Just a thought, but I wonder how closely ClubLink is following the York Downs saga which, as you’ve probably read, could top out at a whopping $412-million to purchase the land the club sits on for development.
ClubLink, of course, owns a prime piece of real estate on the other side of Toronto from York Down’s location in Markham, that being Glen Abbey, which will host next year’s RBC Canadian Open for the 27th time.
The Abbey, which ClubLink purchased in 1998 from the Royal Canadian Golf Association, is worth considerably more than the $40-million it paid in 1998.
How much more is the loaded question, which makes it interesting watching the York Downs situation.
The potential sale of the Abbey to developers has been the subject of speculation the past few years.
It’s Bill Powell’s Turn
As I mentioned in this blog, I had the good fortune to meet and jaw with Charlie Sifford prior to his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., 10 years ago.
Sifford was the first African American to earn a PGA Tour card in 1961 and was the first black player to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, the same year Canadian Marlene Streit was put in.
While Sifford’s potential as a player was stifled, his contribution to golf definitely wasn’t because he taught us such a valuable lesson about the human spirit and the inclusion of everybody, which the game is still stressing to this day.
Sifford received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour for a civilian, on Monday. You can watch that ceremony in this video.
Memories of Charlie and what he meant to the game reminded me of some unfinished business and that is the induction of another fellow who had the same message as Sifford in his efforts to bring people of different races together in golf.
“I didn’t build this course for any of the recognition,” he said in his autobiography, Clearview, America’s Course. “It was a labour of love. Golf is a part of society and I wanted to be included. I want you to be included too.”
The man who wrote those words was the late Bill Powell, the first African American to build, own and operate a golf course. The Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, opened its first nine holes in 1948 with another nine to come 30 years later.
Known as America’s Course, it was not only a place for blacks to play, but whites as well. Men and women, kids and adults – everybody was welcomed.
For that reason, with all due respect to Bill’s avoidance of recognition, it’s time to reward his efforts posthumously with induction as a builder into the World Golf Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honour that has escaped his name to this point.
In 2009, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the PGA of America during PGA Championship week in Minnesota.
He was also inducted into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame, was named Person of the Year by the Ohio Golf Course Owners Association and his family was presented with the Community Salute Award by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
There is one last honour that has already gone to Sifford and should go to Powell as both men conveyed a message that still needs to be taught again and again, even to this day.