I was up at Angus Glen Golf Club near Markham yesterday to have lunch with my good friend,director of golf Dennis Firth. I bumped into him talking with the inimitable Kevin Thistle, top dog at all things golf that happened to be owned by Gordon Stollery. The conversation was mainly about the state of the economy and how Angus Glen was getting by (quite well, Thistle said, with tournament bookings up over last year) and finally to whether Goodwood will open this year.
You’re forgiven if you don’t recall what Goodwood is, or are concerned it sounds like the on-screen moniker of a late-1970s porn star. The fact is that the grow-in of Goodwood might be the longest in golf history. I toured the course for the first time in 2006 and a handful of pro golfers played it during the Canadian Open in 2007 that was held at Angus Glen. The discussion at the time involved an uber-high initiation model with entrance fees of more than $200,000. But 2007 became 2008 and nothing happened with the course. It just sat there, like some rare first-edition book that is placed behind glass but never read.
Not sure what happened net. Stollery has still not made a decision on what to do with the course, but Thistle said there is likely to be some tournaments at the course this year while they sort out the business model. Could there be members? Sure, he said. At what price? No one seems certain of that.
The course, developed by Martin Ebert and Tom Mackenzie (formerly of Donald Steel’s firm), looks like a less muscular Coppinwood and is built on similar terrain. I was surprised by the awful cart paths that show up far too prominently (Fazio hides his exceptionally well, which is not the case at Goodwood), but the remainder of the course looks very cool, with big rolling hills and lots of fescue.
I’m not convinced on first glance that the new course is Top 10 in Canada or anything, but it looks intriguing and it’ll be interesting to see a course in Ontario by designers whose names aren’t McBroom or Carrick for a change.
Having played Cypress Point last month, I was intrigued at a little piece on information that doesn’t appear to have caught the attention of the golf intelligentsia yet. That’s right, there are rumours that Tiger will make an appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am next year. But bigger still is the talk that the much maligned Poppy Hills could be replaced by the much more intriguing Cypress Point, which GolfWeek said in its latest issue was the best course in America.
According to an article in a Monterey paper, the Cypress talk might just be, well, talk:
Those reports have rekindled buzz on the Internet that Poppy Hills Golf Course, which joined the AT&T Pro-Am rotation in 1991, could be replaced by one of three other venues ” The Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Cypress Point Club or Bayonet.
“We’ve had no conversation with Cypress; the tour did look at Bayonet, and the Shore Course could be of interest,” said Ollie Nutt, president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which hosts the tournament. Nutt declined to go into details, saying only, “We’re always looking and listening. All three courses could be competitive courses.”
Cypress was long a part of the tournament when it was known for its affiliation with singer Bing Crosby. It dropped out of the rotation in 1991 after concerns were raised about its exclusionary membership policy. Apparently, according to newspaper reports, that has changed. The Shore Course at Monterey, which I also played last month and is the last work of the late Mike Strantz, is also a more interesting option than Poppy Hills.