Coppinwood generates the "buzz"; Ernie Els returns

Seems like a number of readers have been intrigued at what’s going on at some of Ontario’s most high-end public courses. First there was Paris Golf and CC going into receivership, then there were the changes of staff at Bond Head, Taboo and Ridge at Manitou. And, of course, Euan Dougal, former head pro at Eagles Nest, left the club to help launch Coppinwood, the Tom Fazio private club near Uxbridge. Despite rumours to the contrary, Coppinwood is supposedly drawing a decent number of new members, even though the club will not be open until summer 2006. Worth taking a look at Coppinwood here. The site, by the way, was supposed to be used for a Doug Carrick/Bob Cupp course, with the May family (whose Brad May plays in the NHL) financing and operating it. When the NHL strike occurred, the site was snatched up by a group of investors, Cupp and Carrick were dropped, and Tom Fazio and his $1-million+ fee were brought on board. All reports say the course is magnificent, which may account for its success in finding members.
The only thing I don’t like about Coppinwood is its website’s reliance on stand-by cliches. Note the course will be “challenging for golfers of all abilities,” according to a quote attributed to Fazio. Last week it was Muskoka Bay that used that one. This week it is Coppinwood. I’d really like to see a golf course described and that phrase doesn’t say anything. After all, how many people build a course that can only be appreciated by +2 handicaps. Oh yeah, Mystic Golf Club…..

In completely unrelated news:

  • Ian Wood at the Scotsman talks about playing in the first PGA approved World Hickory Pro-am, which actually sounds like good fun. Not surprisingly, they played at Musselburgh, the place where many feel the game originated. Interesting stuff.
  • The Big Easy is back. Ernie Els, 36, returns from a substandard season in which he damaged his knee. He’s playing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge this week. “It’s great to be back in action at a place which has a special history for me and I guess that birdie was a nice start to the second half of my career,” said the former world No 1. The question is which Ernie are we going to get? The dominant who almost won everything in 2004, or last year’s less successful model. Someone has got to step up to Tiger, and the Big Three deal from last year never really materialized.

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Jeff Lancaster

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