Month: April 2020

Spring is Here

This afternoon I was feeling sorry for myself. I think its because I have had too much time on my hands. It is nice that the weather is warming because I’m not sure how much more being in my house for weeks at a time I could take. I have a question for you. How many times can you do a project, wash a dish, clean your yard, binge watch Netflix before things start to get monotonous? I will tell you, about 3 weeks worth.

With it warming up I thought I would get out of the house grab a few golf clubs, a bucket of balls, my camera and tripod, and my Dad’s gator and go for a drive.

As I got down to hole 11 Dad’s gator started acting funny. It would start but was sputtering right away. The only way I could keep it running is by choking the crap out of it while I pumped the gas. I shut it off and could not believe my bad luck. I started to feel sorry for myself again. But then I thought, I was not going to let this circumstance get me down. I would walk back to my truck and take pictures along the way, trying to make the most of the situation I found myself in.

I felt bad because our Superintendent Aidan was going to use it tomorrow when he and the guys remove the tarps off of our greens. I also flashed back to the times when I worked for my Dad and would break something or do something wrong. I love my Dad, and he has mellowed a lot over the years, but ask my brothers he has not been the easiest boss to work for. ha ha.

As I made my way closer to my truck I opened my eyes and really took in what a beautiful evening it was. The temperature was perfect, the sun was starting to set, you could almost taste the fresh air. My annoyance at getting stranded, my boredom, even some of my worry started to slip away. Its amazing what getting out in open space and a little exercise will do for someone. One of the great things about living in Canada, is that we have a lot of open space available for us to use.

I made it to my truck and home, but as it gets later in the evening I am starting to think about how I am going to tow the gator in to the shop before my Dad gets up. Its probably an easy fix or at least covered under warranty, but I’m sure he will still give me a hard time. The joys of working in a family business I guess.

I saw something funny earlier today. Myself Aidan and Dad were working in the shop getting our Pro Gator going. When my Dad was moving his truck he decided he didn’t want to make ruts on the path by the shop and decided to “giver” up this hill by the shop. He ended up making worse ruts on the grass.. I looked at Aidan and said to him, ” You know, if me or you did that we would be in supreme shit”. So true. But Dad has worked hard to get what he has today. It is his show. He can do what he wants when it comes to his things. Much respect toward him.

Dorchester Ranch Golf Course looks to have wintered well, and we are very excited to begin work on getting our course in as best shape as possible to start the 2020 golf season.

I know we have a lot of customers wondering when we are opening. As you can see from the photos in this blog, if we were let, we probably would be opening this weekend coming up. My hope is that we get to open sometime in May. I would like to think for sure by June. But as you know, during this time it is hard to say things with certainty.

We appreciate our loyal customers at this time. Without you we could not operate. You are what drives our engine so to speak, and we would like to thank all of you for thinking of us during this time, or in the future. We are still here and we are thinking of you. We are planning and getting ready to open and can’t wait until that time.

The Dorchester Ranch

My Grandpa Tom and Grandma Joy’s original Ranch is “kitty corner” to the quarter that the front 9 of Dorchester Ranch Golf Course was built on. The original ranch is still in the family.

Grandpa Tom was born on May 11, 1911. He grew up in the Angus Ridge district south of Wetaskiwin. Grandma Joy Schantz was born March 22, 1916. she grew up in the Rosebrier area south west of Wetaskiwin. When they got married they lived in the outskirts of Wetaskiwin briefly before moving to Canmore where Grandpa secured a job Coal mining. Eventually Grandma and Grandpa moved to the Pigeon Lake area, where they would live for the bulk of their lives. They bought the original house and quarter, that is pictured, from Carl Fiveland. Tom started racing chuck wagons professionally in 1944. For many years he drove the Jack Sheckter wagon and later the Stewart Ranches wagon. There were times through out the years that when they traveled long distances to race, the kids would stay home at the Ranch for sometimes a week at a time. There was a large age gap in the siblings, so some of the older sisters would be in charge and they would be looked in on by helpful neighbors like Ruby Gist. It seemed like kids grew up a lot quicker back in those days. You can just imagine some of the trouble these farm kids got into over the years. You know what? They all turned out to be good people with good morals and a great deal of character. It is remarkable how times have changed. It makes you wonder at times, if we have went too far the other way when raising our kids.

Top Row – Dallas, Denis, Joan, Gordie, Gary
Bottom Row – Sharon, Tom, Joy, Joan

The Dorchester side of our family is very close and connected. While growing up, all of my Aunts or Uncle’s have lived in the Pigeon Lake area. Currently there are 2 brothers and 2 sisters living within a 15 minute drive of each other. We still get together as a group fairly regularly, and with cousins and second cousins our family gatherings can get quite large. It is wonderful to think, that if my Grandma and Grandpa were alive, there would be 5 generations of family in attendance. Something I love about my family is they are story tellers. I have heard many of my Dad’s stories and some of them have really stuck with me and I marvel at they life he and my aunts and uncles had growing up. Here is one of those stories.

The summer of 1955 was a cool and dreary season. During this time the brothers ranged from 9 to 14. It was on one of these days that my dad Gordie and his brothers Gary, Dallas, and Dennis set out on an adventure of sorts. You see, their Dad Tommy had bought some dynamite at an auction recently and the boys knew where he had hid it. Tom was chuck wagon racing, and the boys had spotted a beaver dam down on the battle river approximately 5 km away. They set out in the morning excited, nervous at what the day would bring. When they got to the beaver dam they took a pry bar and made a hole in the dam and dropped 2 sticks down the hole. Somehow Gary had found out how to wire up the caps and so they got everything ready strung out a fuse and hid behind a willow bush. They lit the fuse and, nothing. Assuming that they wired it wrong a few of the boys decided to go and look at their wiring job. They got about 1/2 way back to the damn and BOOOM it exploded. Gordie said the ground of the beaver damn raised a good two feet with the explosion and debris was scattered throughout the area. The boys agreed that Tom could not find out about this, and they kept the secret. At least until they were grown when inevitably this story came out, too late for Tom to be mad. He just smiled and shook his head.

Support Local

The amount of impact the Covid – 19 crisis will have on our economy will be unprecedented. Many of our business are being affected greatly. It is encouraging and uplifting to see how businesses are adapting and changing to try to respond to the crisis. The sad thing is we do not all have the means to respond in creative or necessary ways. I am calling on all of us as consumers, to support our small and medium sized business during this time, and to try to support local.

You may ask what supporting local might look like. People are not wanting to leave their homes for the necessities, why would they leave to buy a golf pass or a retail item. Many businesses that are remaining open, are taking payment online or over the phone. These same businesses are being creative in how they deliver their services to you. So, if you can afford it, buy a gift card from your favorite store. Buy a gift card from a golf course. We will overcome this crisis, but small and medium size businesses need your help to come out on the other end.

Dorchester Ranch Golf Course is a seasonal business. The weather is such that in central and northern Alberta that even if we wanted to, we cannot be open due to snow. In southern Alberta courses are opening or open. We hope that the diversion from the monotony of today’s reality brings our customers a positive experience that may serve to make it easier for them during this time.

Some people, due to the circumstances of businesses and Covid, cannot afford to support businesses. We need to be kind to each other be supportive of each other. Don’t be afraid to come forward if you need help or offer help if you think its needed.

I believe it is important to remain reasoned and calm at this time. Some information being passed around is incorrect, or partially true. That is why I believe we need to put our trust into our provincial governments right now. Let them be our voice of reason. All politics aside, we need to respect what they say and minimally adhere to what their recommendations are. Ultimately, many businesses are staying open by changing the way they do business. They are following the strict guidelines that the Alberta government have given us, and still providing their unique services to customers. How do you know what these guidelines are? Go to the Alberta Government website If you are looking for a place to see what type of aid you or your business may qualify for go to our local Chambers website

Dorchester Ranch is now asking for your support. We ask that if you were thinking of purchasing a golf membership for the 2020 golf season to do so now. If you were thinking of buying a 10 pass punch card, we can accommodate you. Even if you were thinking of playing a few rounds at Dorchester, we can make that happen with a gift card. Currently we have no way of 100% knowing, between weather and the on-going crisis the exact date that we will be able to open to the public. In the meantime we will be working behind the scenes to ensure that we are ready to go as soon as we can. Greens and Fairways still need maintenance and your support will enable us to do this.

For info or if you have any questions please contact Kyle at 780 312-9284.

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