Where should the RBC Canadian Open go next?

Golf Canada has finally gotten around to doing what we already knew was true – next year’s RBC Canadian Open is heading back the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. Nothing wrong with that. And we know that Royal Montreal’s members have voted to proceed with negotiations for the 2014 CanOpen, so that’s done. That leaves 2015-16 open, with the assumption that Laval Sur-le-lac’s Blue Course will get the tournament in the final year of RBC’s deal — 2017. In the meantime, where should the Canadian Open go.

Here are some suggestions and discussion of the courses vying for the 2015-16 tournament.

Beacon Hall — this ultra-private club in Aurora would seem to be the right mix. It has great access to the highway, ample accommodations nearby, and a very solid course designed by Bob Cupp. The course has expressed interest and had Golf Canada out to look at it. There’s no reason this couldn’t work — it is a bigger property than St. George’s, and has great vistas at 1-2, 9-10, 12-13 and 18. This is one that should be considered.

Shaughnessy — there’s talk that Shaughnessy, which held the tournament last year, would like it back. If that’s the case, there’s no reason it shouldn’t return. The only issue I have is the course set-up — let’s hope for a little less rough next time.

Hamilton — apparently doesn’t have much interest in returning in 2015, which would be the 100th anniversary of its Colt-designed course. That’s too bad. 2019 is the date the club is looking at.

St. George’s — I hear conflicting things on St. George’s. Sometimes it is interested, sometimes it isn’t. Either way there are lots of challenges with St. George’s, including the city closing roads. Golf Canada might hear more complaints from neighbours this time if the club tries to host the tournament every five years.

Eagles Nest — Located in Maple, Eagles Nest is a terrific modern design with a great location, clubhouse, range and amenities. Parking might be an issue — but it is for every tournament. The course, which can play to 7,500 yards, isn’t a problem. This is one that should be considered — Stephen Ames said a few years back that it was ready to host the Canadian Open on any day.

Mississaugua — Members would apparently love to have the RBC Canadian Open. There are plenty of issues. The course is tight and relies on a bunch of walk backs to tees that have been added to increase length. The range is likely too short, though it was recently enlarged. The location is as much a difficulty as St. George’s. And finally the course needs work — it still lacks cohesiveness, has far too many trees, and could probably use an extensive renovation.

Devil’s Pulpit — Too far out of the way, hard to walk and without proximity to spectators or hotels. Need I say more?

Westmount — Would be a great place to host a Canadian Open. This Stanley Thompson course is among the best in Canada, with a modern practice facility. It could be the next Hamilton as far as the Open is concerned. However, RBC seems to have little interest in taking the tournament to Waterloo, and with the apparent demise of RIM, one has to wonder whether there’s enough corporate support there.

Coppinwood — This Tom Fazio facility, about a half hour from Toronto, has a solid course, a nice clubhouse, and a great practice ground. However, it is in the east end of Toronto, and there doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite amongst those involved with the Open to take it to the course. Golf Canada execs have gone as far as to ask the course to try to secure provincial support ($$) before it would consider Coppinwood. I’d say it is unlikely Coppinwood could secure an Open, though it could be a solid backup if negotiations with the likes of Royal Montreal fail to come to fruition. By hosting the Canadian Mid-Am last year, Coppinwood has certainly stepped up and demonstrated its support for golf.




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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.

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