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RCGA to hire Davis Love?

From the Post this week….

RCGA no help to Canadian architects: National body developing
habit of not supporting local course designers
National Post
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Robert Thompson On Golf
National Post

It is time that the Royal Canadian Golf Association stood up
for those directly involved with the game in this country — and
realize that it is a group that includes more than just golfers.

The latest unusual action undertaken by the RCGA, the game’s
governing body, is apparently giving its blessing to hiring PGA Tour
pro Davis Love III to rework *Angus* *Glen* North, the Markham course
that is set to host the Canadian Open in 2007.

Apparently the RCGA and *Angus* *Glen* owner Gordon Stollery invited
Love to check out the North course, with its ultra-wide fairways, on
the second day of the Canadian Open.

“I didn’t play it, but I drove around it. They’ve got to do a few
things [for 2007], but I don’t think too many. They’re talking to me
about doing it,” Love said.

The criticism of *Angus* *Glen* North is that while its wide fairways
work well for corporate tournaments, it could get eaten alive by the
PGA Tour’s best, or at least those pros who show up for the
occasionally anemic fields that make up the Canadian Open.

While Love has a golf design business, none of his courses, built
with assistance from golf architects who do most of the actual
design, have been created in Canada.

Having Love renovate a course in Canada isn’t an issue.

The problem is that no one at the RCGA bothered to tell Doug
Carrick, the well-regarded Canadian architect who co-created the
course with Jay Morrish, that his work was about to be overhauled by
a tour pro.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” said Carrick, who had last
spoken with Stollery and the RCGA over a year ago when he completed
a plan to add bunkers and narrow fairways in preparation for the
Open.

Carrick is still hoping to be involved in reworking the course
alongside Love.

Stephen Ross, the RCGA’s executive director, would only say the
organization was looking to make alterations to *Angus* *Glen* North,
but the decision on who would make those changes was up to Stollery,
the course’s owner.

“Ultimately it is his golf course,” Ross said. “The owner is
responsible. Do we have influence? I would say yes.”

When asked if Love had been retained to do the work, Ross said he
“couldn’t contribute anything on that.”

As part of the RCGA’s plan to manage its money following the
$40-million sale of Glen Abbey in 1998, it has sought partners to
help finance development of new golf courses.

Its major partner in the venture has been Stollery, an oil
entrepreneur based in Toronto and Calgary. Stollery’s South course
at *Angus* *Glen* hosted the 2002 event and he is in the middle of
partnering with the RCGA to build a course in Montreal that is being
prepared for the 2006 Canadian Open.

One would think the RCGA would stick up for Canadians in the golf
course business. With architects such as Carrick, Tom McBroom,
Graham Cooke and Darrell Huxham regularly creating outstanding
courses, there is clearly enough talent in this country to develop a
new Canadian Open venue or renovate an existing one.

But when it comes to Canadian architects, the RCGA hasn’t been
particularly supportive.

After all, the regular home of the Canadian Open since 1977 has
been Glen Abbey, designed by Jack Nicklaus. The 2006 course is being
designed by top American architect Tom Fazio.

McBroom, the Toronto-based architect behind such courses as Rocky
Crest Golf Club and Prince Edward Island’s Crowbush Cove, says
hiring Love to make changes to an architect’s work is just another
example of the RCGA not supporting its own.

Last year, McBroom was critical of the golf organization for
endorsing the hiring of Fazio to build the Montreal course.

“I’m kind of shocked that [the RCGA] would hire someone without
talking to Doug,” said McBroom, one of Carrick’s rivals in the
lucrative golf architecture business. “But the RCGA never has
supported Canadian architects and I’m not sure why.”

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

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