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2017 - Gary Koehli

Gary Koehli

“I first golfed at Kananaskis the second season it was open, and I ran a tournament out there for twenty-nine consecutive years, and we had our thirtieth-year anniversary all planned for 2013. We’d organized caps and jackets with 30th anniversary logos stitched on to celebrate, but of course the flood stopped that – but we’re returning in 2018 to Kananaskis Country Golf Course to celebrate then instead. It’ll be quite the year!

This all started, with the friends I’d golfed with from my time at University. So, the tournament really started from just four guys enjoying a reunion out at Kananaskis Country Golf Course. We would camp and play golf, and this went on for a number of years.

But from there, it evolved. Soon it was eight guys, and then 12 guys, and then it became an actual tournament – and we just kept coming back.

We were just in awe of the location; the scenery was spectacular. #4 on Kidd takes your breath away. Every hole you play you’re looking at a different view of the mountains.

Every year we would have such a good time, and after the golf us twelve guys would just sit around the campfire at the site. One year we had a grizzly walk right through the campfire as we were cooking dinner, so wildlife would often show up. We never tired of golfing and camping out there.

I remember that year in 2013, when my wife called me and said, ‘you’d better call Kananaskis Golf Course; they’ve had a flood out there,” to which I responded, ‘well we’re three weeks away from our tournament so I’m sure it’ll be okay.”

But unfortunately, later that day I turned on NBC and there it was, pictures of the course completed destroyed. I called the course and spoke with the reservations manager, Mike Epic, and he told me ‘Gary, we’re not only closed for the season, we’re done.’

I was devastated. And we’ve kept the spirit of the tournament going and have played at other courses over the last five years, but we all talk about our return to Kananaskis Golf Course.”

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