RCGA's New ExecDirector Announced This Morning; Muskoka Bay's Solid Start; Off to Montreal

A bunch of random and unrelated notes this morning:

  • The RCGA will announce its new executive director this morning. The search for the ED has been a long one — former executive director Stephen Ross was unceremoniously fired in March after a career of nearly three decades with the organization. All the industry insiders I’ve spoken with seem to be of the opinion that the usual suspects that have been bandied about as potentially replacing Ross are largely incorrect. The latest rumour — the former golf director of a big Western Canadian resort operator — is also apparently off the mark, according to my sources. At this point I have no idea who the individual might be. All I hope for is that the individual hired is prepared to make the tough decisions needed to put the RCGA — and in turn the Canadian Open — back on track.
  • Played Muskoka Bay for the third time yesterday. I still think this is the second best Muskoka course (behind the ultra-private Oviinbyrd), and came away with a greater appreciation of some of its highlights. In the comments on my review last year, the former director of golf commented that I had scrambled my way around the course and should see it from the centre of the fairway. I did just that yesterday — shooting 75 from a combination of back and next-to-back tees. I think some of the fairway contours — especially on 15, a terrific long four — were intriguing, as were many of the greens (#9, #11). However, I still think the bunkering looks slightly unfinished, though over the year since the course has opened, super Chris Goodman seems to be finding an acceptable style for them. That said, there are a couple of holes that just seem either a bit awkward (#8, an average par five from anything but the tips; #13, a relatively plain par four where everything bounces off the hill on the left and into the fairway). Overall Muskoka Bay is a design success. The course was busy yesterday, and head pro Kevin Hamil said the business is finding its feet. Muskoka Bay, which won a couple of “best new” awards last year, is up for a couple more this year — Score’s new award and Golf Digest. Don’t be surprised to see it scoop up at least one of these as well.
  • I’m off to Montreal tomorrow to return to Mount Bruno, as well as a tour round Royal Montreal’s Blue Course, which will hold the Presidents Cup in September. I’m hopeful that I’ll also get a chance to tour Beaconsfield, Ilsemere and Laval during the two days I’m in Quebec.

Around the Web:

  • Check out designer Ian Andrew’s series on the top golf architects of all time. It has been exceptionally interesting. Speaking of Andrew, Globe columnist throws out some props in his column today, arguing that St. George’s, which Andrew restored, should host the Canadian Open. Find it here.
  • The Toronto Star has comments on Mike Weir’s tour around Angus Glen North. The article points out the RCGA has yet to announce any players — with the exception of Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk — that are coming to the Canadian Open later this month. Usually they’ve announced several by this point: “Usually by this time, the RCGA wouldve sent out a few notices boasting about what players will be attending the Open, which is still looking for a title sponsor after Bell dropped out. But with a tough date – this years event has been moved to the week right after the British Open – its been deathly quiet on the Guess Whos Coming to Dinner front.”

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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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