RCGA, ClubLink Hook Up For The Betterment of Golf in Canada

Not like this pairing is new, but this afternoon, as the sixth and seventh tarts to come out and say they’ve had “encounters” with Tiger Woods, the RCGA announced a $4-million 10-year partnership with corporate golf giant ClubLink. Call had plenty of interesting tidbits, not all of them intended. For example:

  • Scott Simmons, RCGA executive director, who has been very busy of late, said that this deal doesn’t involve more Canadian Opens at Glen Abbey. He then went on to praise the Abbey as one of the best and most famous courses in the country. ClubLink will receive two more Canadian Opens before 2020, Simmons said. What about bringing in someone to renovate and spruce up Glen Abbey, to eliminate those awful greens (17 anyone) and make the upper holes more interesting?
  • The money — only $2-million of which will come in cash, with the rest in contra deals like CL hosting tournaments — is aimed at a handful of RCGA programs, including National Golf in Schools Program, Team Canada, CN Future Links, the RCGA Foundation, the Canadian University Colleges Championship and the RBC Canadian Open.
  • Simmons seems intent on rebranding the RCGA as “Golf Canada.” Not a bad idea if it removes the notion everyone has of old guys in blue blazers sitting around smoking cigars and plotting how the Canadian golf world will be going forward.
  • ClubLink mainman, Rai Sahi, seemed to indicate an expansion of ClubLink outside of Ontario/Quebec could be in the offing. Said in an aside when asked why ClubLink would invest in a national program, Sahi said, “It has not been decided that ClubLink will not be in other parts of the country in some form or other,” before adding that either a company is growing or isn’t long for this world.
  • Sahi also talked about rapid membership expansion of ClubLink. The organization currently has about  “20,000 members” (actual fact is the number is closer to 18,500). Sahi mentioned growing that number to “30,000 or 40,000 or even 50,000 members.” He didn’t offer a timeline for this expanded membership.
  • I really wasn’t sure what CL did for the average junior golfers. Charles Lorimer, vp sales and marketing, said the company runs plenty of programs aimed at having members bring juniors to the clubs, including extensive programs at Rolling Hills. He added it was hard to measure the effectiveness of these programs, but that he has had adults come up to him and talk about how he gave them lessons decades ago. That makes Charles sound very old, though I don’t think he’s getting CPP yet. He added CL “certainly takes a longterm view of things.”
  • This deal has been more than a year in the making.

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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.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • RT. Clublink (the company) has a major presence out west now that they merged with Tri White.

    Clublink’s junior golf program is very weak compared to other private golf clubs. Juniors tend to take up valuable start times on tee sheets and that just doesn’t fit well with their for profit model.

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