GolfBC Championships returning to Gallagher's Canyon

After a successful launch last year, the GolfBC Championship is returning to Kelowna this summer.

The tournament is part of the Mackenzie Tour - one of the PGA's qualifying tours that runs in Canada every summer.

Gallagher’s Canyon General Manager Peter Hopley says it's a chance for local golf nuts to get involved with high-level play, but without the same barriers as a PGA event.

"People didn't realize that they could caddy, first off, without being a scratch player, or knew or had some history with the course," he said.

"The Mackenzie Tour is not the PGA Tour, these guys don't have the money, really, to have the full-time caddy out there on tour and paying expenses for that person. They just need carry the bag."

As for improving things from last year, Hopley says they actually had a pretty good problem.

"We were maybe over-prepared in some areas. I think one day, for this tournament, we'd love to grow it and bring in 10,000-15,000 spectators. And we were prepared for that this year, but didn't really require it."

He says the other potential improvement is completely out of their control - that would be weather, as the course got rain during three of the four days last year.

Hopley also admits shutting down the course to the public for an entire week is a big commitment, but says he saw many members welcome the golfers with open arms.

"The relationship that I saw form between a lot of them was very cool. We even had some members that went and caddied for their billets in other tournaments," he said.

"We had one member that went to two separate tournaments - one in Edmonton and one in Calgary - to caddy for his player."

American Dan McCarthy won last year's event, finishing at 25-under par.

Kurt Kitayama also set a new course record for Gallagher's, when he shot a 9-under 62 during the second round.

This year's tournament runs the week of June 12-18.

Last year's event raised $150,000 dollars for the BC Cancer Foundation.