General Manager - Gary Ward


I thought you may find this particular bulletin interesting, it’s from an English club and highlights some of the challenges they were facing during and after World War II;
  • Players were asked to collect Bomb and Shrapnel splinters to save damage to the mowing machines.
  • The positions of known delayed-action bombs were marked by red flags placed at reasonably, but not guaranteed safe distance from these bombs.
  • Shrapnel/and/or bomb splinters on the Fairways, or in Bunkers within a club’s length of a ball were allowed to be moved without penalty.
  • A ball lying in a crater was permitted to be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole without penalty.
While this isn’t meant to diminish the severity and magnitude of our current situation, it does illustrate, as they did, we will overcome this challenge!

And, while we may not have the clubhouse or back shop open to start the year, we aren’t dealing with bomb craters on the course.

We will be back on the course enjoying time with friends and family, appreciating how much we all love this wonderful game and club.

Current Situation

As you can imagine, there has been significant work going on behind the scenes to determine what strategies we might consider and implement to best navigate this pandemic.

With the emergency order in place until May 12th, we are already faced with a delayed opening. As of this writing we are hopeful for a last weekend of May/early June opening day. This is obviously out of our direct control and dependant on provincial decisions.

I am hopeful due to important work being conducted by various golf associations across the country. These associations are submitting letters to their provincial governments highlighting why golf courses should be among the first phase of business openings once it’s determined safe to do so. The letters are highlighting the;
  • Physical and mental benefits golf provides.
  • Natural physical and social distancing golf provides, especially with additional precautions the industry is proposing.
  • The capacity to control contact points, thus providing safer work environments for employees and a safe recreational environment for citizens.
  • And employment opportunities the golf industry provides.
The objective is to ensure the industry is doing everything it can to have golf at the front end of the business opening plans.

At Mad River, our financial modelling has determined that under best and worst case scenarios the situation can be effectively managed.

From an operations perspective, we have the benefit of experience from clubs across the U.S. and Canada that are already open and have been open over the past few months. As a result, we feel we have a plan that will allow us to open, once permitted in the safest possible way.

While this is a fluid situation and apt to change between now and opening day, we believe an opening strategy that minimizes, as much as possible, the direct proximity of staff/member, member/member and staff/staff will provide the safest environment.

Our focus is to get you on the golf course playing first and foremost in a way that is safe for you and safe for the staff. Other amenities have been assigned a lower priority and may not be available on opening day.
At this point, we see a phased in approach to opening other services and amenities this season.
Early Season Events and Social Activities

As we are not permitted to open under the emergency orders, all activities until mid-May have been cancelled. Also, due to expected physical distancing measures, it’s very likely that many events will be adversely affected this summer.

We will keep you informed as to events status and are still reviewing plans for events scheduled later in the summer.


Due to our closure, we’ve not brought on our seasonal staff yet, we will be bringing on a select few as we approach final preparations for opening.

Mark Bullen will be returning to the pro shop and starting shortly to assist Brian with a new online sales website Brian is setting up. Ryan Rinneard will also be assisting with online lessons and tips and wherever needed as we anticipate a significant drop in lessons for him this summer.

Michelle Larcher will be our food and beverage leader this summer, once things do normalize Michelle will be your main point of contact in food and beverage. She has a wonderful personality, a strong background in food services and will be a terrific addition to Mad River.

I have decided on our new Chef and am finalizing his start date, which has also been delayed due to this virus. Official announcements will be forthcoming.

Chad’s team are still permitted to complete work on the golf course and as a result are impacted to a lessor degree than other departments. His staff are reduced, but will continue to ramp up as we get more visibility on a potential opening date.

Annual General Meeting

Just a reminder, the AGM will be held on Saturday May 30th at 3:30 pm. Due to the uncertainty of our internet speed and connection, we will be utilizing a hosted conference call. The AGM information package will be mailed out in the first week of May with all the log-in details.


At this point, it’s clear 2020 will be an unusual summer! The staff at Mad River are all committed to remain flexible to adapt to the ever-changing environment and to serve you to the best of our abilities.

We expect the course to be in outstanding condition, we remain optimistic and look forward to some great golf and great experiences this summer!

Hope to see you at the Club soon,

You can reach me by email at or by phone at 705-428-3673.
Gary Ward, General Manager/COO