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Canadian Open for King’s Forest is an infeasible concept

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 8.39.55 AMSo a city politician in Hamilton not only wants the Canadian Open, they want Golf Canada to move to one of their courses as well:

A city councillor wants to make Hamilton the home of Canadian golf.

Sam Merulla is introducing a motion at Wednesday’s city council meeting seeking approval to start the process of convincing Golf Canada to turn King’s Forest Golf Course into the permanent home of the Canadian Open and the new site of the organization’s corporate offices.

The current headquarters for Golf Canada, the sport’s governing agency, are located at Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Club, which also serves as the semi-permanent host course for the Canadian Open tournament.

But ClubLink, owner of the Glen Abbey property, announced in the fall that it plans to redevelop the site into a residential community at some point in the next few years, meaning both the tournament and the Golf Canada offices will need to relocate.

“I’d like to provide them with an incentive to come to Hamilton,” said Merulla, the Ward 4 councillor. “We’re only half an hour away from them.

“From an actual geographic perspective, it’s within the same region so it makes a great deal of sense.

“If IBM can come to Hamilton, so can they,” he added.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. On its face, it is an interesting concept—a public golf course, a muni even, would hold the RBC Canadian Open. That hasn’t happened, to my recollection, since the days when it was held at Montreal Municipal Golf Course in 1967.

The only issue is, well, everything about the idea. King’s Forest would need a new clubhouse, new practice facilities and the golf course would need a complete overhaul. Peg that at total at a minimum of $20-million and you’ve got an issue. Hamilton will never pay that and Golf Canada can’t.

So basically that’s the end of that idea.

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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.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Agree whole heartedly – while I enjoy the course a whole lot and find it surprisingly difficult ; the pros would find the clubhouse to be an oversized shed and the course a notch below average

  • The public would never buy or pay for the idea and the City is far too cheap to spend that kind of money. Hell, they cannot even maintain Chedoke or the Forest in decent condition. Witness the half-assed job on Tim Horton’s Field, too small to hold a profitable Grey Cup. The golf course would be annihilated by the pros, probably a minimum of -20 to win. Forty years ago it was long enough but at 7,059 yds, way too short for today’s Tour. No range, a donkey stable for a clubhouse, mediocre conditioning, and no room for a “media city” or Golf Canada’s HQ

    Merulla has no clue, thought Jack Nicklaus designed King’s Forest and as for IBM, they are taking over a few floors in an office tower down town, enough for 400 people. For an Open you need to have facilities for ten thousands of people and corporate tents. Dead from the get go.

  • As a PGA of Canada member that was born and raised and still resides in Hamilton, it’s an exciting thought. With that said, I also think it would be the most ridiculous thing the City could undertake. King’s Forest is truly one of the top Municipal Golf Courses in Canada. However, the course has been in decline due to the lack of City support and putting pressure on management that the City courses need to be self funding. All the member’s I know won’t pay a dime more for the product their currently getting and certainly won’t pay the future dollars to help fund the makeover and eventually play on a $175 per round golf course. We have to remember the demographic in our Southeast end of Hamilton… As you said… “That’s the end of that idea.”

  • Having lived and grew up in the Rosedale/Red Hill Valley area and playing junior golf as well as working and turning pro at KFGC..I can saw the course has seen better days. The City has never ever had the knowledge on how to run a golf facility without letting politics get in the way. This course was built to possibly have a National Championship back in the day but remember…the City of Hamilton was running it. We had some great people onsite operating it over the years but their hands were tied. With the introduction of the delayed numerous times expressway…the course has been altered somewhat not feasible for thinking about playing a national title of that calibre.
    Just think over 7000 yards in 1974 with room for more yards. Wow. Ahead of its time. So in 2024 KFGC will celebrate 50 years and we will have another event as we did for its 40th. I still call it my home course but it is not the same course today and certainly not for an Open. Nice jesture by a local politician but just like the early years…no concept of the industry.

  • while I have enjoyed playing King’s Forest many times and consider it a fine muni course, it comes no where close to the difficulty needed to host the best golfers in the World. They would eat it alive. The overhaul it would need would basically mean an entirely new golf course

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