CanOpen Returns to Vancouver in 2011?

… at least that’s what a G4G reader who has a link to the club told me today in an email. Word on the street has it that while the Royal Canadian Golf Association won’t be able to annouce through to 2014 as many had expected by the end of the year, Shaughnessy will be announced for 2011. This has been a heavily circulated rumor for some time. Shaughnessy was very well received the first time round — other than some issues with grassing in the greens surrounds. My reader says staff at Shaughnessy have been notified a deal is done, just not announced. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of field it attracts — especially given that a charter from the British Open could fly straight over the North Pole, according to what I’ve been told, drastically cutting down the flight time to get from Scotland to Vancouver. Or maybe the event will have a date at the end of June by then.

So we have Glen Abbey for 2009, St. George’s for 2010 and Shaughnessy for 2011.

It’ll be interesting to see where the tournament heads from there. Another G4G spy has said that an Ontario club, which has fallen behind on a massive clubhouse renovation, is suddenly interested in holding the tournament again…

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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.

27 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Some will label me a “romantic” of sorts, but I must say… if certain elements of Vernon Macan’s original architecture were genuinely “restored” at Shaughnessy, I think a Canadian Open there would be a bigger attraction than otherwise.

  • Is there any new word on the possibilty of a championship course that can host a Canadian Open being built in Alberta anymore? Even with oil prices down I am sure that corporate sponsorship would be there.

  • mingay,

    i’d like to see a restored set of Macan greens at Shaughnessy as well, but how much bigger an attraction would it be, apart from us arch-ophiles (proclaimed and self-proclaimed alike)?

    would Telus (insert sponsor name here) care? would Todd my neighbour be more interested? I’m not so sure.

  • If they go back to Shaugnessy, I hope they do away with the thick rough around all the greens. It gets monotonous, and stifles skill and creativity. The RCGA thought the setup was the cat’s meow last time though.

  • phil x2,

    With at least some of Macan’s original architecture “restored”, a Canadian Open at Shaughnessy doesn’t have to be 2011 U.S. Open Part 2, to start. (Boring.)

    A well-publicized “restoration” of the course — I mean, a real restorative-based effort… not just installing new back tees at a handful of holes — would undoubtedly catch the attention of top-notch Tour players, just like so many other “restored” classics which host Tour events have over recent years.

    When a “restored” Shaughnessy catches the attention of top-notch Tour pros — who are more likely than otherwise to play that week simply because they’re interested in the course — sponsors and your neighbours become much more interested in the championship as well.

  • Mingay,

    You are out of touch. Some but not many PGA Tour pros care about a restored golf course.
    We thought this for years but it boils down to many other things and condition is one of them. These old golf courses (which we all like or should) can not be conditioned like the Tour. Old push up, poa greens, changed through years and years of topdressing don’t cut it anymore. Try cutting one of these old buggers below .0625.

  • In 2005, when the PGA Tour came to Shaughnessy for the RBC Canadian Open, 99% of the PGA Tour players fell in love with the classic tree lined traditional course. What a concept!

    As a national championship, top PGA Tour players appreciated the difficult setup (deep rough/firm greens) that very much rewarded excellent ball-striking. The course/setup of Shaughnessy differentiated this event from most other typical PGA Tour events. Again, what a concept! The players cherished the course and its playability and in fact voted Shaughnessy as their favorite course of the 2005 year as well as Hamilton as their favorite in 2003. Notice a pattern?

    Shaughnessy and its set up was a model of a golf course that attracts PGA Tour players. More of that model will serve the RBC Canadian Open well. If I were to guess, the vast majority of PGA Tour players have never heard of A. Vernon Macan and an original restoration would totally escape their interest let alone be an attraction to the tournament.

    I vote for the model that works, you know the saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”


  • Dick,

    When you have the “B” Team there, that is the nice thing to do.
    Tour players (as I am sure you know) very seldom squawk when it is a private club as the venue.

    We will never have the same mystique as the roto used in the States. They have work on them for years to make them acceptable to the Tour.

    Jeff, could you not have defended your statements rather that an “OK”? Richard “Dick” Zokol did an admirable job for you.

    We have to build a new facility to house a National Event which the Tournament can return to once every 3 years. Our population and climate does not merit anymore. The other two years have 1 out west and 1 east.
    Obliviously the event should be in Ontario every 3rd year. 1/3 of Canada’s population is in Ontario. Not in Alberta or BC, even combine them and you are not even close. I took this data from Census Canada 2001.

  • George,

    I am not quite sure of your exact meaning, but will assume you are referring to “the B Team” as the weak field? Word did get out to the top players on Tour that they missed a great course when they didn’t play Shaughnessy in 2005. There was a positive collateral effect.

    There are only a few courses in Canada that really fit the mold, and needs, for the RBC Canadian Open. The most important position to take is that of attracting the best PGA Tour players to the field, this means a better date, then a better golf course and then the purse. I like the models that work and I wouldn’t risk trying venues that are outside the box other than building something in Calgary. Starting in 2010, I like, and hope, the rotation turns out something like this:

    2010 – St. Georges
    2011 – Shaughnessy
    2012 – Hamilton
    2013 – Royal Montreal (or another great course in Montreal)
    2014 – St. Georges
    2015 – to be built in Calgary
    2016 – Hamilton
    2017 – Shaughnessy
    2018 – St. Georges
    2019 – Royal Montreal
    2020 – Hamilton
    2021 – that course in Calgary

  • George,

    I don’t feel the need to “defend my statements”.

    I simply feel that there are certain elements of Vernon Macan’s original design at Shaughnessy — which I’m not going to detail here — that are very, very cool but currently missing.

    I’m not saying publicizing “restoration” of a Vernon Macan design will help attract a star field to the Canadian Open. I’m simply saying, again, that returning some elements of Macan’s original design — in my opinion — will make Shaughnessy a more interesting course.

    Just my .02. That’s all.

  • Jeff. I’m in George’s camp in that i really don’t think PGA pro’s would care about a restoration.

    Zokol, I think you’re pretty close on what attracts the stronger field, although I might change your order on the last 2 to (1.) Date, (2.) Purse, (3) Course.

    You also mentioned that 99% of tour players fell in love with Shaughnessy. Really? Where does that come from? Also, not sure if the tour guys are going to be so gaga over St.George’s.

    Lastly, where are the stats on the courses the tour guys like the most – like Shaughnessy being #1 in ’05 and Hamilton being #1 in ’03? There’s a lot of great courses out there for the tour guys including Royal St. George’s in ’03 and The Old Course in ’05. Also, you’ve got Pebble, Augusta, Muirfield Village, Riviera, Sawgrass, etc.

  • Jeff, on that note I agree. Shaughnessy does need some help. The bringing back of the original design intent is important. Too many old masters have been bastardized.

  • George said, “We have to build a new facility to house a National Event which the Tournament can return to once every 3 years. Our population and climate does not merit anymore. The other two years have 1 out west and 1 east.”


    No we don’t.

    We have plenty of courses that can host this tournament. Glen Abbey is exactly what reduced the status of the event in the first place from National Open to “another” tour stop. We can’t make the same mistake twice.

  • henrye,

    I’m not saying PGA Tour players would or should care about restoration of classic golf courses… especially a course whose designer 99% of Tour players have never heard of. But, it’s not about the fame and notoriety of the original designer, either.

    I’m saying, again, that restoring some elements of the original design at Shaughnessy (whether conceived by Vernon Macan, Donald Ross or Donald Duck… it doesn’t matter) will make it a more interesting golf course, IMHO. Theoretically, if the course is more interesting it potentially becomes an (even bigger) attaction to Tour players… and, in turn, fans and sponsors.

    I recall some BIG name Tour pros throwing high compliment to recent reno. work carried out at TPC Boston for example, which has nothing to do with making narrow fairways bordered by deep rough. I’m talking about bringing back some really classic and interesting architecture to the PGA Tour, which I believe will catch the attention of (at least some) Tour players.

    And, there’s more to Shaughnessy than the “single file” golf course everyone saw during the 2005 Canadian Open. (Hamilton has even more potential in this regard.)

  • Ian, you have a vested interest in suggesting older golf courses as it keeps you employed. Everyone of the “older” golf courses had to be “restored” to host the “Open”.
    I am all for the older historic golf courses but there has to be a tremendous desire by the membership to pay for the modifications. Most are not willing so they agree to host a Canadian Open for the monetary kickbacks.
    The older golf courses are terrible for spectators, concessions, etc. The infrastructure just isn’t available. Most do not even have enough power for the event.
    Lets just make the player go 15 minutes down the road to practice or 30 min car ride for a hotel.
    There is a hell of a lot more to it than just the golf course.
    The RCGA has a real problem as revenues have decreased greatly since going on the road. In case we forget, the majority of the RCGA’s programs are funded from the Champions Fund.
    We did not ,make a mistake with Glen Abbey.
    You were not even in the business in the 70’s and early 80’s when the event was very highly regarded. The purse and holding taxes became the issue not the golf course.

  • ian,

    congrats on being the canadian open doctor. who knew? 😉 Rees would be proud.


    i dont know what is more offensive: your broad sweeping generalizations, your know-it-all forever attitude, or your run on sentences with poor grammar and spelling. Power? really? have you been to an event? they don’t run a big a extension cord and power bar from the clubhouse and let everyone just plug into it. Generators, man.

  • While you may be offended by George Phil x2, and feel the need to sink down to personal insults, many of his comments are directly on point and very accurate to the reality of holding a Canadian Open. “Generators, man” cost money, – alot of money as anyone who has rented a heavy duty generator for construction etc can attest to. And generators are only one tiny part of the overall picture, it all costs money and before you know it, putting an Open on can quickly turn into a financial disaster. George may have a style that you don’t like, but he adds quite a bit of information to these discussions.

  • George said, “Ian, you have a vested interest in suggesting older golf courses as it keeps you employed. Everyone of the older golf courses had to be restored to host the “Open.”

    No they don’t!
    Play them as they are.

    The biggest mistake clubs make is making changes JUST for one week of their life.


  • henrye,

    The information that I spoke of comes from the PGA Tour, some collected data, some just gut feel. The 99% comment is solely based on the buzz in the locker room at the event and the talk amongst Tour players well after the event was over. Tour players were over the moon with Shaughnessy and Hamilton and they let the Tour staff know they want the Tour to go back to more courses like Shaughnessy and Hamilton and away from the trend of poorly designed TPC courses. The only negative comments about Shaughnessy came from Robert Allenby.

    At the end of every year, the PGA Tour takes a poll on members’s favorite course of that year. Keep in mind that The Old Course and August National are not Tour events. Perhaps the reason why the vote came out the way it did is that Shaughnessy and Hamilton were new and fresh to the Tour players.

    Since Tiger came onto the PGA Tour scene causing the immense growth in PGA Tour prize money across the board, PGA Tour player’s most important rationale to choose to play Tour events has shifted away from purse size. Now, the primarily reason why Tour players choose to play event is based on the golf course…. All Tour event purses are high and a player’s best chance to succeed is to play the courses that they prefer and have had success on.

  • Well, Phil X2, it is quite oblivious you have never run a major event like an Open.
    Typically, insults like yours come from one who knows nothing at all and thats his only means of making a comment.
    Imagine, the grammar insults you!! Guess your were a poli sci or english major.

    Oh, and last I looked, HGCC and Royal Montreal had in excess of 20 generators on each site. Not chicken feed to rent/buy and fuel/service those puppies.

    Thanks Old Tom. I am just trying to get everyone thinking about the big picture.

    Trunk Slammer – Is the clubhouse not done yet?

  • old tom,

    if you read carefully, i wasn’t the first to drop personal insults (see: “out of touch)… PLUS, mine were more poking fun … much like this whole discussion. of course i appreciate George’s contribution.

    HOWEVER, back to power… George’s original point was (quoting):

    “The older golf courses…Most do not even have enough power for the event.”

    my point didn’t say anything about MONEY. mine was that no course has 20 generators sitting around. new or old (courses – not new or old generators).

    to your point George, obviously (only 1 L) you’re (contraction, not possessive) right. i have not run a major event. you have? kudos.

    i do however, know enough to contribute. You’ll note above that we actually agreed with regards to Jeff’s thoughts of renovating Shaughnessy. Imagine that. You’re actually agreeing with an ENGINEER (though, minor in french, not english) who’s only built and maintained golf courses, not managed them.

    Cheers George. Hug it out?

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