|courtesy of Canadian Golfer|
Yesterday evening I listened to Bill Paul talk on the Fan 590 and mention that Glen Abbey was a great host and remains part of their long term plans. I threw up in my mouth at the thought. I watched the event and found it extremely dull to watch. The architecture plays no real role in the outcome since the players are essentially blasting away all day. It felt just like a typical tour event.
When the RCGA sold Glen Abbey to Clublink it agreed to host the Canadian Open there five more times over 20 years. That commitment is now finished and it’s time that Golf Canada says good bye to that venue. I get that all the infrastructure is in place and the planning is already 90% done. But just because it’s easy to set up and works well for Golf Canada is not the reason to have the event there.
Many years ago a few key people in the golf industry were canvased about how to bring up the stature of the Canadian Open. The overriding belief was the event needed to get away from the Angus Glens and Glen Abbeys and be played on our very best courses. At that time the suggestion was a regular rotation of five courses with an occasional outlier for excitement.
The rotation would be: St. George’s and Hamilton in Toronto, Royal Montreal and an alternative course in Montreal and Shaughnessy in Vancouver. The suggested outlier was originally going to be Banff Springs (done to address the lack of an event in Calgary), but that died during negotiations. Everyone was on board until the limits on visitors to the town that week would not be adjusted for the event. It no longer worked and the idea was shelved.
The recent issue that has cropped up is Royal Montreal, Hamilton and St. George’s are willing hosts, but would prefer a seven year cycle to reduce the inconvenience to the members. Shaughnessy on the other hand seems willing and may pick up some of the slack. Let them. Don’t find another high end public track or a new private course in the middle of nowhere, stick to the plan of the best historical courses in the major cities where that legacy can be used to attract the players and sponsors.
The Canadian Open has a great history before Glen Abbey. In 1969 the event was considered for a World Cup with the other four majors. But creating a permanent home at Glen Abbey slowly eroded the event from a National Championship down to a typical tour event. Everyone overlooked that great venues in great cities attract great players. It’s time to move on past the “conveniences” of Glen Abbey and play at only the best venues. Our national championship deserves it.