There have been times in this space when I’ve taken a media colleague to task, but in this case, I agree with ScoreGolf’s Bob Weeks who says here that the upcoming Golf Canada/Royal Canadian Golf Association annual general meeting will be more than the coronation of incoming president Diane Dunlop-Hebert.
It’s also expected to be announced soon that, to nobody’s surprise, Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., will be named the site of the 2013 RBC Canadian Open, but while that announcement will capture the public’s attention, what’s happening behind the scenes will also be interesting.
Dunlop-Hebert’s term as president may not be a quiet one because as Weeks has pointed out, and I’ve heard the same rumblings, the natives are restless at Golf House.
What will be interesting to see is how the Golf Canada membership drive is doing. A year ago, it was far below original expectations in its first year and you don’t hear much about it anymore outside of Golf Canada/Royal Canadian Golf Association media vehicles.
The indications from within the golf industry is that the same holds true today, but let’s see what comes up at the AGM. The goals of the association through its Vision 2012 projection are here.
What are your thoughts on whether those goals were met? When you answer that question, ask yourself if the AGM will be, or should be, a polite annual session, especially if the extent of financial strain is what it’s rumoured to be.
Golf Canada may yet regret the decision to put proceeds from the Canadian Open back into the tournament rather than using it to fund its programs, but then, we may be talking about the future of the Open if RBC wasn’t title sponsor.
There are other concerns. The player development program, for example, has been a revolving door the past few years with the exits of national women’s coach Dean Spriddle, men’s coach Henry Brunton and director of high performance Doug Roxburgh.
While all of these departures were publicly civil, the main concern is continuity of a program that, fairly or unfairly, gets rapped for not producing enough Canadians for the PGA Tour. No new players made it through Q-school this year.
On the other hand, Maude-Aimee LeBlanc and Rebecca Lee-Bentham did earn their LPGA Tour cards and both are products of the Golf Canada/RCGA national team program, so all isn’t lost.
However, the pressure to produce high-level Canadians will only get greater for Golf Canada, which serves as the National Sports Organization, with the Olympics looming larger on the horizon four years hence, so the player development program will be under the microscope in the quest for success in 2016.
These are just a couple of things that will make the AGM interesting and they spark legitimate questions about the future.
What is normally a tame affair nay be anything but and the same will hold true throughout 2012.