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RCGA Makes Executive Changes: Mayor McCheese, Skins Guy Are Out — Sort Of

Interesting to see Ian Hutchison note that Peter Beresford, one of the key men behind the RCGA’s rebranding as “Golf Canada” and a former McDonald’s executive often referred to by those in the business as “Mayor McCheese,” and Ron Gardner, the organization’s managing director of membership services, have both departed from the organization. Or at least kind of. They’ve have set up their own consulting firm and will be continuing to do some work Golf Canada, according to Golfnewsnow.

“Peter played a major role in helping to launch Golf Canada and has assured me he still wants to continue to help Golf Canada develop and grow, but has asked that his role going forward be reduced, giving him time to meet the needs of other clients,” said Golf Canada executive director Scott Simmons.

Contrast those comments with the remarks Simmons made less than a year ago when hiring Beresford, who worked for McDonald’s for more than 30 years.

“We are very pleased to welcome Peter Beresford to the RCGA as our Chief Operating Officer,” said Simmons.  “Peter brings with him two important areas – he is a renowned Brand expert who has played an instrumental role in developing the McDonald’s Brand globally while his senior executive management skills will prove to be a tremendous addition to our senior management team.”

Beresford comes to the RCGA with a wealth of brand and marketing experience including 31 years with the McDonald’s Corporation where his most recent positions included Senior Vice President, Global Brand Development; Chairman and CEO, United Kingdom; and Executive Vice President for both Canada and Japan.  

“This is an exciting time for the RCGA.  Under Scott’s leadership, the organization has a strategic plan in place that has made growing its Membership base and Corporate Brand a priority,” said Beresford.  “I’m excited to be involved and take a leadership role in helping the organization to reach its goals.”

Did it only take 11 m0nths for Beresford to reach those goals? That was quick. Dan Pino, Golf Canada’s head of communications, points out that Beresford was actually working on a volunteer basis for quite a while in advance of his appointment as COO, adding the COO role isn’t expected to be filled right away.

I’ve been trying to track Simmons down  for a few days — and I’m sure he can offer his take on this (our schedules haven’t permitted us connecting). However, he made a big deal of bringing Beresford into the organization, so it can’t look good to have him depart after less than a year. I’m sure that wasn’t the plan regardless of the spin put on it.

But Beresford’s sorta departure must raise questions about Golf Canada’s membership program. Interestingly, Beresford is staying on as a “consultant.”

Golf Canada’s also noted the appointment of Trish Tonaj, the former GM of Glendale, to replace Gardner.

Here’s what Golf Canada’s press release had to say about Tonaj:

Trish Tonaj most recently served as General Manager of the Glendale Golf and Country Club as well as the Canadian Society of Club Managers. As GM of Glendale, she introduced several membership drive initiatives to attract third party revenue and increased activities for Glendale members. Prior to that, she was President of her own Marketing and Communications company with a focus on the development and execution of brand strategies within various industries. She also gained international marketing experience with DeBeers Consolidated Mines out of London, England where she was a retail consultant in Eastern Canada, and part of the strategic marketing and education team. As well, working as a national buyer for the T. Eaton Company, Tonaj was able to gain experience in the development of private brands through regional and national marketing, advertising and communications programs.

Of course what Golf Canada’s release doesn’t say is that Glendale lost 30 percent of its membership in the last year, as reported by the Hamilton Spectator, and is in the final stages of discussions with ClubLink Corp. for a takeover that would keep the club afloat:

Glendale Golf and Country Club has lost 30 per cent of its membership in the last year and is talking to businesses interested in taking over the private course.

Brad Hoad, president of the financially troubled private club, and Charles Lorimer, vice-president of sales and marketing for ClubLink, Canada’s largest golf course operator, both confirmed the two sides are talking.

“We have not put an offer in yet, but we are talking with them and I suspect they have other interested parties outside of ClubLink,” Lorimer said. “It’s a wonderful golf club and it would fit in nicely for us. The west end of the GTA is an area that we would prefer to have more presence in than we currently do.”

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’m actually surprised they hired someone from the golf industry. Given their recent actions, I thought an executive from Variety or the Jerry Lewis Telethon would have the inside track.

  • I am guessing that Beresford has been lured away by the RCMP. He has a great idea to rebrand them as “Cops Canada” or maybe the RCYC to become “Boats Canada”

    The “rebranding” of the RCGA was one of the stupidest moves ever!

  • I too am of the opinion that the re-branding of the RCGA to Golf Canada doesn’t make a lot of sense. The RCGA having been around for 100+ years isn’t a good enough name?? I wonder if the Royal and Ancient and the USGA are considering similar marketing?
    From my understanding, the goal for making the change to the “Golf Canada” brand was to freshen up the image and sign up more Members. Anyone know what the results have been in 2010 versus prior years?

  • You guys are being too hard on the RCGA. I mean who didn’t take advantage of all the amazing offers from Golf Canada and its corporate partnerships….

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