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RGCA "Golf Canada Ambassador volunteers?"

 Just looking through the Steve Carroll press release from the RCGA from yesterday and some questions arise. First of all it looks like Carroll is being placed in charge of programs that no one has heard about.

“Carroll will recruit, train and manage Golf Canada Ambassador volunteers and will be counted on to help increase the profile and awareness of Team Canada in Ontario and Eastern Canada,” the release says.

Okay, what is a “Golf Canada Ambassador?” Who are these so-called “volunteers,” and what does “Team Canada” do? Is this the amateur teams ? What are we talking about here? And why only in Ontario and Eastern Canada?

And for a guy who was running the CPGA, not a small operation, doesn’t this position look like a step backward for Carroll or at least a lateral move?

I’ve been promised a call with RCGA ED Scott Simmons — perhaps some answers are forthcoming.

To my way of thinking, Carroll could be the RCGA’s link to public golf pros, who will be needed to make this initiative fly. Why not create  a regional roundtable of the top pros at public facilities in the country to figure out what the average golfers wants? I’m talking Al Carter at Jasper, Miles Mortensen at Tobiano, Nigel Hollidge at Angus Glen (though he’s not a CPGA member), Ted Stonehouse at Bell Bay, Chris Neale at Copper Creek — as well as some of the better-run smaller clubs who interact with upwards of 30,000 golfers a year (I’m thinking Barry Forth at Copetown, Tom Vanderlip at Pen Lakes, that sort of thing.) These are the guys that interact with the public golfer every day — whereas most of the RCGA, including a majority of its governors, come from private or, at best, semi-private golf clubs.  Doing a scan of past RCGA presidents, it looks like all but two of the last 20 came from private golf clubs. And they wonder why the organization has been tagged with this exclusive and elitest tag.

If this initiative is going to work it has to involve more than a subscription to Golf Canada (who just saw its editor, Allison King, depart last week) and access to handicap software that can be found online for free.  Let’s hope they make it worthwhile and manage to attract a large number of Joe Weekend golfers — the game would be better for it.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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