Contrary to popular belief, Jan Best doesn’t play a lot of golf.
Tuesday, June 1, the Mount Brenton Golf Course head professional did play a whole lot of golf in a golfathon fundraiser for the ALS Society of B.C. – 180 holes, in fact, during a 10-round blitz of the course in eight and a half hours.
“Before this, I played two rounds of nine holes this year,” Best confided. “That’s it. By June 1, I have 11 rounds. My staff always jokes that’s the day you get all your golf in one day.”
With a young family and other aspects of the golf business than actually playing to keep him busy, there isn’t much time to play.
Best is always happy to contribute to the ALS fundraiser that’s become an important event for the Professional Golfers’ Association of B.C. head professionals. Other than missing the pandemic version of the event last year, Best has been involved for more than a decade going back to 2009, starting when he was an associate pro at Mount Brenton and continuing since he assumed the professional’s duties.
He was happy to do his part, but obviously feeling tired at the end due to the endurance factor and an early start. He was up and out of bed at the crack of 2:30 a.m., on the course by 3:22 a.m. and finished at noon.
And how did he see in those early darkness hours, you ask?
“I’ve got these super powerful floodlights that go on top of the carts,” he explained.
By 4:30 a.m. on what turned out to be a warm clear day, visibility was already half decent to follow the flight of his ball.
“I’ve been doing the early thing for a couple of years now, mainly because you get more rounds in that way,” Best indicated. “Each pro picks their own way to do it.”
Best likes being on the course by himself for a long period of time before it opens to the public at 7 a.m.
After that, he played through groups on the course, with the aid of drivers Leonard Sigurdson and Peter Collum to alert the golfers when he was upon them.
“With the heat, it wasn’t as busy as usual,” noted Best.
Richard Redfern volunteered his services to collect donations. Best has received more than $4,000 for ALS from his efforts so far, with more coming in.
Along the way in his marathon, Best played some pretty strong golf. He recorded two eagles on No. 1 and 10, with 22 birdies, while compiling scores for his rounds of 75, 72, 68, 73, 69, 72, 79, 74, 69 and 73 that would make most golfers envious on a good day.
Round Seven was a bit of a troublesome one at 79, but you can’t win ‘em all.
Golf professionals around the province will be continuing with the 16th annual fundraiser throughout June to support those living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects a person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and elsewhere. There is no known cause or cure yet.
“On behalf of the association, I am extremely proud of the PGA of BC’s involvement with the Golfathon for ALS, benefiting the ALS Society of BC patient services,” noted Donald Miyazaki, executive director of the PGA of BC. “Throughout our years of participation, the efforts of countless golf professionals and volunteers have helped raise over $2.1 million. The program has assisted tens of thousands of individuals throughout British Columbia affected by this deadly disease. I am confident that with the continued support of our members, 2021 will be yet another successful PGA of BC Golfathon for ALS.”