Former Sioux Lookout Resident Works for Golf BC
by Scott A. Sumner
Kevin Isabey is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Golf BC in the Okanagan region. This group includes the Okanagan Golf Club, home of the Bear and Quail courses as well as Gallaghers Canyon and Pinnacle Golf Course. "Today we are playing our championship course, the Canyon at Gallaghers," noted Kevin Isabey. "The original design was done by Bill Robinson. In 1992 Les Furber did the redesign for the reconfiguration for the homes. We also have the Pinnacle Golf Course which is a 9 hole mid length which Les Furber designed as well."
There are 400 members at Gallagher's and the golf course does 43,000 to 44,000 rounds per year. The membership cost is an equity membership of $16,000 which is your initiation fee. The dues are around $1600 per year. The rack rate for green fee play is $105.00 plus GST, and with a power cart, driving range and taxes is $131.00. "We do about 22,000 - 23,000 member rounds and about 18,000 green fee rounds. This is sort of that 60-40 combination which is what most semi private courses are looking for. Our season runs from April 1st typically and usually right through to the end of October," states Isabey.
"Gallagher''s we keep open to the middle of October. It is all weather dependent. Last year we closed on the October 31st."
There is a lot of housing going on at Gallagher's as part of another division of the parent company owner. There are single family homes townhomes on both sides of the golf course owned by Burrard International, the parent company of Golf BC owned by Kaleb and Tom Chan based out of Vancouver. In their company are 14 golfing properties including 5 in Hawaii, 2 in Victoria including Olympic View as well as Whistler Nicklaus North, Furry Creek in Squamish and in Richmond Mayfair Lakes. On Gallagher's there are 450 homes and they are looking at bringing it up to 650 to 700 in about three years. The houses range from $300,000 to a million plus.
"Gallagher's Canyon is the type of course that you never get tired of the view. The views are spectacular. During your round of golf you hit every club in your bag. Every round seems to be different," smiles Isabey. "There are different lies and stances that you are faced with which require different types of shots. The course is always in fantastic shape. That is what it is know for. Also the greens are fast. At 3 pm they will be at 10 or 11 on the stempmeter. In the summer time we are at about 80 to 90 employees, with many on the greens staff."
"It's a small world and interesting to find out Kevin Isabey is from Sioux Lookout, Ontario. "My grandparents have lived here in the Okanagan for about 30 some years. I used to come here as a kid on vacation and always knew I wanted to live in this area. It has great out door activities and I enjoy that," smiles the 33 year old Isabey. "The route I took through golf started in Orlando, Florida going to a school there called the Golf Academy. I turned professional, went to Victoria and that brought me to British Columbia. From there I went to work for a golf school company called John Jacobs Golf. I went to Phoenix, Arizona for a few years, teaching golf and spending the summers back in Victoria. The last few years I spent in Las Vegas with John Jacobs and they started a company in Kelowna. I just decided to make camp and stay in Kelowna and move into the sales and marketing area."
Isabey originally started in the golf business as a golf professional and teaching was his main interest. "I tried to incorporate that teaching approach I learned into our Gallagher's Canyon academy. When I began as a golf professional you needed a program or degree in business. I did the three year golf professional management in Victoria and ended up completing it to get my business degree and all the accreditation to become a Canadian PGA member." states Isabey. "In 1999 I got my class A and had became a professional in 1996. It been great. I spent my first 14 or 15 years full time in Sioux Lookout and from there tried a career in hockey. In Sioux Lookout we had a 9 hole golf course that had oil sand greens. I started golfing at age 16 or 17 when they put in the grass greens. The game of golf just grabs you. I was hooked and didnt look back. After I realized the dream of being a hockey player wasn't going to happen I decided to pursue a career in golf and went for it. "