It’s a year of big changes at the Hope Golf Club, with a new long-term management and business plan and major renovations at the clubhouse.
All that is needed now is: an end to the hockey playoffs; an end to the infernal rainy weather — and an end to the flooding on holes 5, 6 and 7.
By the time this story hits the streets, the Canucks will have taken care of the first part… in a happy or sad way. Meanwhile, the weather is still staggering along, though the forecast is for a hotter and drier summer — and Fraser River levels peaked last weekend, so the huge water traps have started subsiding.
In April, Kerry and Claudette Krahn took over management of the day-to-day operations of the course and became owner-operators of the banquet room catering and downstairs pro shop and Grill on the Green lounge.
Jim Frith, now in his fourth year as club president, said on Monday, “The Krahns have solid experience and they bring solid management to the course — and they’re great cooks!”
“The Hope Golf Club Society are still the stewards of the course and we are leasing the clubhouse building to the Krahns,” explained Frith. “We’ve sold the other assets to the Krahns, though. They own the tables and the chairs, the golf carts and the lawn machinery. This will put the golf club in a much better financial situation.
“People really like these folks,” said Frith. “The Krahns are in it for the long run and they’ve bought a house in Hope.
“I must point out that this is not a private golf club. It’s a course for the whole community, even if it’s just for taking a walk along the outer edges,” added the president, who explained that the land is on a 99-year provincial lease for use as a golf course.
The Krahns are avid golfers and they come from a food and event services background.
“Kerry was a chef at the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course and we both worked at the Fraser River Fishing Lodge in Agassiz from 2005 to 2010,” said Claudette on Monday.
“Kerry was the executive chef and I was the general manager and event planner. We also opened the Oasis Bistro in Agassiz in 2009 and sold it in April this year to move here.
“We had catered a few events at the golf course last year and we got to know some of the membership,” said Claudette. “We saw some opportunities and we presented the club with our vision of what could be done.
“There’s a huge potential for an all-inclusive wedding facility, that is much needed in Hope. With the mountains and the river, you can’t beat it,” she added.
To that end, the couple has already made big renovations to the interior of both floors of the clubhouse.
“We completely renovated the upstairs,” said Claudette. “We refinished the hardwood floor, put in new carpeting and lighting, took out the old drapes and redid the bar.”
The end result is a bigger and brighter space, with a bigger seating capacity. Downstairs, the kitchen was upgraded and the floor was replaced. There’s also a new website at hopegolfclub.com/golf/proto/golfhope to tie it all together.
The biggest challenge for the couple so far has been an overabundance of water.
“The cold, wet spring and losing three holes for about a month were definitely not cool,” said Claudette. “March and April were down 65 per cent from last year for walk-on green fees — and there are usually about 100 annual members and only 70 have renewed so far.
“We’ve also had to update a lot of the equipment, which is very old, so you’re always fixing it,” said Claudette.
The height of the breakdowns came just after the renovations were done… and a water main burst upstairs, overnight. The change room ceilings and upstairs carpeting had to be redone again, assisted by insurance funding.
“Then we got a call from our rental house in Chilliwack and they said a water pipe had burst and I said ‘Of course it did!” said Claudette, with a laugh.
With the spring rains and Fraser freshet now abating, the Krahns are looking forward to hot and dry summer to get their feet firmly planted. Upstairs bookings are an encouraging sign.
“We had 200 people for our Mother’s Day brunch,” said Claudette, “and we started our weekly Sunday brunch buffet yesterday. We’ve also got nine events scheduled for the next two weeks.”
The Krahns are very appreciative of the continued volunteer efforts of club members, noting the four work sessions so far for raking and flower bed planting. Then there’s the generous support of the women’s club, which is sponsoring free lessons for young golfers for seven weeks this summer.
“We’ve got a new teaching pro, Valerie Beebe from Chilliwack,” said Claudette. “She’ll be here for three days a week and she’ll be involved in teaching men and women as well as kids aged 4 to 17.”