Category: Events News

YYC Flood Email Update

2013 Calgary Flood – Updated Lesson Information


Facility Pictures

Putting Course Parking Lot
Putting Course Looking North
From Heritage Drive Friday
Overhead View Friday
8 Green

For more detailed information on our flood reclamation project, visit our Golf Canada Calgary Centre website, or contact me directly at 403.803.3290 or

Flood/Academy Information

Greetings students, friends and family;

As you may have seen on the news lately, our golf facility was heavily damaged during the flood. To see more detailed pictures, watch this video, or read the official press release from Golf Canada. We’ve been able to access the facility a handful of times to assess our plans moving forward. This email is meant to outline some facility details, and more importantly, the lesson delivery options.

Private and Semi-Private Lesson Fulfillment – I have arranged with the Calgary Elks Golf Club & Lodge to host all private and semi-private lessons until further notice. Our scheduling program will still be used to book these private lessons, and can be found HERE. If you have a lesson booked in the future, it will remain in place unless I contact you directly, and the host site will be the Elks Golf Club. Please check in at the pro shop 15 minutes ahead of time as they’ll direct you to the appropriate area.

Adult and Junior Classes – For those of you that may currently be signed up for a clinic or class with me, please read the official release from Jay Myren by clicking here.      Short Game Schools will be held at the Calgary Elks Golf Club.

Volunteer Clean-Up on Site – Contact me directly at 403.803.3290 for updated volunteer information, or visit our website or Facebook page.

Thank you so much for your support through this disaster.

Todd Halpen


Van Wilder gets a Golf Scholarship!

Hello friends,

A good friend of mine, and one of Calgary’s top junior golf instructors, Mitch Walz (@walzygolf) has asked me to write about quite a few topics over the last year, and I’m working on them! He has high standards so I’ll publish when they’re ready haha! This blog is about some “outside the box” ways to think about choosing a school for college golf. I hear all too often about junior golfers in Alberta signing ‘Letters of Intent’ to schools that aren’t the best fit for them.

Some of you may know of my golf history, some may not. Either way, I’d hardly call myself up to date on this topic. That said, I have been a part of the Alberta Golf Scholarship Panel, and have many friends and colleagues who have shared their experiences with me. Here I will only present thoughts based on my own experiences.

Here are some guidelines and questions that I don’t think get considered enough when choosing a school.

Would you want to move to the town/city if golf wasn’t a factor?

Is this a place that you would want to build a network of friends for 5 years?

What is a detailed tournament schedule, and how will this work with a full course load in 3rd and 4th years? What kind of scholastic support is there?

Just because you get a scholarship, doesn’t mean you have to take it..

Are there any international players on the team already? Any Canadians? If so, CALL THEM!

Is the coach going to be there the whole time you are? What is the schools athletic budget and how stable is the program? Is the coach someone you would like to mentor you for 5 years?

What is the team chemistry like? How many new players are coming in vs. how many are graduating? Is there a chance to go to the same school as a friend?

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, but please note that most of it deals with the people there and the culture. I went to the University of Victoria, and now live in Calgary. So now I have friends all over Western Canada that I visit every few months. This is very different from a player that went to school in Mississippi, where all the networking and time invested in social life, is mostly faded after a few years. I love going out to Victoria and BC, knowing friends all over and always having opportunities to stay with them as opposed to hotels!

Hope this helps! Cheers!

PGA of Alberta Development Series – Round Table

Last week I attended a PGA of Alberta Round Table, as part of our ongoing education initiatives. Here is the list of topics that were discussed.

1. Roadmap – Each member has the opportunity to complete a Roadmap Skills Assessment. This is an extensive list and description of all the skills needed to succeed in the golf industry. They are broken down into three categories; Entry Level, Responsibility and Leadership. Responsibility and Leadership require approval from your supervising PGA of Canada member, and the PGA of Alberta head office. I was VERY surprised to hear that only 10% of members have completed this assessment.

2. Careers – Discussions around the seasonal aspect of many of the job postings, and the difficulty with low pay scales. Some solutions are to encourage HP’s and managerial personnel at golf facilities to utilize staff longer into the winter season. Some concepts are being used by many courses and include; winter golf lessons, junior open houses, Christmas sales events and various other concepts unique to each facility.

3. Staffing – Motivating and retaining quality staff. Wayne Fairbairn, Head Professional at The Elks Club and Lodge, provided the most insight here, and hopefully his practices will be copied by many shops around Alberta. Motivation comes from empowering the staff and giving them ownership and accountability over the entire golf course operation.

4. Membership – This topic wasn’t discussed that much, as it was covered a lot with the Roadmap and Staffing discussions. We lose members every year to various other industries for many reasons.

5. Tournaments – A brief discussion on some scheduling and operations issues with the tournaments and I’m sure the PGA of Alberta will be able to integrate into 2013’s tournament plans.

6. Awards – Some issues were brought up, and some were quickly dismissed by the PGA of Alberta, and for good reason. Any member can nominate any member, and then the nominee must fill out a detailed application form. It seems to me that the PGA of Alberta has made great strides in this area and will continue to improve the process.


The topics were more about the Association and our membership than I expected. I’m not sure what I expected. The biggest single value in the room was hearing from the established Head Professionals discuss the successes and failures at their club. Each facility has its unique set of strengths and challenges, and the more we share information the better. I will gladly attend all future Round Tables and encourage all members to attend at least one per year. Thanks to Phil Berube, Tom Greiner, Wayne Fairbairn and Jeremy Tanner for moderating and guiding our discussions.

Some topics I’d like to see in future round tables are;

1. Buying Show – any issues, successes or failures?
2. Pace of Play – for our tournaments and member events. Are there any other successful formats that courses have implemented?
3. Social Media – includes email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and Groupon initiatives
4. Membership – should there be more options for the 18-25 year old demographic to purchase yearly memberships at private clubs? Can the PGA of Alberta assist with this?

***Added topic by Ryan Sommerfeld @summysummy***

5. Formation of a PGA of Alberta or PGA of Canada Buying Group to work with manufacturers, reps and vendors to improve retail operations.

First person to suggest a table topic that I bring up at the next round table will receive a free bucket at the Golf Canada Centre and a sleeve of ProV1’s.

Athlete Factory Sports Medicine

Just wanted to take the time to first thank Dr. Brad Kane ( @bradkane , @wellnesscalgary ) for the initial assessments and treatment for a shoulder injury I sustained October 5, 2012. The clinic was friendly, accommodating, and professional. I visited them twice and the diagnosis was a severe AC Sprain. Luckily, there was no nerve or blood vessel damage, and no tearing of ligaments of muscles (or small tears). They assured me that ice, time and rehab would do the trick. Next step, Phase 1 rehab with my trainers at the Athlete Factory.

The owners and operators of the Athlete Factory know that “ life, as in sport, a 100% healthy body is a rare thing.” They have partnered with Richard Robinson and a team of highly qualified people including, Dr Jonathan Murray (Chiropractor), Dr Mike Hoiles (Chiropractor), Nicole Ainsworth (Athletic Therapist), Sarah Breu (Athletic Therapist), Sarah Cicchine (Massage Therapist), Ivan Phillion (Massage Therapist).

After only 5 treatments with Dr. Murray, I am back to 90% shoulder health. It has been 5 weeks and I have been diligent with rehab exercises (Phase 1 and Phase 2), nutrition and hydration. The treatments consisted of, and this is the best part, Active Release, Chiro adjustments, Graston, Ultrasound, and massage. Jonathan also adjusted my pelvis, and fixed the issue in my wrist.

I only write this because of one thing. Yesterday during a lifting session, not only did I revisit a near personal best (325 Back Squat), I did it with ease because of the strength GAINS in the wrist and shoulder. Did the rehab make me stronger than before? Yes.

Then on to the bench press. I’ve always had a stronger left shoulder than right (likely from years of being right handed, so much scar tissue!), but this time the right arm won the race to the top. Blew me away.

Thanks Athlete Factory!

To learn more about the methods at the Factory, contact Robin Bauer or myself anytime.


PGA of Alberta Teacher of the Year Finalist 2012

Hello friends,

I am proud to announce that I have been nominated for, and now a finalist for the PGA of Alberta Teacher of the Year 2012! I feel very honored to be a finalist, but more excited for my students. I have gotten some tremendous feedback this year, some huge successes and improvements. I learned so much about my own philosophy, teaching style, goals for my career and motivation to continue playing competitively.

When I learned that I was a finalist, my first thoughts were who to typical.. But seriously, that’s what it was. Then I truly realized how long that list would be, even if it only pertained to my golf teaching career.

Ages 5-14

Kevin Snell
Kerry Ward
Greg McGarry

Ages 15-19

Jim Jempson
Norm Gray, Ken Wasslen and Phil Kerbrat – 3 amateurs at Willow that taught me how to compete.

Ages 19-25

Ted Webster
Paul Horton
Randy Robb
Matt Rollins
Bryan Carbery
Jay Myren
Brian Kollman
Rob Connelly
Stephen Ames
Henry Brunton

and literally hundreds of Canadian Tour professionals that helped me along the way, notably,
Mitch Gillis
Stu Anderson
Mike Mezei
Kris Wasylowich
Scott Stiles

Ages 26-29

Brian Benedictson
Mark Sweeney
John Graham
Alex Riggs
Jason Sutton
Jason Helman
Glenn Cundari
Robin Bauer
Paul Balsom
Alan Robertson

If you didn’t make this list, do not panic. It means you are either one of hundreds more people that have helped me progress and succeed in this game, or your role is more important than worrying about being part of a list.

Thanks all for helping me.


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