Uplands gives golfers green light

Get that fancy stuff out of here. Just keep it in the middle.

Brian Youell describes the roughs that will face the aspiring young pro golfers this week at Uplands as the “thickest ever.”

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“They will be three to four inches and very dense,” said the golf club’s long-serving superintendent.

“Hitting it straight will be rewarded. There will be a premium to staying on the fairway.”

Precision is the name of the game on a flat, straight-ahead course such as Uplands.

“The golfers will need to be strategic off the tee,” said Youell.

“It might not be necessary to hit drivers. The fairways are the fastest they have been because of new sprinkler heads that give us better water coverage.”

Youell heads a staff of 22 working to make Uplands a challenge for the pros, not to mention, a whole level up in terms of difficulty from what club members are normally used to the rest of the year.

“It’s like we’re in the playoffs — that same sense of urgency — and we have to all push as a grounds team,” Youell said, as his crew prepared for the 2019 Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by the Times Colonist.

Because the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada is affiliated with the PGA Tour, Youell has access to the PGA Tour’s agronomists and its grounds manual. But mostly, he relies on his own 39 years of keeping the Uplands grounds in top playing condition.

This career path began at the punky par-three former Cordova Bay farm track that was there before the well-regarded full course that is there now. A young Youell grew up playing on that farm patch before moving up to employment at the old Douglas Golflands Driving Range on Vanalman Road.

There were even dreams of a pro golf career. But those were never realized because of wrist and hand injuries sustained playing rugby and lacrosse. So Youell now makes playing conditions better for pro golfers this time of year, and club members the rest of the year.

It is, however, a job that has cost him greatly in terms of health because of an errant line drive that hit him off the temple in 2010 while he was out working on the course.

Youell now speaks at schools and to other groups about concussions. He was the keynote speaker on the subject in a conference in 2017 at Penn State and most recently addressed Claremont Secondary students.

“It’s really revealing when you ask for a show of hands of how many student athletes have suffered concussion and arms are raised all over the room,” said Youell.

“I just want to pay it forward in terms of information about what I went through in my two years of suffering [and eventual recovery] and in the time since.”

Golf is not a contact sport, yet Youell has been interviewed about the concussion issue on the Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio. His article about traumatic brain injuries was recently named article of the year in Golf Course Management magazine and Youell was just in San Diego to accept the award.

“I think it woke up our industry about the need for course-worker safety and for course workers to wear hard hats or helmets,” he said.

Uplands, meanwhile, became permanent home to the Bayview Place DCBank Open in 2008. This is the Victoria stop’s 37th year on the Canadian Tour and will be Youell’s 17th pro tournament, and 12th consecutive at Uplands.

He still recalls his first pro tournament, in 1984 featuring the likes of Craig Stadler, with much fondness.

“It’s been a great run and I’ve enjoyed it immensely,” said Youell.

So in return have the young pros who have been the beneficiaries of his course work over the years.

Schedule of events at Uplands

• TODAY
- Thrifty Foods Youth Golf Clinics
(at Uplands Golf Club)
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
• MONDAY
- Monday Qualifying
(at Gorge Vale Golf Club)
7:30 a.m. (1st and 10th tees)
- Junior Pro Am
(at Uplands Golf Club)
2 p.m. shotgun start
- Pros Practice Round
(at Uplands Golf Club)
7:30 am (1st and 10th tees)
• TUESDAY
- Pro Am Morning Round
8 a.m. shotgun start
- Pro Am Afternoon Round
1:30 p.m. shotgun start
• WEDNESDAY
- Pros practice round
• THURSDAY
- First Round of Bayview Place DCBank Open
7:30 a.m. (1st and 10th tees)
• FRIDAY
- Second Round of Bayview Place DCBank Open
7:30 a.m. (1st and 10th tees)
• SATURDAY
- Third Round of Bayview Place DCBank Open
First tee approx. 8:30 a.m.
Leaders tee off at 1 p.m.
• SUNDAY
- Final Round of Bayview Place DCBank Open
First tee approx. 8:30 a.m.
Leaders tee off at 1 p.m.
- Closing Ceremonies (on putting green)
• ADMISSION/PARKING
- Tickets available at Select Your Tickets at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre or at Uplands main gate and behind No. 7 teebox of Cedar Hill Cross Road.
- Week pass $30; day pass $10; youth under-15 free when accompanied by an adult.
- Parking available along Cedar Hill Cross Road (main lot for players, officials and volunteers.)

The 2019 field

Anguiano, Mark
Ansett, Eric
Armstrong, Dawson
Ayotte, Samuel
Ban, Shintaro
Bard, Derek
Barjon, Paul
Barnes, Jonathan
Barron, Derek
Bayley, Derek
Beck, Jimmy
Belle, Michael
Bernard, Hugo
Bettcher, Jared
Beverly, Aaron
Bosso, Christian
Bowser, Evan
Bradshaw, David S.
Brame, Grady
Buckley, Hayden
Burry, Zachary
Busch, Sean
Byrum, Jake
Cao, Yi
Carlson, Brian
Chan, Lorens
Chang, Derek
Chiarella, Alex
Cochran, Case
Cootes, Roy
Coultas, John
Crampton, Sebastian
Crawford, Kolton
Crouch, T.T.
Danielson, Charlie
Detmer, Lee
Dietrich, Eric
Doeden, Justin
Dorn, Andrew
du Toit, Jared
Dunkle, Kyler
Eckes, Christopher
Ellerbrock, Ryan
Elmore, Ryan
Favela, Armando
Fernandez, JD
Fidone, Sam
Fishburn, Patrick
Gandon, Jeremy
Garcia, Jorge
Garrick, Jonathan
Gillespie, Derek
Hanna, Chase
Hansen, Matt F.
Harlingten, Seann
Harrison, Joseph
Hoelzer, Brandon
Holt, Ian
Humphrey, Theo
Huskey, Keenan
Hwang, Jay
Jenkins, Carter
Johnson, Jake
Kevorkian, Jake
Khan, Jonathan
Knapp, Jake
Knowles, Philip
Langhoff, John
Leaver, Grant
Lee, S.M.
Lee, Tain
Maguire, MJ
Marshall, Matt
McCain, Andrew
McCardle, Eric
McClain, Wesley
McConnell, Paul
McInerney, A.J.
McLoughlin, Eamonn
Miller, Brad
Miller, Cole
Monagle, Colin
Mueller, Kyle
Naumec, Matthew
Nimmer, Bryson
O'Neill, Chris
Olson, Blake
Paolini, Brinson
Paolucci, Anthony
Park, Paul
Parker, Chase
Partin, Zach
Pastore, David
Paul, Jeremy
Paul, Yannik
Paylor, Elliott
Paysse, Andrew
Pendrith, Taylor
Pistorius, Albert
Porch, Ryan
Putnam, Michael
Redman, Doc
Register, William
Ricard, Eric
Roberts, Carson
Rose, David
Ruiz, Johnny
Sadlowski, Jamie
Salsbury, Tyler
Samiere, P.J.
Sanchez, Alberto
Sattler, Blake
Schoolcraft, Michael
Schorr, Stanton
Shieh, Hayden
Shirley, Trey
Sigg, Greyson
Snouffer, Ryan
Sondjaja, Ruben
Stewart, Hunter
Stringfellow, Daniel
Thomas, Van
Thomas, Zane
Trace, Travis
Valder, Preston
VanDerLaan, John
Vernon, Carr
Walthouse, Billy
Wambold, Kyle
Wang, Charles
Ward, Dalton
Wenzler, Ryan
Weworski, Tyler
Wheeldon, Riley
White, Peyton
Wicks, David
Wisner, Bennett
Wu, Dylan
Yun, Andrew
Zaback, Zach
Performance Tour Qualifiers:
Nate Ollis
Zach Anderson
Jim Rutledge
Evan Holmes
Sponsor Exemptions:
Kevin Carrigan
Ben Griffen
Steven Lecuyer
Eight Monday Qualifiers

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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