PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – To a lesser degree, the Canadian PGA faces a similar challenge with its Club Professional Championship as the Royal Canadian Golf Association does with the RBC Canadian Open.
Like the Open, the Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship, which concluded yesterday at the PGA Golf Club here, is a national championship, but it the difference is that the CPC is exclusively for Canadians. The differences between the two events don’t end there.
For one thing, the CPC has been played in the United States the past five years, a head-scratcher for those outside the golf industry who might not understand that this Canadian championship needs to be played late in the year when club professionals aren’t as preoccupied with business as they are in high season.
Therefore, a warm weather destination is necessary in November, even if those who had early tee times this week might argue the warm weather part. Its U.S. location aside, the Canadian PGA still has to be cognizant of players coming from all over Canada, some traveling much farther than others to be in Florida.
For that reason, site selection for the CPC is an important issue as it is with the Open, which has been nailed with criticism that it is too eastern-based or Toronto-based and should be in a regular rotation that includes both western and eastern golf courses if it is truly the national championship.
The same holds true with the CPC, even though it is played in the U.S. Canadian PGA executive director Steve Carroll says the association is aware of the long trip from a place such as Vancouver to Florida and says plans are in the works to rotate the American sites to be fair to everybody.
“We recognized that, so we think, conversely, it would be great for eastern Canadian professionals to play some golf in the western part of America,” said Carroll, adding that the rotation to the west could begin as early as next year, but he is under no pressure to get a deal done immediately.
“We’ve just got to find the right facility. We’re not going to move for the sake of moving. We’ve got to find the right fit for the event,” said Carroll.
Site inspections have already begun, including one at The Chase at the PGA Golf Club Coyote Springs, about 45 minutes from Las Vegas, which would continue the relationship between the CPGA and the PGA of America.
The Chase is a par 72 Jack Nicklaus design, stretching to 7,471 yards from the tips. It has 11 water features, deep white sand bunkers and, like the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, undulating greens.
There is at least a temporary challenge with this western development. “There is no infrastructure out there, no facility, no clubhouse, no accommodations, so we’d have to bus people back and forth from Las Vegas,” said Carroll.
“The other option we’re looking at is Phoenix. We’re talking to Troon Golf. They’ve got a few facilities out there that we’re discussing and negotiating,” he said.
Included in the Troon facilities being considered by the CPGA are the Westin Kierland, Whirlwind and Talking Stick.
“We’re committed to taking this event to the western part of North America and that should happen sooner than later,” said Carroll.