Sisters Meghan and Heather McLean will be among four Valley representatives competing for national glory at Ken-Wo throughout the last week of July.
NEW MINAS - Some of the country’s top amateur golfers will soon go head to head in Kings County.
The Ken-Wo Golf Club was selected to host the 2016 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship from July 26-29.
It is anticipated the event will attract up to 125 players, with some athletes coming from as far afield as the United States, Mexico, Colombia, New Zealand, Australia and Korea.
“There’s certainly going to be some players here at the end of July - and we may not know who they are at that time - but two, three, four, fives years down the road we may very well see them playing on TV and winning championships,said Ken-Wo’s general manager Rene MacKay.
“That’s how strong the field is.”
The event will mark the fifth national championship hosted by the New Minas-based club.
Four of Ken-Wo’s own members – Meghan McLean, Heather McLean, Nikki Dolbaczuk and Darcy Fuller – will be representing the Annapolis Valley in the high level tournament.
“They’re all very good players and it’s a different arena for them to be in,” said MacKay.
“They’re going to be on the practice green in the practice range among some of the best amateurs in the country.”
MacKay said “home course knowledge” will prove helpful for the local competitors, but focus will be key in the high pressure situations.
“They just need to take it one shot at a time, soak in the atmosphere, soak in the experience.”
Port Williams resident Heather McLean is focusing on getting better acquainted with her home turf before she competes with the best of the best.
“When I play Ken-Wo I am bringing a yardage book with me and making notes of targets and slopes in greens. I am also playing from the back tees to get used to the extra distance,” the 15-year-old said.
“My goal for the event is to make the cut. It will be difficult but it would be a huge accomplishment. I want to enjoy my time playing in such a big event and use it as a learning experience.”
She’s nervous leading up to the event, but excited at the same time knowing she’ll have a lot of support from her peers at Ken-Wo, including her sister and fellow competitor, Meghan McLean.
Meghan, 18, started with the junior program at Ken-Wo when she was eight years old. She now helps teach young children how to golf through the club’s swing start program.
“I like the feeling of succeeding after a great round of golf. When you put so many hours into your game and then it pays off, it the best feeling in the world,” she said.
Like her sister, she’s going into the event to make the cut and have some fun with the hometown crowd.
“I love it when people watch me golf because I can turn my nerves into good golf shots. It's going to be nice to see familiar faces cheering me on.”
Guests are encouraged to visit Ken-Wo and watch the action free of charge. Leader boards will be set up in the pro shop to help spectators decide which athletes to follow.
“The golf course has never been better. The condition of the golf course is unbelievable,” said MacKay, who stressed that the staff, membership and volunteers went above and beyond in preparing for the tournament.
“Over 140 volunteers stepped up to be part of that week.”