The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in booming business for Metro Vancouver public and private golf courses thanks to being outdoors and the social distance nature of the sport. There is one nearby exception that hasn’t had a single tee time in nearly 18 months, however.
The Bald Eagle Golf Club has been locked up since the Canadian/U.S. border was closed to non-essential travel back in March 2020. There was hope some of the prime summer season could be salvaged, however, the U.S. side remains closed until at least Sept. 21.
“With such a small population in Point Roberts, it’s fair to say 99 per cent of our play is from the Canadian side of the border,” said Bald Eagle General Manager and Head Professional Kyle German. “In the golf industry, every winter you have the ideas of making all your programs, getting ready and being set for next year. That winter was so wet and dark we had tons of stuff planned for next year. We were excited and ready to go. I was in Palm Springs on my holidays and couldn’t wait to get back and get started.”
The timing of the closure couldn’t have been worse. The course underwent a significant year-long refurbishment after being sold in 2017.
Now it’s up to Course Superintendent to Rick Hoole to ensure the 6,868-yard layout is maintained to some degree while the wait for the border to re-open patiently continues. The club is typically open year-round.
“It’s been a rough time for sure, having only recently re-opened after the change of ownership and refurbishing of the course. We had a very good 2019 and were building back momentum within the golf community,” continued German. “Our superintendent has been working through the closure, by himself, just trying to keep the course alive and not letting it get to the point where it would need to be renovated again.”
Hoole remains the club’s lone working employee. German, who is a dual citizen, lives in Cloverdale. He has received some U.S. government unemployment assistance and is grateful he has been welcomed at Meadow Gardens in Pitt Meadows for the past year.
At least based on 2020 green fees, Bald Eagle is one of the best nearby bargains with the peak season weekend rate being $42 (U.S.). Youth (16-to-18) is $20 (U.S.) and juniors 15 and under are free if playing with an adult.
The course also features the Eagle Roost Restaurant.
“Not taking advantage of how busy the golf business is right now is the hardest part,” German added. “We have a new ownership group that has put a lot of money into the course. We were building momentum and it’s hard from an owner’s perspective not to see (any kind of return). Realistically, it’s been two years off where every other course has been able to make up for their previous shortfalls.”