For the first time in 18 years, Gamètì golfers enjoy upgraded greens

A golfer in Gamètì, N.W.T., welcomed the courses brand new greens with a hole-in-one last week. 

Chief Doreen Arrowmaker said the golf course is a big part of the community and she is excited by the project

Golfers enjoy the new green at the Gamètì golf course. This is the first upgrade to the course in its 18-year history. (Submitted by Brenden Bekale)

A golfer in Gamètì, N.W.T., welcomed the community's recently installed greens with a hole-in-one last week. 

This is the first time the greens, made of artificial turf, have been replaced in the course's 18-year history. 

"They're really good," Brenden Bekale, an avid golfer in the community, said of the new greens. 

Jerry Simpson celebrates his hole-in-one at the Gamètì, N.W.T., golf course. (Submitted by Brenden Bekale)

On the old greens, balls would either bounce right off or roll well past the hole when golfers would try and putt, Bekale said. 

"Before we used to shoot over the green. Now we're not getting it over, we're getting it short … which is a good thing." 

The new greens at the nine-hole course were officially open to golfers last week and it didn't take long for one person to have success with them. 

Community member Jerry Simpson shot the hole-in-one, the first on the greens, Bekale said. 

"The ball disappeared on the green … Everyone started cheering," Bekale said. 

A video on Facebook shows Simpson taking the ball out of the hole and celebrating the accomplishment.

A unique course

Bekale said the Gamètì golf course is unique, referencing the various animals he's seen around it, including a possible moose sighting last week.

"We have all kind of wildlife on the course and you can actually hear them," he said. 

All-terrain vehicles tend to be used as the golf carts, and it's not a place for peace and quiet.

Bekale said fellow golfers like to distract one another while playing, adding a challenge to the game.

"I shouldn't call it trash talking, but you know, like teases," he said. "We'll sometimes just like tease … try and keep it exciting." 

John Bekale sits on his 'golf cart' while playing a road in 2015. All-terrain vehicles are a popular way to get around the course for many people. (Rachel Zelniker/CBC)

Doreen Arrowmaker, Gamètì's chief, said many in the community are happy with the upgrade to such an popular facility. 

"It was so exciting to see this new green … I like to see the progress of this because I think it's an exciting project," she said. 

She said later this summer, the community government will be holding a contest to rename the course and once one is chosen, there will be an opening ceremony.

There are also plans to host a tournament and a youth skills clinic, Arrowmaker said. 

The new greens were the result of local golfers, the community government and the Tłı̨chǫ government.

Arrowmaker said herself, golfers like Bekale, and the community director Belinda Blackduck came up with the plan. 

Gamètì had a five-hole golf course since 2003, but expanded to the 9-hole course in 2015. (Rachel Zelniker/CBC)

"There's a lot of interest in the community and the greens that we did have deteriorated over the 18 years, due to the wear and tear and the weather playing a major factor," she said. 

The funding needed for the project was around $230,000 and required the material as well contracting a company to come up and install them, which took about two weeks of work. 

The new greens are helping create two additional community projects, as the old greens won't be thrown out, but reused. 

Arrowmaker said the community just had a council meeting which set out the plan to use the material from old greens to build an outdoor soccer field and a mini putt course. 


Luke Carroll


Luke Carroll is a journalist with CBC News in Yellowknife who has previously worked in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Luke is originally from Brockville, Ont., and moved to Yellowknife in May 2020. He can be reached at