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Resource-Sharing Taking Golf as a Special Olympics Sport to the Next Level

May 22, 2012

Dayna Birch with SOBC athletes

Part one of a three-part series detailing BC Golf/SOBC relationship

Richmond, B.C. (British Columbia Golf)–In the last three years, golf as a Special Olympics BC (SOBC) sport offering has grown exponentially.

In 2009, when the sport was part of the Special Olympics BC Summer Games for the first time, there were a modest 12 registered golfers in three SOBC community programs. In 2012, just a year away from the sport’s second appearance at the SOBC Summer Games and two years from its Special Olympics Canada Games debut, there are 293 registered golfers with 23 SOBC community programs.

The enthusiasm with which SOBC athletes have taken to golf has been exciting to see, and there are many equally enthusiastic volunteer coaches helping them develop their skills and fall in love with the game. British Columbia Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association of Canada (PGA of Canada) have played an important part in helping SOBC expand and deepen the support, resources and training it is able to offer its coaches.

British Columbia Golf, the Provincial Sport Organization for golf in British Columbia, has helped provide foundation blocks on which SOBC could build its golf programming. In 2009, British Columbia Golf provincial coach Matt Palsenbarg assisted at the 2009 Special Olympics BC Summer Games, providing a valuable source of guidance to the athletes and volunteers taking part in the inaugural golf competitions at the Provincial Games level.

Special Olympics SportContinuing with their progressive approach of making golf an inclusive sport, British Columbia Golf has opened its doors to SOBC coaches to strengthen their resources of knowledge to meet the needs of the growing number of SOBC golfers. This growing relationship means teaching volunteer coaches how to teach a technical sport in a manner their athletes can appreciate and understand.

Steve Nielsen, an SOBC – Victoria golf and speed skating coach, recently attended the British Columbia Golf Regional Camp at Highland Pacific Golf Club at the end of April, where he soaked up golf coaching guidance from BC Golf Coach Jody Jackson and PGA of BC professional Matt Diederichs.

“I am extremely happy and optimistic about the partnership that has been created between British Columbia Golf and Special Olympics BC. I was able to see firsthand how golf is taught to aspiring elite-level athletes in this province,” Steve wrote after his experience.

“Our athletes learn in a different capacity than do mainstream athletes. The support of British Columbia Golf and PGA of Canada members in developing the necessary knowledge and coaching skills among volunteers such as me is critical to the growth of the sport within the Special Olympics community.”

Steve feels energized and “ecstatic” about the relationship and resource-sharing that is developing between SOBC and British Columbia Golf.

“Currently, there is a shortage of courses that adapt to welcoming athletes with intellectual disabilities. Without the infrastructure of both course participation and qualified coaches to manage the projected growth of golf interest among our athletes, we may not be able to handle the influx,” Steve wrote. “I think these initial steps in developing and sharing of resources between the two organizations has the opportunity to diversify the sport of golf to a level it has never seen before.”Special Olympics Sport

Future projections put the number of SOBC golfers in the province around 600 by the time the sport makes its Special Olympics National Games debut in 2014.

Steve also noted that participating in the British Columbia Golf camp was “a perfectly timed follow-up” to the Special Olympics Canada/PGA of Canada Coach Certification Workshop he attended the day before in Nanaimo.

The PGA of Canada has worked with Special Olympics Canada to develop a workshop specifically designed to help Special Olympics coaches in their efforts to teach Special Olympics athletes the sport of golf.

The workshop covers coaching philosophy, long-term athlete development, basic rules, instruction of basic technical skills and other elements important to the Special Olympics golf coaches across Canada.

“To see the principles and process explained in the workshop in action, and witness the coaching skills Jody and Matt demonstrated with the junior players, was a treat and a real learning experience,” Steve said.

SOBC and British Columbia Golf are looking forward to offering opportunities to coaches in the growing golf programs around the province.

Individuals looking for the inspiring, joyful and life-changing experience of working with Special Olympics athletes are always welcome to join SOBC as volunteers. Contact Shawn Fevens at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 604.737.3055 for further information.

This article is the first in a three-part series exploring the development of SOBC golf and the relationship between SOBC and British Columbia Golf. Stay tuned for more on the SOBC and British Columbia Golf websites!

Part 2: Programming/Developmental Stream (June 12)
Part 3: Competitive Stream (July 3)

Letter from Steve Nielsen


Sue Kim

Sue Kim Returns to U.S. Women's Open

By: Brad Ziemer, The Vancouver Sun. May 14, 2012

Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG Files


Langley's Sue Kim is heading back to the U.S. Women's Open for the second straight year.

Kim fired rounds of 75 and 67 to finish tied with Emma Talley of Kentucky at a 36-hole sectional qualifier Monday in Bellingham. They grabbed the two spots that were up for grabs to this year's U.S. Women's Open, which goes July 5-8 in Kohler, Wis.

Last year, Kim made the cut at her first U.S. Open and finished tied for 50th place.

The 21-year-old Kim is a regular on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA Tour's developmental circuit. She is playing Tuesday and Wednesday at a $60,000 Canadian Women's Tour event at Richmond Country Club.

Kim struggled with her putter in her opening round Monday at Bellingham Golf & Country Club. But she chipped in for eagle on the first hole of her second round and followed that up with a birdie on No. 2 en route to her five-under 67.

She thinks having played well at year's U.S. Open will help her this year.

"That will give me some confidence going back there again," she said Monday night. "I feel like I have more experience and my game has improved, so I am looking forward to it."

Forty-eight women teed it up in Monday's qualifier. Coquitlam's Soobin Kim, who just completed her freshman year at the University of Washington, came close to qualifying. She tied for fourth spot after shooting rounds of 73 and 72 to finish at even par.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; twitter.com/bradziemer

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Langley's Trozzo Tops at Kenney Classic
By >Staff Writer - Langley Times Frank
Published: May 09, 2012 2:00 PM
Updated: May 09, 2012 2:38 PM

Jackson Trozzo won the boys’ 13 and under division by six strokes at the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour’s Lindsay Kenney Classic over the weekend. The two-day golf tournament was held at Pitt Meadows’ Swan-e-Set Bay Resort.

The 13-year-old Trozzo trailed by three strokes after a rain-soaked opening round, but just like the weather turned around on Sunday for some sunny skies, so too did Trozzo, who bounced back with a solid second round to win by six.

In the boys’ 14-16 division, another Langley golfer, 16-year-old Simon Blaker, finished two strokes back of top spot, finishing with a 154. Both golfers play out of Redwoods Golf Course.

Courtney’s Logan Yanick — who won the 14-16 division — and Blaker both earned international exemptions for the prestigious East Aurora International Junior Masters in New York, and a a U.S. junior amateur regional qualifier of their choice. Blaker also won the skills award.

Other top result for Langley golfers included Hazelmere Golf Club’s Jesse Reichelt finishing fifth in the boys’ 17-19 division with a 164 while Ryan Saran was eighth with a 173.

Redwoods’ Jordan Nielson was 11th.
Reichelt also won the long drive competition.

In the boys’ 14-6 group, Redwoods golfers Hoon Lee and Greg Webster were tied for 15th and 19th, respectively. Two other Redwoods golfers, Euna Han and Rene Cheng were seventh and eighth, respectively, in the girls’ division.


seal2012 A 300Langley BC – The Redwoods Golf Course is just the Second Golf Course in British Columbia to become Climate Smart Certified. Completing the Climate Smart program in February 2012, Redwoods receives the Climate Smart Seal for recognition and credibility.

Climate Smart works with businesses to measure and reduce their carbon footprint while cutting costs. The Climate Smart training program incorporates classroom learning, web-based software, and one-on-one coaching to provide all the tools and knowledge for tackling greenhouse gas management in-house. When the work is complete, Climate Smart reviews and ensures all data is accurate thus providing the Climate Smart Seal.

Environmental sustainability has long been a business strategy for The Redwoods Golf Course. In 2007 Redwoods was involved in an environmental impact study to discover an actual greenhouse gas emissions reading. Data included the consumption of water, energy, waste and fuels along with the maintenance of the property. Redwoods opted to implement various programs to improve its environmental practices and further reduce their carbon footprint.

Through Climate Smart, The Redwoods Golf Course measured a baseline inventory for operations using the 2010 calendar year. Data included the consumption of energy, electric, waste, paper and fuels paired with the maintenance and usage of the property. Efforts to continue reducing these emissions include a complete light fixture retrofitting throughout the clubhouse, improving waste management, to install faucet aerators and to implement turn-it-off programs.


LEPS 2011 Charity of the YearBy Matthew Claxton, Langley AdvanceMarch 20, 2012

A Langley environmental group will benefit from an annual donation made by a local golf course.

The Redwoods Golf Course has given $1,000 to the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS). The donation was in appreciation for LEPS’ work over the last 18 years as one of the community’s top environmental groups.

LEPS does a great deal of work for Langley Township, undertakes educational programs about compost and invasive plants for young and old alike, and works with a variety of stream keeping groups and volunteers to keep rivers and creeks in prime shape for salmon spawning.

The donation is part of a program by Redwoods to recognize and donate to one significant Langley charity per year.

Each time a golf course staff member plays a round of golf, they make a $2 donation. All donations are accumulated during the year and at the end of the calendar year funds are tabulated and awarded to the charity of choice.

© Copyright (c) Langley Advance

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