For the past few weeks, general manager Joe Murphy and superintendent Keith Bartlett have been kind enough to contribute guest blogs on GNN about their preparations at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club for next week’s RBC Canadian Open.
We appreciate Joe and Keith chipping in, especially due to their time constraints leading up to the pinnacle of a massive undertaking that affects most aspects of a golf club operation and one that begins with a vote by members to host the Open.
As Murphy has pointed out on a number of occasions, the St. George’s membership has been solidly behind their club hosting the Open since the beginning.
I experienced that enthusiasm first-hand recently when I recently sat on a media panel in front of a full St. George’s dining room, along with colleagues Lorne Rubenstein (Globe and Mail), Rick Young (ScoreGolf), radio producer Brian Angus and Doug Smith (Toronto Star).
St. George’s members were curious about how their club would be presented to the world through the media, what the impressions of PGA Tour players will be of their club and the future of media in general.
Although topics of discussion weren’t always specific to the Open, there was a strong buzz at that gathering, which illustrates points that Murphy brought up in his GNN blogs about near-unanimous approval when the membership voted to host the Open and how so many members are volunteering.
I’ve never been a believer in golf course rankings, but having said that, few would argue that St. George’s is one of the premier clubs in the land and will be well-received by PGA Tour players the way that Hamilton and Shaughnessy were in the past.
The flip side of that is that St. George’s, tucked away in an established, west-end Toronto location, has had unique challenges in its preparations for the Open, including relations with nearby residents, meetings with the City, the closing of Islington Avenue and the shuttling of players to the range at nearby Islington Golf Club.
Add those specific challenges to the typical clubhouse, food and beverage, golf course and merchandising concerns, among others, and you’ve made a serious commitment once you agree to host the Open, which brings us to the topic of this week’s GNN Poll.
Not all golf courses are set up to host an event the magnitude of the Canadian Open, but let’s assume for a moment that your facility had the infrastructure in place.
If it was capable, would you commit your golf course to hosting the RBC Canadian Open after considering the time requirements and the impact on your staff and members?
The new poll is up on the GNN home page right now, so be sure to cast your vote and, as always, please feel free to expand your thoughts below.