In 2007, Max Sherwood received an offer he could not refuse.
The longtime Fernie resident was given the opportunity to become head pro at the St. Eugene Golf Course in Cranbrook, and he took it.
But now Sherwood is back as the new general manager and head pro at the Fernie Golf & Country Club (FGCC).
Sherwood first arrived in Fernie in the early 1990s.
“I came to be ski coach for the local racing team thinking that it would be relatively short term,” he said. “And that was about 27 years ago.”
He joined Fernie Golf & Country Club as assistant pro in 1995 and the sport quickly became one of his passions.
Golf, he said, is one of the only sports where everyone from teenagers to seniors can come together and compete on a level playing field.
“It’s pretty fun to see a grandfather or grandmother out playing golf with their grandkids here,” he said. “And no other game really allows for that sort of generational interaction.”
Now at FGCC he is implementing a number of initiatives to make golf more enticing and affordable for young players, families and seniors.
“I learned a lot in the last 10 years at St. Eugene and I am excited to share what I have learned,” he said. “Fernie is home for me and it is nice to be back in the community that I really love.”
New initiatives include reduced early morning and twilight green fees and offering an affordable new one-hour short loop of four or five holes for those who don’t have the time or energy to play a full round of golf.
In an effort to get young players out, children of adult members will get to golf for free and adult club members can sponsor any junior in the community to a free full membership and driving range pass. There will also be a reduced membership fee for golfers aged 19 to 29.
“We’re trying to help those who might not be established financially to have access to the golf course,” said Sherwood.
This July the club is hosting the Future Links Western Canadian Championships Golf Tournament for the top 17 and under boys and girls in Western Canada.
“It’s a big deal for a club of our size to undertake,” said Sherwood. “We’ll need a lot of volunteers to help with the implementation of it but that speaks to our commitment to grow the game of golf.”
Founded in 1918, the Fernie Golf & Country Club is known for its picturesque mountain vistas and walkable and playable course. The 18-hole 70-par course is challenging, featuring mature, tree-lined fairways, strategically placed water hazards and Rocky Mountain views in every direction.
The club recently joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf and is working toward being recognized by this award winning education and certification program. The driving range is already open and the course will be open the second week of May.