being able to get out with friends and family members. It’s just kind of a fun game to play. You get better at it as you go,” Mitchell said.

SOBC – Victoria’s Scott Jones seemed to have a great day on the links in Kamloops.

“This is a great life. Golf is my dream, golf is my business, golf is my blood. Golf is my everything,” he told CFJC.