Heat Golf Is Back
September 12th, 2017
UBCO golf will continue this year, after doubts about financial sustainability threatened to discontinue the program.
After the end of last season, it was believed that the UBC Okanagan golf program would be forced to come to an end. Financial difficulties were the primary reason for the near collapse of the program, but thanks to an exceptional influx of funding and support from the community in Kelowna, the team will continue to compete in PACWEST play.
With the Okanagan being one of the most prominent golf destinations in Canada, it would have been an ironic loss for UBC’s Kelowna campus to go without a golf team. As of early June, it was made clear that the school would not have to lose the program arguably best suited to its location.
“Earlier this year, after a thorough review of our Heat varsity golf program, we identified some real challenges with the financial sustainability of the program and faced difficult decisions about its future,” said UBC Okanagan director of athletics and recreation Rob Johnson in a statement. “Since then, the community has come together to show their overwhelming support for the program and our students through a number of fundraising events.”
Contributions and support from courses, donors, and sponsors all over the Okanagan came to the rescue for the program, amongst whom longtime partner Okanagan Golf Club, as well as Kelowna Golf and Country Club, Black Mountain Golf Club, and a number of local wineries made contributions that hit closest to home for local players and residents.
“I am deeply proud of the performance of our golfers over the years, and these latest fundraising efforts are yet another example of the strong character and entrepreneurial spirit of our student athletes.” – Rob Johnson
After the success of the Heat teams last season, specifically the individual accomplishment of James Casorso in earning a spot at the 2016 PING CCAA National Championship on Prince Edward Island, the continuation of the program is a welcome relief to golf fans on campus.
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of our student athletes and members of the community, I’m very pleased to announce today that the Heat varsity golf program will have the funding required to continue for the 2017/18 academic year,” continued Johnson in his statement. “I am deeply proud of the performance of our golfers over the years, and these latest fundraising efforts are yet another example of the strong character and entrepreneurial spirit of our student athletes…But they did not act alone. Thanks in no small part to the generous in-kind support from a number of local and lower mainland golf courses and wineries and dozens of silent auction donors, the fundraising events hosted by the Kelowna Golf and Country Club and Michaelbrook Ranch Golf Course were extremely successful. The UBC Okanagan golf program is viable for the coming year because of the heartwarming dedication of the Okanagan golf community, including from the Okanagan Golf Club who has been in partnership with our program since its inception in 2008.”
While the program has gained the finances necessary to continue through this season, its stability has not been established in perpetuity. “With expenses rising, the financial challenges we face will remain beyond 2017/18 and we will need to make careful decisions in the future,” added Johnson, who closed out his statement with hopes and praise for this season’s Heat golfers and their supporters.
“Good luck to our golfers for this upcoming year. Their ingenuity and devotion to golf will serve them well as they compete in this year’s events. And thanks again to the golf community for really stepping up to help us continue to offer these competitive opportunities to our students.”