Coppinwood and the RBC Canadian Open

New/old Coppinwood owner Paul McLean has confirmed the Uxbridge-based club is seeking the RBC Canadian Open and Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons and tournament director Bill Paul said they are eying the Tom Fazio course as a potential site for the Open.

McLean and co-owner Gerard Waslen recently acquired the club (McLean, who runs financing company Maxium founded Coppinwood) and have been actively seeking the Canadian Open. McLean, who is also on an advisory board for Golf Canada, said he’d stay out of lobbying for the tournament.

But it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of convincing to do.

“It is a great venue, I like it a lot,” said Paul.

So the question is whether RBC is prepared to take the tournament to Coppinwood, which is about a half hour east of Toronto in a rural setting. The course, a solid but rarely spectacular Fazio design, would set up nicely for the event and its bowled green sites would be great locations for spectators. The clubhouse is likely a little small, but the practice facilities are top notch.

Right now Golf Canada has a couple of decisions to make regarding the Canadian Open. It is complicated by the fact the 2016 Olympics include golf and may force the PGA Tour to rework its schedule to allow some of its top players to participate. So Simmons and Paul aren’t sure what date they have to fill quite yet, though they expect that decision to be forthcoming very soon.

Currently Royal Montreal is scheded to hold next year’s tournament, leaving the 2015-17 Opens available. It is expected one of the tournaments will be a return to Vancouver’s Shaughnessy G&CC, while the 2017 playing is anticipated at the recently redesigned Laval course (by Ian Andrew and Mike Weir) to coincide with that club’s 100th anniversary. That would leave one year open.

There had been thought that Beacon Hall could be in the running, but that club has been in turmoil over the last year with infighting and leadership changes.

Bill also floated the idea of having a stable home course once again for the Canadian Open, a course where the event could be played regularly with some tournaments being held elsewhere. Could that be Coppinwood?


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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.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I think it would be sad to have one course where the Canadian Open is held regularly. Keep the Canadian Open rotating to different venues each year. It brings more variety to the event.

  • The problem with rotating the Canadian Open every year is trying to find golf courses that have the facilities, quality golf course and are willing to give their golf club up for 2 weeks in the middle of the summer. Gone are the days of the host club getting a big chunk of change for hosting so the money isn’t a reward. I know Head Professionals who used to encourage their clubs to host because the Pro had all the merchandise rights. That changed when Golf Canada signed a deal with Golf Town on most merchandise.

    Bottom line is the $$ just aren’t in it for the golf clubs to host. I heard through the grapevine that Golf Canada had to lobby hard for RMGC to host next year. I’m not sure this is the best thing for the game in but if Golf Canada can find another permanent site they should grab them and hold onto them. It may be the saving grace for the Canadian Open.

  • Both Hamilton and St. George’s have suggested 7 years apart as being better for them. That ends the original concept of a 5 year cycle between regular hosts. Throw in those two and Royal Montreal at a 7 year span too. Shaughnessy, the one willing host at twice over 7every four to five years and that leave us with two years to fill. One more in Montreal, likely Laval, and that leaves us with our new mystery course in Ontario … or a new build out West and a Calgary event.

  • Coppinwood to host Canadian Open- GREAT NEWS- if they get it???? Good location, great course and fan friendly (great viewing areas). The Open desperately needs alternatives to the regular courses (RM, St. Georges and Shaughnessy). Good golf courses but 2 of the three are not particularly popular with the Tour pros. (Having the practice facilities at another course was bush league).
    What if Golf Canada builds 2 world class venues in Canada and put them into the rotation. For those old enough to remember, the former RCGA sold Glen Abbey (under great fan fare to Clublink) for C$40MM. They stated at that time they would use this capital to build 4 world class golf venues across the country and these courses would and could host the Canadian Open. The National Golf Course Owners Assoc. went ballistic because they believed the RCGA’s planned courses would complete with their product. It was a weak argument but the RCGA did buckle. The proceeds from the sale (most of it) are still available. Golf Canada should seriously consider building 2 major venues (one in the east and one in the west) that are world class, can handle the logistics of a major event and can attract the top PGA players.
    A great disservice was done to our National Open by allowing it to be hosted at venues that were truly an embarrassment. If Golf Canada DOES NOT find/build/develop world class venues the Canadian Open will continue to fall off the PGA radar.
    I sincerely hope Coppinwood gets the nod and Golf Canada deploys OUR money to its original intent. Let’s everyone remember; we the members of Canada’s golf clubs own Golf Canada and as such WE need to provide Golf Canada with our preferences and opinions.

    • Seems like one of the reasons the Canadian Open was moved from Glen Abby as its annual home was the Golf Pros preferred classic traditional courses. And it was Hamilton that started that movement with St. George and Shaughnessy added to the rotation (Canadian Open had already been to Royal Montreal in 1997 in an era before moving the Open around).

      St Georges and Shaughnessy are only good courses?…really? Wonder what is your definition of a course better than good…

      Do we really need more golf courses in Canada, especially those built for the Canadian Open. No thanks. We have plenty of available courses already in existence. For this golfer as a member of Golf Canada, I would vote to NOT build more courses for 4 days of golf a year. I would prefer that the funds are spent building and supporting facilities that encourage more golf participation with our children, especially those from less advantaged environments. Golf is a such a great game to instil values and integrity in our kids.

  • I talked to a PGA player and former champion about it and his suggestiong was that with the current date just after the British Open the best option would to be have a 4 course rotation on the East Coast. The players will not fly all the way out West after playing in Europe the week before.
    Also suggestted that RBC’s large presence and sponsership 2 tourneys and several players should be combined to get a better week for the Canadian Open

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