SPOKANE, Wash. - Indian golfers teed up at Spokane's Indian Canyon Golf
Course the first weekend of June for the 18th annual tournament amid
rainstorms and lightning that twice forced temporary withdrawal to the
clubhouse for safety's sake. This tourney is one of many throughout the
western states with the earliest beginning in March in California and
continuing through October and into November each year.
Ribail, Stauffer & Associates, a company of public accountants,
consultants, and trainers have held this particular event all 18 years.
They work exclusively with Indian clients and the golf tournament is one
way they have of thanking their tribal clients for that association. CEO
Art Ribail stated, "We do this once a year to get everybody together to
yell and scream and shout and have a good time."
The tournament has gotten considerably larger over the years. Initially the
number of golfers was less than 50 but now stands at about 140. Numbers
dropped somewhat this year but is attributed to heavy rains and lightning.
Ribail also noted, "The quality of golf has improved as golf has become
more accessible to tribal members." Many tribes in this region now have
their own courses and that's reflected in better golfers with lower
handicaps. Winning scores normally come within a shot or two of par during
the two-day, 36-hole tourney. Golfers also seem to like the Indian Canyon
for both its beauty and the fact that it's a challenging course. Twice over
18 years the tournament had to be moved to other courses in Spokane and
Ribail said both years the number of golfers dropped dramatically.
Indian Canyon is one of the oldest courses in the vicinity, in excess of
100 years. Even earlier, back in the 1880s when Spokane was known as
Spokane Falls and had a population of just 1,500, a permanent Indian camp
was established in this location. A report stated, "Their tepees dotted the
hillsides and their ponies grazed on the bunch grass beneath the pines."
Perhaps it's appropriate now for an Indian golf tournament to be staged on
Golfers from six states participated, plus a large contingent from Canada.
Some of the best Indian golfers in the western states were present and a
lot of friendly bantering took place. "Take his picture before he tees off
while he's still smiling." And after the tee shot, "That's the best shot
you've ever made on this course," was said in jest. Then after a poor shot,
"I've got his mojo." Comments were somewhat different in the clubhouse
after a very close lightning strike called a temporary halt to play. "I was
just starting to putt when that lightning hit. Man that sure screws up your
concentration," a golfer said.
Winners were rewarded in several categories. The championship flight gross
was won by David Christiansen, PGA pro from the Circling Raven course on
the Coeur d'Alene Reservation. Joe Finley, Colville, took second and Tony
Baptiste, a tribal member from B.C. placed third. The seniors' flight gross
winner was Dave George and the women's' flight winner was Sharon Jack.
These two winners are each tribal members from British Columbia.