Chad Scott

Chad Scott

Vernon golf course has major plans on The Rise

As a golf pro, Chad Scott admires the sweet swings of PGA phenoms Justin Rose and Luke Donald.

As a golf pro, Chad Scott admires the sweet swings of PGA phenoms Justin Rose and Luke Donald.

As director of golf and head pro, Scott relishes the challenge of building the business at The Rise Golf Course, a magnificent 18-holer with major plans on the horizon.

A state-of-the-art practice facility above the seventh tee box opens next season and a new clubhouse will be finished in 2018.

“The practice facility will be comparable to Predator (Ridge Golf Resort),” said the 35-year-old Scott, who joined The Rise this season after six years as an assistant pro at Point Grey in Vancouver and six as head pro at The Harvest in Kelowna.

“Being here to see things from the ground up and doing lots of re-branding under new ownership is really exciting. This is something completely different to me, and these opportunities are far and few between.”

Scott, a 6-foot, 225-pound one-time power winger in Midget AAA hockey who studied golf management at Camosun College in Victoria, says the doom and gloom of the golf industry two years ago has been replaced with a resurgence.

“Golf is in a really good position and state despite what people say but it is not without its challenges.”

The Rise owners purchased 25 acres of land from the adjacent Rise Development group to make room for the practice facility and clubhouse.

“It’s been a great year at The Rise Golf Course. We’ve been working to set a solid foundation,” said GM Ian Renton. “We’re grounded in sustainability, a beautiful and dynamic landscape, and innovation. Now, with this new land and a shared vision with The Rise Development, we’re going to expand on that foundation – move forward and create a true destination.”

The Rise Development property borders The Rise Golf Course and it represents 300-plus investors who are currently building a new subdivision called Bellago. They’re starting with 36 well-appointed villas with lake views and proximity to The Rise Golf course.

“We’re curating the entire experience,” said Bruce McRitchie, board secretary. “It’s a distinctive place where the sky, land, and lake meet. People will want to visit and won’t want to leave. It’s an exciting time for The Rise Development group, The Rise Golf, and for the City of Vernon.”

Scott, a father of a two-year-old son named Harper with his wife, Julie,  will shut down the pro shop in December and begin planning for next season. He oversaw a staff of 10 outside employees this year with superintedent Alex Rokus grooming the immaculate course with his own team.

The membership is small but local and visiting green fees kept the course busy this past summer.

“We have a 100 members and quite a few are residents,” said Scott. “We do get a lot of traffic from Alberta but our largest destination numbers are from the Lower Mainland. The feedback we receive is mostly that the views are spectacular and tough to beat. We also get several comments on how the course is in such great shape. We have a few quirks and nuances like any golf course, but at the end of the day, that’s what makes your golf course.”

Scott noted that Freddy’s Patio has proved highly popular, a spot where guests can dine and enjoy the views of Okanagan Lake from the 10th tee. The 2,000-square-foot roof shades from the heat and rain. The Rise is 1,000 feet above Okanagan Lake and a view of Kalamalka Lake also comes into play.

Scott is promoting The Rise’s identity through widespread marketing, some in the Seattle area where course designer Fred Couples hails from – Couples played the opening round with some NHL players in 2008. World-class course builder Gene Bates helped design the landscape which nicely incorporates natural wetlands with plush fairways and greens.

The amiable Scott took up golf at age four while riding around in his grandmother’s car in Fernie.

“I had a real putter and she would let me putt and taught me about the game and the proper etiquette.”

At 12, Chad was encouraged by his father, Alan, to take a job at the Fernie Golf Club.

The family house was beside the 12th green so Chad would get in loads of chips and putts free of charge.

“I picked the range and we literally played 36 holes a day and we could go home for dinner and then play another nine. I started working in the golf shop when I was 16 and it never felt like a job.”