CI swingers drove close to the green

On the whole it was interesting year for local golf with many long drives and agonizing putts. Going into 2011 it would be fair to say the overall score is still under par.

The first strokes came in March with the launch of the inaugural Yellow Pages Open. The charity golf tournament saw the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages (with staff like Sean Landreth, Eileen Keens and Kevin Celtorius on hand) raise over CI$10,000 for the Estella Scott Roberts Foundation and Cayman’s junior golfers.

April saw the 18th annual Cayman Islands Amateur Golf Championship sponsored by NCB Homes. The 18-hole North Sound Golf Club would see roughly 40 golfers compete. The division winners would be Tracy Moore (senior), Tom Crawford (super senior), Samantha Widmer (women) and Joel Dodson (men).

In May the annual RE/MAX Chamber of Commerce Charity Golf Classic hit the links. Campbell’s Attorneys-at-Law raised $1,600 to send four Lighthouse School students to a special summer camp.

June saw Cayman compete in the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in Barbados. Samantha Widmer provided the lone bright spot for Cayman by winning the women’s individual stroke play category.

In August Cayman sent a team of young players to the annual Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships in Freeport, Bahamas. Representing Cayman were Jack Widmer, 17, Peter Mitchell, 16, Sai Eccles, 15, and Emily Ribbins, 15. All turned in personal bests with Eccles, Mitchell and Ribbins improving by 20 strokes.

September saw the Royal Bank of Canada’s 13th annual charitable golf tournament to benefit the Cayman Islands Red Cross. A record CI$41,120 was raised during the competition. A total of 43 teams and 172 golfers took part with the Premier McKeeva Bush officially opening the tournament.

Also that month local golfer Samantha Widmer was named the 2010 Miss Earth Cayman Islands. Widmer, 23, got the accolade just before competing in the 18th annual President’s Trophy golf tournament at North Sound. In the face of 70 golfers Widmer would lose her ladies title to Emily Ribbins (who also claimed the junior category).

October saw Dragon Bay Developer Mike Ryan announce that the development of a new golf course on Grand Cayman to replace the North Sound Golf Club was being delayed. The golf club was scheduled to close in November to accommodate the conversion of the nine-hole Blue Tip at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman facility into an 18-hole venue.

Later that month it was announced that former national team coach Kevin Mumford left island. The former golf pro at North Sound had been in Cayman roughly two years and took up a new position at a golf course in the Bahamas.

November saw the annual general meeting of the Cayman Islands Golf Association. The new members elected for 2011 were: Joel Dodson (president), Serge Berube (vice-president), David Bird (secretary), Jason Perras (treasurer). Outgoing president Judy Van Liere served in her post the past two years.

The last major news came just before Christmas. In late December the Blue Tip Golf Course at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman hosted a two-day tournament. Dubbed the inaugural “Friends Invitational Pro-Am,” eight international players hit the links alongside local players such as Emily Ribbins.

Ultimately golf faces an uncertain future due to available facilities. However with the local talent seen here posting low scores should be a regular part of Cayman’s scorecard.


The North Sound Golf Club is staying open for now. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES

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