After trips to Scottsdale, Az., and New York the past couple of weeks, the GNN traveling road show continues with a flight to West Palm Beach, then on to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship, where Eric Landreville defends his title, starting Monday.
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Landreville, the head professional at Belle Vue Club de Golf in Ville De Lery, Que., won by three shots over Jean-Louis LaMarre from St-Jean Richelieu, Que., after rounds of 66-68-73 to win the $12,000 first prize, his first Canadian PGA title and an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open.
This year, Landreville has his work cut out for him with the likes of 2005 and 2006 winner Danny King from Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont., and four-time champ Gar Hamilton from the Mississaugua Golf and Country Club in Missisauga, Ont., in the field.
Other past champs include Alberta’s Brett Burgeson, Ontario’s Ken Tarling and Dale Pederson, but it won’t be all about competition.
On Sunday, the night before the tournament begins, the Canadian PGA will be celebrating its most recent award winners, including Patty Howard of Sunningdale in London, Ont. (Club Professional of the Year) and Derek Ingram of Winnipeg’s Elmhurst Golf and Country Club (Teacher of the Year).
Other Canadian PGA winners to be recognized that evening will be Eric Thorsteinson from Edmonton’s Royal Mayfair (Merchandiser of the Year) and Ted Stonehouse of Bell Bay in Baddeck, N.S. (Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year).
Normally, I see these people in business settings such as buying shows, so it will be good to see them play competitively, one of the things that drew them to the industry, but something many don’t get to do as often as they’d like due to busy schedules and the ever-changing role of the golf professional.
It will also be interesting to talk to them in a more relaxed setting and get their takes on what is happening out there, how they see 2009 shaping up and the effects of a weakening economy that doesn’t show any signs of letting up any time soon.
That will also be a mission on another road trip, scheduled for two days after I return from Port St. Lucie Thursday. This is more of a short haul as I’ve been asked by the National Golf Course Owners Association to host a media relations seminar at its conference in Niagara Falls, Ont., the following Saturday.
Besides that seminar, the owners also plan to discuss how to deal with the current economy, with all ideas on the table for consideration. It should be interesting to chat with owners and professionals over the next week or so and see if their outlook is the same and whether their ideas jive with one another.
After that, the passport and suitcase get a rest.