CN Future Links Jr. Skills Challenge Brings Out The Best In Kids - On And Off The Course

CN Future Links Offers Junior Programs In Communities Across The Country For Boys & Girls From The Ages Of 6-18 - Image Courtesy CN Future Links

by Gino Cutri, British Columbia Golf

CN Future Links is Canada’s junior golf program allowing kids from the ages of 6 – 18 the opportunity to learn and play the game of golf through affordable and accessible programs. Eaglequest at Coyote Creek were proud to host their first ever CN Future Links Jr. Skills Challenge over the June 4-5th weekend.

The organizers and volunteers were pleased to have very positive feedback from the parents and kids alike, saying, “They really enjoyed the whole experience, and think it really motivates more young kids to get into golf and I think more of these events are going to be great for us in BC.”

Eaglequest happened to be the lone public golf facility to host a CN Future Links Jr. Skills Challenge and it was refreshing for parents to have an option for their kids to learn and play golf in the community.

“It’s nice to have a public setting, you can look at the group of kids that are here and they’re from all different backgrounds, and it’s a great experience to be able to have my sons play with these other boys and girls of all different ethnicities here on the public course,” said one father.

The junior skills challenge has the participants drive, chip, and putt from a variety of distances and locations, and then record their scores to be tallied at the conclusion of the event.

The top three kids from every age bracket across Canada will be rewarded with an RBC Canadian Open pass allowing them to go inside the ropes and meet some of the tour players and caddies. Scott Cranston the General Manager of Eaglequest golf says it’s an amazing opportunity for some lucky kids.

Although the Jr. Skills Challenge is a competition, the sportsmanship displayed by the kids was truly genuine. High fives, and cheers after every shot good or bad became the 'norm' early on in the day. It was a friendly reminder that golf is still just a game that’s ultimately about having fun.

Cranston is proud Eaglequest partnered with British Columbia Golf to run all their programs at both their Surrey and Coquitlam locations,“One of them is the skills competition, and then we’re offering mobile clinics between the two sites as well, and the girls club, and the junior club. So between the two sites we’re covering all of the offerings that are part of the Future Links program,” he said.

Looking ahead to next year Cranston wants to further increase the participation, and would love to expand the event to get more kids out playing and enjoying golf.

Click HERE to learn more about the CN Future Links programs.

Next Gen: The Next Opportunity For High Performance Golf

PGA Of Canada Pro Matt Wilson Has Been Named Golf Canada’s Director, Next Generation Performance To Lead Strategy To Strengthen Canadian Golf Development System

Golf Canada


Six months after golf made its historic return after 112 years to the Olympic Games, Golf Canada is adding a new layer to its high-performance programming to improve its support of its next generation of Canadian golfing talent.

Read more: Next Gen: The Next Opportunity For High Performance Golf

Eaglequest's CN Future Links 'Girls Club' Helping Girls Grow The Game

Eaglequest Coquitlam's Director Of Instruction Shiella Cowan Addresses Her Latest Group Of Young Girls Eager To Learn The Game - Image Credit Ezzabella Hernandez/British Columbia Golf

by Bryan Outram

The CN Future Links Girls’ Club website tells us the program is a developmental golf program essentially designed for girls 7-18 years of age. As members, young girls will develop the skills, attitudes and positive images of themselves as athletes on the golf course, encouraging both self-esteem and a life-long love of the game.

The Girls’ Club was developed to address the huge discrepancy between the numbers of young girls playing golf compared to the number of young boys. It aims not merely to attract girls to the game but also to help retain them longer.

The Girls Club has been held every Monday at Eaglequest Coquitlam since July 4th and is having a very positive affect according to Shiella Cowan, the Director of Instruction at Eaglequest in Coquitlam, who leads the event.

It's not a one-time event like many other CN Future Links programs, as it's a camp that the girls attend once a week from 5pm-7pm.

Cowan explains that part of the success of The Girls Club is that there really are not enough programs available out there aimed specifically at getting young girls involved and at the same time feeling comfortable in the environment. 

"For the most part the girls like the social aspect of the game whereas the boys always want to be competitive," says Cowan. "That's not the case every time, but it holds fairly true for the majority. I find we have better success by separating the boys and the girls."

For each event, the girls take part in some arts and crafts that are related to golf, for example, they may put together a golf notebook. After they spend some time doing the arts & crafts they then head outside to work on their chipping and putting. Lastly, they'll spend the final 30 minutes on the driving range to work on their long game.

British Columbia Golf Participation Intern Ezzabella Hernandez passed on that, "When I was around their age, I too, attended The Girls Club at Mayfair Lakes with Keri Moffat (now a British Columbia Golf Player Development Coach). I greatly enjoyed The Girls Club as it gave me a chance to meet other girls my age that played golf. You could say it was the bridge that pushed me to play golf more."

Of course programs of this nature are also benefitting from the recent success of Canada's newest young star, Brooke Henderson. Having rocketed into the limelight with her victories at the Cambia Portland Classic last year and subsequently becoming the 2nd youngest winner of an LPGA Major at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship she is no stranger to the impressionable young women taking up the game.

Cowan is again able to point to a positive in that she likes to use Henderson as an example of a great role model for her young students, because, as Cowan points out, "Brooke is super fit, she played hockey as a goalie so she has strong legs, and she has a terrific attitude. When I tell my students that she's 18-years old, they say, 'She's only 18? I want to be like her.' " 

So having the right people in charge of the right programs along with a role model to aspire to, there would appear to be at least two elements steering young girl's participation in golf in the right direction.

Another very intriguing note that Cowan makes is that there is a waiting list for junior girls to join the Vancouver Golf Club, which as she points out, "Must mean something good is happening."

To visit the Eaqlequest Coquitlam site CLICK HERE

To find out more about CN Future Links Girls Club CLICK HERE

George McLeod, BC's Bill Klein, Recognized As Co-Recipients Of Golf Canada’s Volunteer Of The Year Award

Bill Klein (L) & George McLeod (R) Volunteer Duo Recognized During Golf Canada’s 2017 Annual General Meeting - Image Courtesy Golf Canada

by Golf Canada

Toronto (Golf Canada) – Golf Canada is pleased to announce that Bill Klein of Parksville, B.C. along with George McLeod of Brandon, Man. have been named co-recipients of Golf Canada’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

The pair were acknowledged during the closing dinner of Golf Canada’s 2017 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, February 25th at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel.

“Volunteers are the driving force behind the success of golf in this country and we are proud to recognize both Bill Klein and George McLeod for their long tenured support of Canadian golf,” said Golf Canada President Roland Deveau. “Both of these deserving individuals have given back to the game at the provincial and national level and have been proud ambassadors for our sport in their communities.”

Each year in Canada, tens of thousands of committed volunteers help to support the game of golf in communities from coast to coast.

Now in its 11th year, candidates for Golf Canada’s Volunteer of the Year Award are put forth for consideration by the respective provincial golf associations in acknowledgment of significant contributions to the game of golf in their community.

BILL KLEIN – Parksville, B.C.

Bill Klein of Parksville, B.C. has been a volunteer with Golf Canada for more than 20 years. He originally got involved with the organization while living in Saskatchewan, during a period with Golf Saskatchewan the included successive terms as the President of Golf Saskatchewan in 1995 and 1996.

He continued to volunteer in golf after moving from Saskatchewan to Parkville, B.C. Although he enjoys living on Vancouver Island, the former police officer is fiercely proud of his roots in Regina, Sask.

A former governor with Golf Canada and past Board member with BC Golf, Klein has been a strong supporter of Canadian golf and mainstay on Golf Canada’s championship duty roster—often serving as Tournament Chair—whenever events are conducted on Vancouver Island.

He has a positive influence on his fellow volunteers and is tremendously popular among the players and guests at championships. Klein also makes it a point to thank all the event volunteers and club staff, and goes out of his way to make sure players enjoy their championship experience.

After fighting a devastating bought of cancer two years ago, he remains a passionate supporter of the game. He served as both Tournament Chair and member of the host club committee for the 2016 Canadian University/College Championship.

That event that marked the eighth time since 2010 that he served as Tournament Chair for a Golf Canada Championship on Vancouver Island including the Canadian Men’s Amateur (2013); the Canadian Women’s Amateur (2011); the Canadian University/College Championship (2012 & 2016); the Future Links Pacific Championship (2012 & 2015); the Canadian Women’s Tour (2014); and the Canadian Women’s Senior (2010).

In addition to championships, Klein has served on numerous other committees during his volunteer tenure with Golf Canada, BC Golf and Golf Saskatchewan. His passion and enthusiasm exemplify the spirit of volunteerism that drives the game of golf in communities across Canada.

GEORGE MCLEOD – Brandon, Man.

George McLeod of Brandon, Man. began volunteering in the 1980’s as a Rural Representative for the Wheat City Golf Club with the Manitoba Golf Association (MGA). He was then nominated and elected to the Board of the Manitoba Golf Association in 1985.

During his 20 year tenure on the Board, he volunteered on nearly every MGA committee and eventually served as President from 2002 through 2004. He was the last President of the MGA and the first President of the amalgamated Golf Manitoba. He was also instrumental in the formation and inauguration of the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame and Museum.

Nationally, he served with Golf Canada as Manitoba’s Class “C” Governor for 10 years. He assisted with the association’s amalgamation with the former Canadian Ladies Golf Association (CLGA) and served on numerous committees over his 10 years as a Governor.

Following Golf Canada’s governance change in 2011, he became a member of the association’s Governors Council, served on the Membership Committee and was Chair of the Canadian Turf Grass Research Foundation until 2015.

For more than 30 years, McLeod has been a Rules Official, Course Rater, Starter, Scorer and Tournament Chair with both Golf Manitoba and Golf Canada.

In 2016, he was honoured as the recipient of Golf Manitoba’s Volunteer Distinguished Service Award for his long tenured service to both Golf Manitoba and the Manitoba Ladies Golf Association and his commitment to amateur golf in Manitoba and North West Manitoba.

He has gone above and beyond the expectations of a volunteer, has been an advocate for the game and has been a positive influence on his many fellow volunteers.