Historic Uplands club, volunteers lay out welcome mat

It’s year 39, and year 12 — the 39th year the MacKenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada golf tournament has been played in Greater Victoria, and the 12th consecutive year it has been at the Uplands Golf Club.

Uplands will once again be the venue for the Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by the Times Colonist. The tournament will be held May 30, 31, June 1 and 2.

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It brings together some of the best young golfers in North America, so once again we will have a chance to see a calibre of play that most of us can only dream about.

In 2017, for example, Cody Blick of Alamo, California, set the Uplands course record of 60. His performance — 29 on the front nine, 31 on the back — might remain in the record books for many years to come.

But who knows? Sports records are made to be broken. In just a few days we could be admiring a 59. After all, when Canadian legend Moe Norman shot 63 in 1969, half a century ago, it seemed unbeatable.

Golfers these days, it might be argued, are in better shape and are smarter than those of an earlier generation. They are also using vastly improved equipment. The clubs I bought in my teens would be a joke today — and their grips would no longer be allowed in tournament play.

The Bayview Place DCBank Open is the Victoria stop on the MacKenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada.

The official charity of the tournament is the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, which raises money to support Island children with disabilities and health challenges.

The Victoria tournament is the longest-running event on the tour. In its first year, 1981, Canadian Dave Barr had the best score.

The manicured fairways and hard, fast greens at Uplands, set in a beautiful environment, are a challenge to golfers of all levels.

Uplands became the tournament’s permanent home in 2008. Before that, the tournament rotated between three courses. It will be the 18th time the tournament has been at Uplands since its first visit there in 1984.

This will be the sixth year that the tournament has carried the name Bayview Place, a title sponsor since 2014. The Times Colonist was the title sponsor for a decade before that, and remains a presenting sponsor.

The tournament is made possible by its many sponsors, and a small army of volunteers from all walks of life. Without community support, the event would not be possible.

So let’s give credit to Ken and Patricia Mariash, who own and operate Focus Equities, and are behind Bayview Properties, the leading developer in the Songhees area of Vic West.

Along with Bayview Place, DCBank and the Times Colonist, the Open has about 50 other sponsors. We are all committed to making the tournament a success, because it reflects well on the entire Greater Victoria region.

About 250 volunteers get involved in the tournament every year, helping to drive (and pitch, and putt) the tournament to be the best in Canada.

Thanks to everyone for your help and support for the Bayview Place DCBank Open. It is sure to be yet another outstanding tournament.

And to the golfers, their families, tour officials and everyone else here for the tournament — on behalf of the Times Colonist, welcome to Victoria!

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