News reached me today that Michael Chadsey, the general manager of St. George’s and a fine gentleman, is leaving the club in February to take over Essex near Windsor. It is an interesting move, especially since St. George’s is the best course in the country, and Essex is, well, very nice.
Chadsey’s departure follows two others — superintendent John Gall, whose contract was not renewed last year despite leading the club through an amazing restoration, and Cameron Wiebe, the head pro who joined in 2005 following Neil Verwey’s departure. Wiebe’s contract was not extended, surprising considering he was so hotly tipped as a young pro who would be with the club a long time. He tried a few interesting moves — implementing a caddy program, for example — but these didn’t get off the ground. But I found Wiebe sharp and friendly — two good attributes for any club pro.
The question is whether this turmoil will have any impact on the plans for the 2010 Canadian Open. Apparently the club and the RCGA is close to reaching an agreement with nearby Islington, to use part of that club as the range for the tournament. That would require the street of Islington to be shut down — but I think that was always part of the plan.
Perhaps none of the departures matter. The decision to take on the Canadian Open would be run by club members, but one has to think Chadsey’s steady input would have benefited the process.
I’m still hopeful the Canadian Open will return to St. George’s — it is a showcase for the best the country has to offer. But I’m less optimistic that it’ll go through now.