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Whistle Bear owners hope for PGA Tour event

Though it almost made me spit my coffee on my computer screen, it turns out the owners of Whistle Bear, a private facility near Cambridge, Ont. are serious about trying to bring a big event to their course. This from owner Emilo Cabral:

“They (PGA Tour) like the facility, they like the location, everything is there. We’re trying to get a PGA event for three to five years, as long as we get the sponsors, and our ultimate goal is to one day get the Canadian Open,” said Cabral during a media conference at the Cambridge Mill.

“Will it be in five or 10 years … I don’t know, but we’re trying for sooner than later. There is room for another PGA event in Canada and we’d like to bring it here.”

Cabral envisions a scenario in which Whistle Bear first hosts PGA Tour Canada and Web.com tournaments to show the PGA Tour the course is capable of staging a large-scale event. The well-attended Nationwide Tour events, as well as the successful LPGA Manulife Classic in Waterloo, have shown that Waterloo Region has a massive appetite for top-level golf, said Cabral.

As such, Cabral is reworking the clubhouse and plans to rebuild the John Robinson course using Doug Carrick. Cabral also talked about hosting a PGA Tour Canada event:

Emilio Cabral, who co-owns Whistle Bear with The Landmark Group, is hopeful the project will lead to a PGA Tour event being staged at the course that played host to second-tier Nationwide Tour tournaments in 2004 and 2005. Cabral said he’s had ongoing talks with PGA Tour Canada president Jeff Monday and is confident he could find sponsors to make a three- to five-year commitment to the tournament.

PGA Tour Canada has to love all the talk of tournaments that haven’t actually been given the go ahead. First Peterborough spills the beans and now this…

Now I’ve only played Whistle Bear once — and can’t say I was thrilled by the John Robinson design, though I do recall the finishing hole being relatively strong. But a PGA Tour event in Cambridge? Seems unlikely, though the course did hold a Nationwide Tour event when the CPGA Championship was part of that tour.

It’ll be interesting to see what Carrick plans to do with the course — he’s not clear in his remarks:

Changes to the course will be handled by famed Canadian golf course architect Doug Carrick, who has designed or remodelled many of Canada’s top courses. Locally, Carrick Design Inc. handled the redesign of the 14th, 15th and 16th holes at the Galt Country Club and oversaw the construction of the third green at the Westmount Golf and Country Club. Carrick expects to visit the course on Dickie Settlement Road in the next few weeks, he said, and will submit a proposal to the ownership group about two months after that. His submission will include a 10-year plan for ongoing improvements to the links-style course that was designed by John Robinson and opened as a public facility in 2001.

Worth noting that while Carrick Design handled Galt, the work was done by Ian Andrew, while Cam Tyers took the lead on Westmount. Neither designer works with Carrick any longer.

“The next step for me is to get out and see the golf course, maybe play it, and then meet with The Landmark Group and understand what their vision is for making improvements to the property,” said Carrick.

“From there, it will be developing conceptual ideas on paper, things that we see that could improve the overall esthetic character and playability of the golf course.”

You’ve got to worry about what the course could become with these final remarks by Cabral:

If Cabral has his way, he would like to see the introduction of mature trees as part of the course improvement with his long-term hope of Whistle Bear transforming into a park land course.

Mature trees? Don’t they need years to grow?

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • What does it matter where Whistle Bear ranks? Many of the courses on the PGA Tour aren’t anywhere near the top of most all rankings…other than maybe state-by-state

  • Frank: It doesn’t matter. I was just answering a question. Frankly if it ranked highly I doubt they’d be rebuilding it.

  • Nice to read about some positive news about golf in Ontario. A good idea to hold a pro event at this course. PGA Tour? Web.com or Canadian PGA would be great.
    I hope something come out of this and this course gets a PRO tournament. Good luck to the owners of this golf course!

  • I play Whistle Bear every year, and its always in great condition, but not a strong golf course from a design standpoint. The property is so open and windswept anytime they had tried to plant sapling trees they died. It is interesting that they want to turn “links” golf course into a parkland. Part of the enjoyment of the course is the ability to play with the wind, up on the hill and have to create shots and work the ball a bit.

    I’ve always enjoyed the property and am good friends with the former superintendent…and know the new one too. Very interesting occurrences over winter. Very interested to see where this all heads.

  • Emilio Cabral. Isn’t this the same guy I read about in The Record about a week ago who is suing the Region of Waterloo and now is asking for support from them ??? I’m confused…..

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