Black Press Media
November brought a devastating flood to the Hope Golf Club, but it was not enough to bring it down.
The flooding hit the golf course hard. A significant amount of the course was submerged under four feet of water, destroying many of the holes. Number seven green became an island, completely unapproachable.
Hope Golf Club’s Bonnie and Vince Cianfagna were completely devastated. They were just beginning to recover from the hit the COVID pandemic brought, only to be met with another set-back.
“We were both shaking our heads and I remember thinking, ‘do we call it quits?” Bonnie said.
Once the water finally cleared out, rocks and other debris were left to deal with.
The couple felt a loyalty to the people who embraced the golf club and decided to forge ahead with repairing it.
They did not, however, act alone. The Hope Golf and Country Club non-profit-society kicked into gear and spearheaded clean up and repair efforts. Everyone was eager to offer time, equipment and hard labour to fix up the course.
Offers came not just from those residing in Hope, but from all over the province.
The beloved golf course was put out of business for months, but opened on March 11 as a reduced course.
Only five holes are playable, which golfers run through twice. There is optimism all of the holes will be available to play by mid-July.
“The golf course is not just a playfield for people who like to golf, but it brings a lot to the town. It helps a lot of local businesses,” Bonnie said.
The Hope Golf Club typically has 24 to 30 weddings booked each year which usually bring in many visitors. This allows quite a few businesses in town to benefit from the extra people.More hotel rooms are booked and restaurant tables reserved than normal.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the club reduced their reservations to just seven weddings a year. One of the couples getting married in the golf club has been waiting since 2019 to tie the knot and will finally be able to wed in June.
Hope Golf Club is important to people in retirement, who make up many of the regular golfers, Bonnie said.
Tournaments for the men and women leagues are also a consistent part of the club’s operations but it is uncertain if they will be able to resume this summer season. The decision will be re-evaluated in the coming months.
Although the public has shown their support, repairs for the course are costing millions. The course has been rejected by every type of funding available because it sits on a floodplain, which makes it unqualified for most financial support resources.
“We’re really trying to get any type of funding that we can,” Bonnie said.
Bonnie and Vince Cianfagna are optimistic that they will be able to “make ends meet” for the rest of the year and hope to be profitable in 2023.