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Moose Jaw trio launches golf promotion medium

Written by Clark Stork
Photos courtesy Riverside employee Nicholas Gabruch

Three golfing buddies in Moose Jaw are hoping to help promote golf and courses across Saskatchewan.

Drive the Green launched earlier this year as a media engine including a podcast and website. Matt Hetherington is one of the partners. He said the three Hillcrest Golf Club members decided to start the podcast because the group spends hours talking about the sport.

“There’s a lot of places in the province that people don’t know about,” Hetherington told Golf Saskatchewan. “If we can put some marketing materials together for them and push it out to the province I think it only helps. There’s 150 to 200 courses in this province, you can get the full golf experience without travelling too far.”

One of the groups’ first endeavours was breaking down a small list of the best courses across Saskatchewan according to their experiences playing the tracks. Difficulty, length, scenery, and overall condition were criteria Drive the Green used to create a top-five list. Hetherington said the three did have two honourable mentions, Katepwa Beach Golf Club and the Legends in Warman. Hetherington said both courses could move up their list in the future.

“It’s a beautiful course with everything you want in a course but unfortunately it’s nine holes,” he said of Katepwa. “If they could ever find a way to fit another nine in there they would be in our top-five for sure.”

Hetherington said the Legends simply needs more time to develop and fill in.

Deer Valley outside Regina was listed at number five. Hetherington said the course has had ground shifting issues over recent years but is bouncing back.

“Deer Valley has trees, it’s got trouble, it makes you work for your shots. They are starting to rebuild tee boxes and things like that. Deer Valley is a course with living in Moose Jaw is a treat to drive to, it’s always a fun time there.”

Saskatchewan golf hotspots Waskesiu and Elk Ridge came in fourth and second on the list, respectively. Hetherington said the Prince Albert area courses are obviously must play.

“With the Lobstick tree at Waskesiu it’s probably one of Saskatchewan’s most known courses, it’s a fun course to play. Elk Ridge is right beside it which is essentially Waskesiu on steroids. Elk Ridge has the whole package, it made two on our list just because of that. The resort and stay and play packages, they have 27 holes, if you play the right two it’s a long course. You are using every club in your bag,” Hetherington said.

Dakota Dunes Golf Links came in at number three on the group’s list. The host of the 2018 Golf Saskatchewan Men’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships is one of Hetherington’s favourites.

“The course itself is the classic links style that I like to play a lot. They are getting tour stops and events coming through there, the Dunes is getting known, we had to include it,” he said.

The number one course on the list was the lone Saskatchewan course to make ScoreGolf’s top 100 list earlier this year is the Riverside in Saskatoon. Hetherington said the acknowledgement on a national level wasn’t his group’s lone attraction.

“It’s a beautiful course, it’s a private course so the Riverside is always in unbelievable condition, that helps with knowing what you are going to get when you go there. Obviously, you need a way to play it but if you get the opportunity you can’t pass it up,” he said.

The trio expected some backlash from their list with it being so small. The group is the first to admit upwards of 20 courses missed out. They are hoping to branch out next season and cover different categories such as diamond in the rough, outside major centres, or a break down based on population. For now, the tandem is hoping to get people talking about the sport and it’s Saskatchewan gems.

The group has recorded over 30 podcasts covering different topics and featured TSN golf analyst Bob Weeks during an episode. They also hope to expand their services into fundraising tournament management. This past season they relaunched a Labour Day event at the Hillcrest with positive results.