Golf designer Les Furber, far right talks to, from left, Morningstar Golf Club head professional Mark Forrest, golf writer Bill Flower, and Morningstar Golf Club general manager Randy LaRoche during his recent visit to the course. — Michael Briones photo

Golf course designer Les Furber set to make Morningstar shine again

Plans underway to improve Parksville golf club for potential buyers

The receiver manager of Morningtstar Golf Club continues to improve the facilities in the hope of returning it to its glory days.

To help achieve this G. Powroznik Group Inc. of G-Force Group, the court-appointed receiver, has hired Les Furber, the designer of the 6,983-yard course that was considered one of the premier golf courses on Vancouver Island in the 1990s. Morningstar went into receivership last year, with reported debts of about $13 million.

It is up for sale now but receiver manager Gary Powroznik said plans continue to review and enhance every major aspect of the property, business and golf experience and get it ready for a new, longterm owner.

Furber visited Morningstar recently and met with general manager Randy LaRoche and golf pro Mark Forrest. The Alberta-based golf course designer and architect said the last time he visited Morningstar was four or five years ago. But whenever he comes back to see the course, he always feels proud of his creation.

“I get a huge feeling of gratitude and satisfaction when I know that people love the gold course, the layout,” said Furber. “If you do something that caters for the masses rather than just the individual or my own ego, that’s very satisfying.”

Furber, who has designed and created more than 80 golf courses globally, said the game has evolved over the years and the objective he wants to achieve at Morningstar is to make the whole experience more palatable and enjoyable.

“What we’re going to try to do is make the course more friendly for the members, the green fee players and to speed up play and let people enjoy it,” said Furber, who has no plans to overhaul the layout of the course.

“It’s just a matter of more flexibility and playability off the tees, maybe some more tee boxes, thinking about a bunker or two that might be redundant because people don’t hit the ball now where they used to. Things like that.”

READ MORE: Morningstar Golf Club is up for sale

Furber, who owns Golf Design Services out of Canmore, Alta., is pleased to see Morningstar is still in great condition.

“I love the variety and the pin placements that are on the greens,” he said. “It still all there. It comes back to me. There is a reason that it’s designed that way. Sometimes people try to cheat on the design and cut corners. It always bite them if they don’t play it the way it’s designed.”

Restoring Morningstar to its former glory is not too far off, said Furber.

“It’s on its way back,” said Furber. “It’s just a matter of injecting some money into improving things that would make the ease of maintenance better. That’s what makes people happy. We’re talking about bunkers, how we cut the roughs. It’s very mature now. It’s got a place in the upper echelons of golf and you can’t take that away from it.”

Golf writer Bill Flower said Furber’s involvement in enhancing Morningstar is a major step in the right direction.

“Having Les Furber come out for this one-day consultation was obviously rewarding for many of the members,” said Flower. “For me personally it shows the commitment by the receiver to seek the best of advice from the course designer himself. Les and I go back 30 years to our association in building Moonlake Golf and Country Club in Saskatoon. Me as an irrigation technician and he as the designer.”

Powroznik is also offering 22.8 acres of vacant land next to holes six and seven for sale, which is not part of the receivership and is under a different ownership.

For more information on the sales process for Morningstar or the adjacent acres of development land go to http://www.g-forcegroup.ca/sale-of-both-development-land-and-adjacent-morningstar-golf-club-ltd-in-receivership/

Morningstar Golf Club is located at 525 Lowry’s Road, Parksville. See more at www.morningstargolf.com.

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