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Peete on Minorities In Golf; St. George's and Canadian Open; Andrew Chimes in on OG Top 50

I spent an hour today at St. George’s G & CC speaking with former PGA Tour pro Calvin Peete, who was in town to promote the National Junior Golf Academy fundraiser. For those that don’t know about the NJGA, you can see an article I wrote about the organization, that tries to involve inner-city youth in golf, here.

Peete is usually considered one of the most accurate golfers in the history of the game, and was a force on the PGA Tour through much of the 1970s and 1980s. He finished with 12 wins and played on two Ryder Cups.

I was speaking with Peete for a column in this week’s National Post. Our dicussion largely centered around why there aren’t more African-American (or African Canadian, for that matter) golfers on the PGA Tour. Surprisingly, Peete, who had just come back from a summit on African-Americans in golf, said he’d never met Tiger Woods. When asked whether he felt Woods had a responsibility to try to get more minorities in the game and be more vocal about the issue, Peete’s reply was thoughtful and smart: “I think every man has a responsibility to reach behind him and try to help others up.”

Needless to say it wasn’t your average golf interview.

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I ran into a couple of good contacts at St. George’s while heading back to my car and it appears there really is serious interest on the part of the RCGA to hold the Canadian Open at the club. The situation is clearly in the early stages though, which makes one wonder whether the club could be announced to hold the 2009 event. That said, there is also serious interest on the club’s part to hold the event, though nothing has been placed in front of the club’s membership — yet.

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Since there’s been so much discussion and debate about Ontario Golf’s Top 50 list, it is worth checking in with golf architect Ian Andrew on his thoughts that were put up on his blog today.

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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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  • CDN Open at St George’s? This could be what the RCGA needs to revive the status of the Open. Good old traditional course right in the middle of the city of Toronto?

    Maybe they can buy the nearby supposedly struggling Islington G&CC and make that a parking lot and the logistics center for the Open.

    Where do I buy tickets? Tiger might even show up….

  • While I think the course can certainly stand up to the pro’s, can the course accomodate the spectators? I played St George’s back in July with 2 assitant pros, and they mentioned that they tried to get this years President’s cup, but likely lost out due to not having the space for the spectators. Wouldn’t the RCGA have the same concerns for the Open?

  • Islington is struggling? That’s news to the members.
    Just because they have been in the news over a upset neighbour does not mean they are struggling. They have solid membership numbers and many investment plans. Course is pretty good as well.

  • Anyone know why St. George’s changed their name from The Royal York Golf Club? Was it a corporate trademark thing when CP sold one of their marquee brands? Or someone’s bright idea? I for one would like to see a change back. Two world class courses with the name St. George’s seems like one too many for me.

  • From the http://www.stgeorges.org website….

    Robert Home Smith died in 1935 and his executor trustee, Godfrey S. Pettit, became president of the Club, a position he held for the next 20 years. In 1946, when the financial arrangement with the Canadian Pacific Railway ended, the name of the Club was changed to St. George’s Golf and Country Club.

    Not much of an explanation though…

  • The Royal York Golf Club was an aspect of the Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

    Guests could arrange for a game or two of golf at the club and even stay over the night in one of the guest rooms in the Chateau style club house. (What other style would the CPR have chosen?)

    After the War the area had become developed and was not so”rural” anymore and the C.P.R. decided to dispose of the club.

    Not sure where the name St George’s came from but is not the local Anglican church on Dundas called St George’s on the Hill.

    Godfrey Pettit, Home Smith’s batman during the First Great War, and who had been an aspiring violin player, and who lost an arm during that conflict became Home Smith’s field director of his Home Smith property developments. He was also Robert Home Smith’s Executor and Trustee.

    A stained glass window at St Georges’s (Anglican) Church on the Hill was donated by Godfrey Pettit.

    So it may well be Godfrey Pettit who had very much to do with the naming of St Georges Golf Club.

    By the way shortly after Home Smith died Godfrey Pettit moved into Home Smith’s former Residence, on Edenbridge(?), which also sits on the edge of St Georges Golf course. Pettit had previously lived next door to the West.

  • Thank you for the information about Godfrey Pettit. Some of this history was not known to me. Although he was always known to me as “uncle Godfrey” and I was named after him, he was in fact my father’s ( Frederic Amos Pettit Lister) cousin. They were both veterans of the great war (WW1) in the Canadian Field Artillery and hung around together in their twenties after the war. Godfrey’s brother Paul was killed in the war and by a strange fluke of fate his namesake Paul Patterson M.D. ( now deceased) was one of my postgraduate students when I was teaching at UofT Faculry of Medicine in the 1960’s.

    I was born in 1930 and as a child saw a lot of Godfrey Pettit at our home and at his home on Edenbridge and at his farm at Caledon. Godfrey was a very generous man who assisted me and many others with our education.

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