It is one of the longest running amateur golf tournaments in Alberta, maybe even the longest and it happens right here in Red Deer each long weekend in August.
The Sun Life Central Alberta Amateur covers three days at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club track and has been running since the club was founded in 1922 making this the 90th anniversary.
Over the years the tournament has evolved with the game of golf more than a dozen years ago some of the participants and organizers made a decision which made this tournament just that much better for so many more golfers.
“There used to be a cut so after two days you’d pack your bags and go home,” said Ken Frame, head professional at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.
That didn’t sit well with John Hunter and Jim McPherson, two long time course members and so they approached the board to make a change and eliminate the cut, said Frame who was a part of that group looking to make the change.
The result was a more inclusive golf tournament which still provided the competitive level that continues to attract some of the best amateur players from around the region and the province.
“It’s an event within and event and everybody gets to have fun,” said Frame, referring to the tournament format where there is a championship flight and nine other flights which has golfers playing all three days.
Over the years nobody has dominated the tournament like veteran amateur Frank Van Dornick from the Camrose area. He has his name on the winners’ plaque seven times. Others with multiple wins include Red Deerians Tom Skinner and Mitch Evanecz, both with three wins. Evanecz will not be back this year as he has joined the professional ranks but last year’s champion Jordan Krulicki, a former employee at the Club will be tested during his defence of his seven stroke victory.
“You know there’s lots of talent there and there’s 20 or 30 players who could easily win this event and we’re looking forward to the long weekend in August.”
There is also a very social aspect to the weekend with putting and chipping competitions, the fun horse race Saturday night which can provide some excitement and plenty of laughs, along with the competitive horse race Sunday night.
“There’s just lots to do and lots of social activities within the event,” said Frame.