Akokiniskway golf course to host charity tournament for razed Fort McMurray club
The Akokiniskway golf course will be hosting their annual Rosebud Community Golf Day on Friday, July 8, and this year organizers have chosen to donate all proceeds to the Fort McMurray Golf Club, whose clubhouse and dozens of golf carts were destroyed in the wildfires early May. Akokiniskway owner Albert Clark said the disaster in Fort McMurray and the outpouring of support for the displaced there led organizers to lend a hand.
“I know they’re in trouble there. I like seeing a community giving to another community, especially those of the same passion,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Fort McMurray Golf Club GM Michael Gillan.
“Whether your postal code or province is different, we still go through the same struggles whether it’s turf conditions, a downturn in the economy, or whatever.” Gillan said the clubhouse at his course was completely destroyed by the wildfires, but the club has been operating out of a trailer since reopening the driving range to the public on June 10.
“Part of our goal was to get the community back into some sort of order. We opened to tons of fanfair – people came down and told stories about the fire and got away from their daily grind of bottled water and no homes and just came out to smash some golf balls.” Gillan said when he and his staff first saw the smoke of the wildfires there wasn’t a sense of panic. Wildfires happen often in the area, and the golf club is situated on the opposite side of the Athabasca River. “We couldn’t see the width, depth, or magnitude of the fire, but there was smoke and soot in the air. There still wasn’t the sense that disaster was coming. We met at the top of our hill to do a head count of our staff. And it was like ‘OK everybody, take care and we’ll talk tomorrow,’ thinking it’d be a day or two until we were back to work. Two hours later there was a sense that this was way bigger than anyone thought,” said Gillan. While none of his staff were hurt, he said a couple employees lost their living spaces in the fire, but the PGA, Canadian Society of Club Managers, and Canadian Golf Superintendent Association all stepped up and offered jobs to staff members who were displaced.
“Golf is a fraternity. We’re guilty by association. We live the profession and love it, and generally golfers are good people trying to help out good people.”
The Rosebud Community Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Friday, July 8 and starts at 9 a.m., and along with all day golfing includes a tournament dinner and a silent and live auction. For more information contact the Akokiniskway Golf Course.
All proceeds of the Rosebud Community Memorial Golf Tournament on July 8 will go towards the Fort McMurray Golf Club, which lost its clubhouse in the wildfires that ravished the city in early May.