Port Alice Golf Course has a view of the Neroutsos Inlet (PAGC photo)

Volunteer-powered community golf course keeps on putting

The Port Alice Golf Club is open to all, seven days a week

Port Alice’s nine-hole golf course is running on volunteer power, as it always has.

No matter that the mill, which provided much of the town’s employment, went bankrupt, or that there’s a global pandemic.

The small but mighty club was founded in 1928 as a three-hole course, and has been volunteer-run ever since, with a paid bartender or greenskeeper now and then.

After being closed for two months because of COVID-19, the clubhouse just reopened, with plexiglass barriers and appropriate spacing in the bar. It’s open daily, with volunteer bartenders throughout the week. The kitchen remains closed, but they do have snacks.

This year, perhaps because people are trying to stay home, has actually been busier than this time last year. Long-time volunteer Tom McCarthy estimates 10 people are hitting the links daily.

Watering the greens remains a struggle. Since the mill closed in Feb. 2019, their water pump, which drew water from Victoria Lake for the mill, and by extension the golf course, has been shut down. Last year, the club purchased some gas-powered water pumps, but it’s heavy work. The two part-time paid greenskeepers are getting it done, but it will be a hard summer for them if the sun keeps up.

More than providing water and jobs, the mill also owns the golf course land. With the properties in receivership, the golf course is monitoring the situation. Volunteers say it would be ideal for the golf course lands to be transferred to the municipality so that it is not dependent on future mill operations.

Golfing in Port Alice is open to the public, including non-members.

RELATED: Dormant Northern Vancouver Island pulp mill declares bankruptcy, owes $272 million

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