Fore-Running the Golf Season

By Beacon Staff

As Thursday morning dawned, snow, rain, hail, and a little thunder pelted Whitefish. Not particularly auspicious weather for the annual Ski Patrol Open tournament that launches the golf season at Whitefish Golf Club.

“I kept thinking, ‘Don’t snow. Don’t snow,’” said organizer Mark Bloomquist. Due to late snows, the event had already been postponed one week from its slated date. But despite a nasty beginning to the day, even a bit of cool muted sun cast onto the course by mid-afternoon, and the greens even looked … well, green. Both the south and north courses were open today, along with the driving range.

The 24th annual scramble tournament kicked off at 11 a.m. with 88 golfers in a shotgun start. “In its early days, the tournament just had 8 to 10 patrolmen, a few lifties, and 4,200 cases of beer,” joked Bloomquist, who served on Big Mountain Ski Patrol when the tournament originated. “We just went out and hacked and flogged around the course.”

The event is still light-hearted, but it is now a fund-raiser for the Junior Golf Team. It has grown in size since its lowly beginning back in the 1980s. Some of those early-day hacks–playing now in the tournament for over two decades–have mutated into the local golf addicts.

This year, only one women’s team entered the tournament. The first place trophy went to the team from Tamarack Ski Rentals.

“The golf was highly entertaining, but it was a coffee and schnapps day,” added Bloomquist.