Fifteen years ago, Mike and Joan Jiggins decided they had waited long enough and instead of talking about their dream, acted on it.
In June of 1996, they opened a new golf course north of Qualicum Beach the Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club. It beginnings lie in the trips the Jiggins took to Palm Springs back in those early days. Mike said they would travel there, play golf and see a lot of people from Qualicum Beach and Parksville on those California links. The course they enjoyed there also gave them ideas, as it had been designed for the older set, with east fairways and greens allowing for a more comfortable walk.
Living on property in Qualicum Bay that was once owned by forest company MacMillan Bloedel, Mike said they decided to turn it into a golf course like the one they enjoyed down south so much. So, they hired a course designer from Florida and embarked on a five-year process with various levels of government to win approval.
“It seemed like it took a long time,” he said. “No one ever said no to us about it, but it did take some time.”
When the approvals were formal, they cleared the land and designed and built the course with excellent drainage and gentle contours to cater to older golfers. Yet, Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club appeals to a variety of golfers — those just starting, to the experienced.
Support for the course early on was key to their success, said Mike.
They opened club membership up to 300 people and filled it — and at 300 it has remained. The course is open to the public, of course, yet Mike said it’s the members who have been there 15 years who help kept the club afloat.
“Those members,” he said, “they are the backbone of the club.”
Over those 15 years, Mike said he’s seen plenty of change. Arrowsmith enlarged its lounge space four years ago and added on to its pro shop. In the high season, they employ around 38 people.
As the patriarch of a large mid-Island family that owns and operates properties in Qualicum Beach and Parksville, Mike employs another 30 or so at the Paradise Hotel and mini-golf (the one with the old woman’s shoe). Mike’s sons and daughters all work in the family business in some capacity — a great legacy created in the community.
While this year has been unusually damp, Mike said the golf business in the mid-Island is good and having seven courses here doesn’t hurt — it brings in more visitors who enjoy golf and, therefore, have a lot of options.
“There’s a lot to be said for a variety of choices,” he continued. “People can play a variety of courses in a week and be challenged by different holes.”
Catering to a variety of golf abilities and levels, Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club is a full-service facility, with practice areas, lessons and more.
For details and tee times, call 1-866-582-8633 or visit www.golfarrowsmith.com.
Celebrate 15 years at
Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club is holding a 15th anniversary celebration Sat., June 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It’s an open house and birthday party, featuring golf skills events, door prizes and sales, refreshments, snacks and more. For details, call 250-752-9727.