It’s one thing to play a sport and enjoy it but another to play it and then later on get something back from it as it applies to your future.
That’s exactly the outcome for two former junior golfers who played out of Gull lake Golf Course, a neat little par three course on the west side of the body of water it’s named after.
Kaylee Motley has worked at the course in various capacities from helping with tournaments to serving up meals as well as manning the front desk.
She was also a junior golfer at Gull Lake which she literally called home.
“I grew up on the course here. I just lived on (hole) number five,” said the 23-year-old who was a part of the junior membership for many years.
“I learned a lot of different skills from it like leadership and teamwork and being respectful to everybody.”
As such, she was able to apply for a scholarship through the Junior Golf Foundation at the course in order to continue her schooling in the fine arts program at Red Deer College and then in Ontario.
“I’ve been applying for a few years now and I’m in my last year of my program so it’s been a big help,” she said.
Another former junior member who tapped into the scholarship money is Brandon Regnier who now collects a paycheque as a general manager and head professional golfer in Whitecourt these days.
But it all started for him on the links at Gull Lake some 14 years ago.
“My dad used to drop me off before work and I would play nine or 10 rounds and then he’d pick me up when he was done work. It was a great way to learn,” he said.
He certainly got his money’s worth from the course as a junior and a little more as he also benefitted from the Junior Golf Foundation resources when he finished high school.
“This is where I started and I probably wouldn’t have ever got into the golf business without the help of (course owners) Eamon and Carla (McCann).
“So when I went to school for my business education at Grant MacEwan they actually gave me a scholarship when I moved on from here. It was greatly appreciated and that helps a ton.”
The Foundation has doled out more than $50,000 to former juniors over the nine years it’s been in place and with more than 100 juniors in the program it seems more scholarship recipients are waiting in the wings.
The success of the program is due to the hard work of the committee at Gull Lake which pieces together a great weekend of golf with professionals like former United States Open winner Sandra Palmer lending a hand, sharing their extensive golf knowledge.
“To see all these young people out here to play and their parents and grandparents out here supporting them is great,” she said.
Regnier says the fact a little course like Gull Lake is doing what it does to help former members and support the game bodes well for the future of the sport.
“It’s growing the game of golf and it’s one of the games that maybe isn’t growing at a huge rate and for a place like this to be able to help that out is huge.”
This was the ninth year for the Foundation’s golf weekend and there are plans for an even bigger event next year to mark the tenth anniversary.