The future of the Shadow Ridge golf course has never looked better as the 18-hole layout celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.
City officials and Shadow Ridge management staff were on hand Wednesday morning to reinforce that message in the wake of adverse publicity about the course’s future the last two years.
James Presnail, general manager of Shadow Ridge, which has a five-year management operation agreement with the Monaghan Golf Group, acknowledged the public perception battle about the course’s future has been waged on two fronts.
One is people thinking the course has flooding issues and isn’t playable. “The reality is it’s never been in better shape over the last 30 years than it is right now, and it remains a must-be play experience for Kelowna and visiting golfers,” Presnail said.
The course was closed for three days this spring due to high water issues but flooding has not been a concern this year.
The second front involves the purchase of the course by Kelowna International Airport through the City of Kelowna in 2016 as future development land to accommodate airport expansion plans.
“The perception is when the airport purchased the course that it would close. But we have a great partnership with the airport and look forward to a long future at Shadow Ridge.”
Sam Samadaar, Kelowna airport manager, complemented the Monaghan group for weathering a difficult past two years and working with the city to resurrect the golf course from flooding issues.
“The unique thing about this course is not often can you play golf and watch an air show at the same time. You get two bangs for your buck,” said Samadaar said of the air traffic coming and going throughout the day from YLW.
He said buying the 84-acre Shadow Ridge property was about long-term planning to ensure the airport has the land to expand at a sustainable rate.
“We are expecting to break the two million passenger mark this year for the first time in the airport’s history,” Samadaar said.
“We have a five-year commitment with the Monaghan Group and we look forward to seeing a number of great years ahead for golf here,” he added.
Mayor Colin Basran also complemented Shadow Ridge as the best course to walk in Kelowna because of the flat terrain and the backdrop of airplane traffic, but he said the course also represents a personal connection for him.
Basran said his grandfather was an owner of part of the land where the golf course now exists, and he can remember family visits there as a kid.
“My son Keenan never met my grandfather but I can pass on to him the stories of my youth spend out here before this ever became a golf course,” he said. “These are things that had an impact on my life growing up and I can now pass those stories on to him.”
With that, Basran and his son teed up from the first hole and played a few holes walking the course following the press conference.