Snappy optimism for a great golf year

New KLGC manager Brian Oates and rodent dog Kiya looking forward to life on the greens


When the local golf club hired a new manager, they may not have realized that he would come equipped with a nippy bonus.

Brian Oates, who takes up the reins of his new position at the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club on Monday, will not be working solo on the gorgeous greens.

“I’m bringing my dog, Kiya,” said Oates. “She’s a golf course dog. She’s seven years old, she weighs 12 pounds, and she chases geese off the course, she catches rodents, gophers, snakes and muskrats – anything I want to get off the golf course, she will chase it out for me. Birds and rodents can do an awful lot of damage on the greens, and she is wonderful. She’s full of energy, and her ears are so big.”

Oates likes his high-powered Jack Russell dog so much he even shares his birthday parties with her.

“My birthday is on January 21, and we share the day together,” he said. “She doesn’t quite know what is going on when the party starts. It isn’t actually her birthday, but she was a gift, just a puppy, that my two daughters gave me on my 50th, so we always celebrate it together.”

Oates is based in Saskatoon, and while his girlfriend will keep working there, he will be installed most of the year in Killarney, as General Manager of Golf Course Operations.

“It’s a seven hour drive, so I won’t be able to make it home for weekends,” he said.

Oates has 30 years of experience on golf courses, after achieving first his Turf Management diploma from Olds College in Alberta.

His most recent posting was at the Good Spirit Golf Course, located in a Saskatchewan provincial park, for the past three years.

“It was a beautiful location, with an incredible clubhouse and facility,” he said. “But Covid restrictions made everything so difficult, and they weren’t sure if it would be opening again. So I was looking around for other opportunities, anywhere in Canada. I accidentally saw the Manitoba posting, here at the Killarney golf course, while I was looking at Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

Oates said he couldn’t believe how beautiful and clean the town was, and said he was looking forward to making new friends here, and enjoying a game of golf on the course when spring finally arrives. 

“I will be chatting with the board to find out what they are looking for,” he said. “I want to bring an upbeat attitude, and happiness to the course. One of the first things I will be doing is getting acquainted with the new Point of Sale (POS) system in the clubhouse, meeting with local companies, vendors, and checking on the mechanical equipment. I can do most of the golf course mechanical work, if I have the time – I have 30 years of experience of fixing and maintaining mechanical.”

Oates said he invites everyone to drop in for a chat, to meet up, and to give him ideas. 

“I will be at the maintenance shop, or in the clubhouse,” he said. “And I will be living right next to the golf course, next to the #18 tee box. M.J. Hiebert is letting me stay in the house there, and I can walk right out the door and onto the course, and onto the lake, if I want to. It’s incredible.”

And he added that the golf course was about more than just teeing off onto the greens

“It’s not just a golf course,” said Oates. “It’s also about families, visitors, and the clubhouse, and the restaurant too. I want to make it all a wonderful experience, I want to solve any issues, and make sure people are happy. If there are problems, or questions, I hope people will come and see me face-to-face, and not go on social media. And if they like the facility, I hope they will tell everyone they know.”

Oates also admitted he was a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan, entering with some trepidation into the staunch Blue Bomber zone.

“But I am guessing there may be a few Riders fans here,” he said. “And while I like Kiya to catch those gophers, the only good gopher in the world is the Roughrider mascot.”

DYNAMIC DUO FOR KLGC – Brian Oates, the new Killarney Lakeside Golf Club general manager of golf course operations, along with ‘golf course dog’ Kiya, his pretty Jack Russell terrier, are arriving in Killarney this week. Both are looking forward to a wonderful year on the links.