Wow, it was a very exciting couple of weeks down here in Orlando with demo day at Orange County National followed by the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Centre.
It’s been well-documented how impressive the golf show is, even with the recent economic challenges and this year’s reduced size, but it is still the greatest golf show on earth. With over 30,000 attendees from PGAs around the world, along with other industry and trade people, it was by all accounts a great success.
The announcement by RBC of its further commitment to golf, not only in Canada but also in North America, by signing a sponsorship agreement with the PGA of America was a great surprise and made Canadians feel proud that we are, at least by association, taking a greater step onto the tour stage.
The signing of Canadians on the PGA and LPGA Tours the week before the PGA of America announcement was also a great sign of support by RBC.
Having played with Mike Weir and Stephen Ames on the Canadian Tour and having Chris Baryla and Lisa Meldrum working with Core Golf’s tour coach Sean Foley here at the academy, they were all deserving of support and especially for Chris and Lisa, who are just starting their tour careers, it’s a great boost.
However, I do want to say one thing and I hope corporations will listen.
If we want to continue our growth onto the world golf stage, as I have said earlier, we need to support our professional athletes before they get to the “show.”
We have made great strides, supporting our amateur athletes and Canadians who have made it to the major tours, but there are several talented Canadians who, with minimal financial support that would allow them to play and get the experience necessary, could represent a steady stream of potential PGA and LPGA stars.
Having been a Canadian Tour member for 13 years, at one time serving on the Board and as past president, I was always dismayed that large corporations couldn’t see the grassroots value of the Canadian Tour.
It seems natural for a national company to assume title sponsorship of the tour and be in touch with clients in every town in which the Canadian Tour is played.
With the possible exception of Toronto, the tour was often the biggest show in town that week and got great support locally, but never the consistent support nationally. I hope that changes soon.
Whether it is becoming involved with the whole tour, various local stops across Canada or even just sponsoring an up-and-coming professional who might play with your clients in the pro-am, this is the type of support that comes at a very low cost, but it’s dividend back to the Canadian golf community is huge.