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RCGA — "Major League?"; Mystic Lowers Fee and Other Notes

More (or less) news on the Royal Canadian Golf Association and its quest to find a sponsor for the Canadian Open. Globe sports business columnist Brian Milner gives a pretty good account of the situation so far, including a couple of Stephen Ross quotes that left me shaking my head, like:

“I think people are second-guessing us,” Ross said of the naysayers. “The RCGA is major league and there are a lot of companies out there that recognize that.”

“Major league?” What does that mean? In fact the RCGA lost a sponsor for the senior men’s pro tour event, then lost a sponsor for the LPGA event (only to find another at the 11th hour), and is now struggling to find a sponsor for its most notable event. I’m not sure if that’s major league or little league.

Ross also take umbrage with the LPGA and the fact the Women’s Open gets saddled with one of the worst dates (opposite Annika’s event) on the schedule:

“Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not really happy with the LPGA. But I’m very optimistic that the relationship that we’ll have going forward is such that that won’t happen again.”

And the kicker — Ross admits without the revenue generated by a fully-sponsored Canadian Open, the RCGA will have a hard time surviving:

“The Canadian Open is the engine that drives the RCGA,” Ross said in explaining why it’s important that the tourney have a thriving future. “Without a successful Open, the RCGA would be hard-pressed to raise the revenue to be able to run the programs and services we do.”

Milner’s story can be found here.

Mike Weir is in the field at the Memorial and apparently his game is in shape, according to his website:

“I had good practice sessions with my coach, Mike Wilson last week and look forward to testing my game on a great golf course.” Mike stated. “It is always special to come back to Muirfield Village. Jack Nicklaus and his team do a amazing job with this event. I know every player in the field would love to win and be associated with the great champions of the past.”

Apparently Mystic Golf Club is having a difficult time convincing golfers to pay $125 to play its new course near Ancaster, and the rate has been reduced to $85, though the play as much as you want feature is gone. I’ll be out at Mystic later this week and will update readers on the course’s progress. Late Note: Ryan, one of the pros at Mystic writes: “The Patron Fee of $125 fee is not gone! If you wish to have unlimited use of the facility it is still an option.” So there you have it — for $40 you can play twice….

In an apparent shakedown, an environmental group near Uxbridge has forced a group of eight courses, including Angus Glen, the new Coppinwood and Wyndance golf clubs, and courses like Mill Run, to agree to become more environmentally friendly. This according to a local paper.

The Golf Course Policy, a project of Uxbridge Naturally, working with the Township’s Watershed Advisory Committee, will ensure all golf course owners in the township will not only comply with current permit laws, but also earn Integrated Pest Management (IPM) certification by 2010, as well as obtaining a Certified Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary designation by 2015. A subcommittee of the Township Watershed Advisory Committee will monitor the progress of each course, receiving annual reports from each.

And don’t let the courses tell you they did this on their own. According to the township, it was difficult getting the facilities to agree to the conditions.

John McCutcheon, member of Uxbridge Naturally, said getting all eight owners to come on board with the policy “was excruciating.

“It didn’t cost money, just time,” he said, “An inordinate amount of time.”

What is the end result for the courses? It’ll cost them money.

Brian Morrison, superintendant at Mill Run, said he is also acting as the Township’s communication link to all eight courses regarding the policy. He said the cost to Mill Run will be about $1,000 over the year to begin policy implementation, but the real burden is staff hours. To receive IPM certification, “We need to scout (the course) on almost a daily basis,” Mr. Morrison explained. “It’s hard to pinpoint how much more time (will be needed) but it’s definitely increased… we’ve had to restructure our workload.”

Rosedale has quietly selected several architects to present proposals for its restoration. These include Brian Silva, Mike Devries, Ron Prichard, and Chris Spence. Similarly, Scarboro Golf and CC has chosen Graham Cooke, Ian Andrew and Rod Whitman to present proposals for the restoration of the Tillinghast course. Ian writes about his thoughts on the restoration here.

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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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