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Golf courses get out to early start

Juniors golf free, among this year’s changes



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"It’s a world-class course, but we’ve definitely done some things to make it a lot more affordable, a lot more fun, and to get people out here to play," added Davies.

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Nicklaus North Golf Course

All eyes will be on Nicklaus North Golf Course in July when it hosts the Telus Skins Game with Vijay Singh, John Daly, Stephen Ames and the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus. With an early start this year, crews have been working to ensure that the course is in extra good shape for the start of the season on May 6.

"We usually spend the first few weeks clearing the snow into piles so it can melt, but the conditions this year gave the guys a little more time to get everything in perfect shape," said general manager Jeff Ciecka.

There have been a few minor changes to the course this year, including some newly paved cart paths, and some new natural grasses planted around the water hazards. The bunkers have also been upgraded to ensure consistent sand, while cutting the edge back to improve the presentation.

"We’re really excited about the new junior program that the Whistler courses are offering this year. It’s a family resort, and this is a very family thing to be able to offer. We’re hoping to see a lot of young players out there this season," said Ciecka.

Special rates for B.C. Residents will also be available, as well as specials in afternoon and early evening that are competitive with other courses in the area.

The Telus Skins Game will be a major focus, with 5,000 spectators expected, as well as television crews and golf media from across North America. The game will be broadcast live on July 4 and 5, and rebroadcast immediately afterwards on TSN and RDS in prime time.

"What’s kind of neat is that people on the East Coast are going to be able to come home and watch the rebroadcast of the event from start to finish," said Ciecka. "We’re really hoping for sun."

Having Nicklaus North course designer Jack Nicklaus on the ticket is also a boon.

"It’s pretty awesome to have him back here on the 10 th anniversary of the course. He played his last Masters in April, he’s coming to Whistler in July, and the following week he’s playing his last British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland. The skins game is his warm-up for the final contest in a 45 year career, one of the final stops on his farewell tour."