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Parks Canada, the Skins Game and the fight for Brantford G&CC

Am I the only one perplexed by the announcement today that Parks Canada has agreed to allow the IMG/Telus Skins Game to go forward? I didnt know there was a chance that it wouldnt. After all, it was announced last year that Banff, a majestic Stanley Thompson golf courses in need of a loving restoration, would host the event. Then IMG announced a neat concept of having golfers from five decades play the course — Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Stephen Ames, John Daly (spelled Daley in the press release from Fairmont, which manages Banff) and Sergio Garcia.

Given all of that, I would have assumed the green light had been given for allowing the golf course, which sits in Banff National Park, to be used for the event. Apparently I was wrong.

The Fairmont Banff Springs is pleased to announce it has received official approval from Parks Canada to host the Telus Skins Game from August 7 – 8, 2006. This years event will celebrate the history of Banff National Park, The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course and the game of golf. Parks Canada has approved the special event as they are satisfied potential impacts to natural and cultural resources and visitor experiences have been mitigated through the review process. The Fairmont Banff Springs will be required to complete a special event permit and will do so in partnership with Parks Canada.

Now why there was any question of whether Parks Canada would have approved this is beyond my ability to comprehend. But apparently the same organization that has bumbled in managing Highlands Links in Cape Breton National Park, felt it needed to be involved in this decision as well. Very strange.

In other equally odd news, Brantford G & CC is interviewing architects to consult with the club. For more than a decade, Carrick Design, led by Ian Andrew, had worked at the club. Apparently that might change. But the selection of architects chosen to interview is remarkable. Why? Well Andrew is back to interview for the job after leaving Carrick in January, as is his former boss, Doug Carrick. And Graham Cooke, whose track record for restoration work is questionable, will be interviewed, as will his former associate, Darrell Huxham, now running Huxham Golf Design. Oh, and just to add a bit of spice to the mix, Thomas McBroom will also interview. Of course, 20 years ago McBroom employed Carrick. An incestuous little affair indeed. Now if Brantford would stop claiming it is a Stanley Thompson course and acknowledge it was created by his brother Nicol, as is proven in Canadian Golfer, maybe theyd have a starting point.

One other interesting golf course note: Included in the Golf Digest list of Best New Courses in Canada that I published the other day was Manoir Richelieu, a former Herbert Strong course that was gutted by Fairmont and Graham Cookes office, under the guidance of Huxham. The strange bit is that it is now appearing as a new course that has been remodeled. Stranger still was the fact this course was once under the umbrella of Graham Cooke, but is now listed as a remodel by Huxham. No wonder neither is speaking about the split last year that saw Huxham leave the firm. Any one wonder why a remodel job is being included in the Best New category?

 

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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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