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New Sympatico Column: Simmons' Spin on Shaughnessy

While I’m in Northern Wales on holiday, my latest Sympatico golf column has just hit the web.

And I didn’t write it in my column, but I still think there is no chance Gordon Stollery’s new Montreal course is ready for the 2012 Canadian Open. If I were looking at this, I’d say 2012 goes to either Royal Montreal or Hamilton.

Here’s a taste to get you interested:

Simmons, the executive director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, the governing body for golf in Canada, announced Wednesday that the RBC Canadian Open would be returning to Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. When it was last at the historic club, players like Stephen Ames and Vijay Singh gushed praises about its classic, straight-forward layout that represents a distinct contrast from the typical PGA Tour venues.
Of course, it comes with a catch. Currently the Canadian Open follows the British Open. For those lacking a map “ that’s a lot of times zones and eight hours difference between the U.K. and the west coast of Canada. For PGA Tour pros used to the frills of life on the road, including private jets to and from tour stops and courtesy cars when they show up to compete for million dollar pay days, the notion of flying that far will surely be off putting to some. But Simmons is convinced that by returning to Shaughnessy for the Canadian Open, he’s fulfilling a promise to try to bring some luster back to Canada’s one-time golfing jewel.
“This is part of our commitment to excellence and the strategic plan that we created with RBC to bring the Open back to great, classic courses,” Simmons explains.

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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.

17 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Considering that Hamilton went 10M over budget on their new (renovated) clubhouse, I hope they get the Open in 2012

    This goes along with what is generally accepted by the tour pros, they like the old traditional parkland golf courses.

    I think Simmons should keep the Open rotation on the old courses, and we will see all the top players back at our Open

  • There is a wonderful course called Moira Nefin that runs all along a 300 foot cliff edge looking out over the sea. One of the par 3s has a blowhole with waves shooting up between the tee and green. You have to time your tee shot. There is even a fishing village with a great pub, only accessible by sea or by walking through the course. The course plays high above the village around two sides of the small bay. Nefin is on the south side of the peninsula south of Caernarfon. If you are anywhere nearby it is spectacular.

  • I got a little bored with the thick spinach at Shaugnessy in 2005. I’d like to see some recovery shots, and more options around the greens as opposed to just a bunker style shot out of the rough.

    It is a great course to play however. Had the ACC not been in some farmer’s field in the depths of Surrey, it may never have left. Northview must be the all time worst TV eye candy in Tour history. Most Nationwide events look better.

  • Trunk, how come the members are being told differently. It is considerably over budget and we need the Open to help pay for it or we will be assessed for the shortfall.

  • Clubhouse — to my understanding — was well over budget and well behind schedule. I’ve heard it on good authority that 2012 or 13 will be at Hamilton — partly to pay for the financial situation at the club. Why wouldn’t Hamilton want it — about the only way the club will stay in the Top 100 in the world as it is.

  • george,

    i respect your contribution here. can you attempt to generalize for a few thousand people and explain why?

    after seeing the most recent Rest of the World Top 100 list (ie/ outside of USA), I’d suggest there isn’t much credibility in it… and with marketing these days, you can pretty much get away with saying anything… for example, a certain BC course near whistler claiming to be Top 10 in Canada on several radio and print ads. (true story)

    and why would Hamilton need to “market”? is it all prestige?

  • Great conversation! interesting points and good info.

    I have to take exception to “grumpy’s” assertion that having the open at a certain course or rotation of courses will bring the top players back. It will never happen. They could hold the Canadian Open at the greatest course in the whole world (hypethetical fantasy) and you would still not see the top pros here for it. The schedule and the fact that there are now so many more important tournaments with more money in any given year around the world means you will NEVER see the top players in the world here ever again.

  • Phil – which course is that? Big Sky? Fun course, nice fairways, but maybe top 10 in BC.

    Any list that requires a clubhouse to make the grade is a list of shit.

    I wouldn’t want to give my course over for any tour event. Seems like the pita factor is huge.

  • phil:

    Its very important to the member at HGCC to be recognized as one of the few CDN golf courses on the worldwide top 100. When they held their first Open since the 30’s they placed their logo on absolutely everything. Even the back of their bag tag had a reference to the Open. In past years HGCC was very laid back and unassuming but now they feel the need to be upfront. They had a quite excellence but now seem to need attention.
    The only way to get in the “top 100” is keeping your course in the public eye. The Raters (for lack of a better term) keep going to those that are in the public eye. Matter of fact I have seen clubs invite as many “raters” as they could and even paid for them to come so they would get votes.
    I know one golf course design firm that actively pursue the “raters” so their designs are voted upon favorably.
    So in a nutshell, the more press you can get, the better the chance of being in the “top 100”.
    You know the saying that goes something like this. “Say something enough times and people actually start believing it.”

  • Old Tom:

    You make some interesting points. It is a never ending problem getting the Tour players to attend certain events.

    In the past, it was money, taxes, foreign county, etc.
    Raise the prize money to the highest on the Tour and you bet the top 50 would come.

    The golf course means very little, except that the conditioning has to be equal to or better than any other tour stop.

    It is definitely not the golf course.

  • tighthead:

    i too like the course… fun, and usually in great condition on a pretty dull piece of property. successful design. top 10 in Canada? maybe top 10 new in canada in 1993.

    and now, top 10 in BC maybe. the top 5 fills up instantly and you might be able to juggle 3 or 4 near the bottom for Big Sky to get in… it would be close though, especially with some of the new courses opening – Sagebrush for one… Tobiano? Tower? who knows.

    thanks george.

  • Cap, Shaugnessy, Colwood, Victoria for sure. Point Grey? I have never played Vancouver GC but it gets good run, but being private always helps.

    The more I play the Okanagan courses the less I think of them. Greywolf is a good mountain course, I would put it top 10. Trickle Creek, no. Sagebrush should be, I have heard Tobiano is stunning but loses on playability. The original Predator was good, they watered it down. People rave about Fairview, I only played it once under trying circumstances.

    I’d give Big Sky the nod of the Whistler area tracks. Whistler is nice not great, Chateau fun but too much goof, NN conditioned but underwhelming.

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