New Phantom Lake golf pro looking ahead

Most sports enthusiasts might imagine a professional golfer touring throughout North America to tournaments for big trophies and giant cheques.

Kelly McLaren, the new golf pro at Phantom Lake Golf Course, isn’t living that lifestyle. His job description is far more extensive, including everything from providing lessons to running the pro shop and keeping track of the canteen. He started golfing at a young age and his love for the sport kept him involved.

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“My father got me started and my brother also played and he was a great player, so I just continued playing as a youngster and then I turned pro at 18. An assistant pro, mind you,” he said. “I just kept at it.”

McLaren was an apprentice golf pro for five years before taking an extensive eight-hour exam to graduate. His experience turning professional is not the way it is done now.

“It was more hands-on versus the stuff that the kids - and I call them kids - (do now) just going and getting into university and then they’re slapped into a job so they don’t have the the hands-on training,” he said.

McLaren grew up in Flin Flon and appreciates the work that went into constructing and opening Phantom Lake.

“I give thumbs up to the old-timers who built this with what they had to work with, which wasn’t very much back then,” he said. “It’s a very nice layout and we have successful men’s nights, ladies’ nights and all other functions.”

McLaren said the hard work of the grounds crew, especially course superintendent Brett Stephenson, makes his job much easier.

“Everybody’s done a phenomenal job of keeping this place looking the way it is,” he said “Our superintendent, his crew, they got to work lots of hours, and it wasn’t easy.”

The course opened on May 16 and the first men’s night of the year was on May 23. The nine-hole course is situated between Creighton and Flin Flon.

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