Rick Hoole is anxious to get to work again on “America’s loneliest golf course.”
That’s how Golf.com described The Bald Eagle Golf Club in a national feature story last year on the Point Roberts’ course that has been locked up since the Canadian/U.S. border was initially closed to non-essential travel back in March 2020. Without Canadians there was no reason to keep the public course open.
Hoole is the course superintendent who worked tirelessly for months on the near 7,000-yard layout to ensure the greens, fairways, bunkers and tee boxes were maintained to a minimum standard as the club waited for the travel restrictions to ease.
When the U.S. border finally re-opened in early November, nearly 20 months later, the peak season had passed and the decision was made to wait until 2022.
Now with Point Roberts having special border exemption and better weather on the horizon, there is at last an opportunity to re-open Bald Eagle, but it’s going to need some significant work.
“I sure hope the owners want to get a start on bringing the course back to playable shape,” said Hoole who was in San Diego attending a Golf Course Superintendent Association of America tradeshow when he spoke with the Optimist.
Originally known as the Point Roberts Golf Club when it opened 21 years ago, the course was sold in 2017 to Chinese investors and significant money was spent on the redevelopment that also includes the Waterford Homes project that borders three of the holes and is still in the selling stage.
The Bald Eagle ownership group is linked to the Point Roberts Marina that was also sold to Asian businessmen back in 2015. Accountant Zihao Ding is that acting manager at the marina and is awaiting word on 2022 plans to re-open Bald Eagle.
“The Bald Eagle situation is really still up in the air and I cannot say anything for certain,” Ding told the Optimist. “I just overheard they might open up and want to hire more people, but that’s really all I know about it at this time.”
The pandemic has resulted in a surge of interest in golf at the recreational level with tee times being a challenge at Metro Vancouver courses. Now, Bald Eagle just needs to start making up for lost time.
“Not taking advantage of how busy the golf business is right now is the hardest part,” Bald Eagle general manager and head professional Kyle German told the Optimist last fall. “We have a new ownership group that has put a lot of money into the course. We were building momentum and it’s hard from an owner’s perspective not to see (any kind of return). Realistically, it’s been two years off where every other course has been able to make up for their previous shortfalls.”