Joe Murphy is general manager of the St. George’s Golf and Country Club, the host site of the 2010 RBC Canadian Open next month in Toronto. Murphy will contribute a guest blog each week about operations at the host club leading up to the national championship.
The clubhouse operation during the Canadian Open is taken over solely by RBC. They have the exclusive use of the clubhouse through the week of the Open, with the exception of the Mike Weir Charity Classic when the participants will be in the clubhouse for lunch and dinner.
For the Wednesday pro-am, the participants will be in the clubhouse. There are two shotguns in the morning and afternoon.
From Thursday to Sunday, RBC has exclusive use of the clubhouse and there are approximately 400 RBC guests who will be in and out those days, We will put out a breakfast buffet and then we’ll move into luncheon items around the noon hour. In the afternoon, we’ll get into hors d’oeuvres.
There will be a separate players’ area, which we believe will be downstairs towards the curling area.
As far as the main level of the clubhouse goes, the front room, which is called the St George’s Room, our Founders Room, which is the adjoining room, and our Stanley Thompson Room, which is a separate dining room, will all be filled with RBC clients, as will the upper verandah overlooking the golf course.
I understand the views from the clubhouse will be somewhat obstructed because of the TV towers on Islington Avenue, but there may be some sightlines.
We will be using our own staff in the clubhouse. We do this kind of food service a lot and obviously, this is a little higher volume on a daily basis. This is what we’re accustomed to and this group is trained and familiar with big events.
We have a very well-trained staff, but we will need more and we’re looking to take on additional people, at least for that week. However, we’re pretty well geared to go right now.
We have a lot of confidence in our food and beverage team. Our executive chef, James Saunders, is really looking forward to it at the back of the house, We have a team of chefs and he’s had to increase his staff, as well. James has a lot of experience and is well-known, so he’s up to the task as is his team.
What I really think is neat is a local farm-to-table concept that we’ll be using. It’s what we call local country club cuisine, which is local product that we really try to highlight in our service.
We also support our sponsors. For example, Pepsi is a sponsor, so we’ll use Pepsi products. Molson is a sponsor, so we’ll use mostly Molson products.
We really haven’t had to do much to motivate our staff. They really are self-motivated and want to work all week during the Canadian Open. We really don’t have any issues there.
Staff members know it’s going to be a long week. We’ve talked about that, but it’s the excitement of the Open, it’s something they don’t normally do, it’s a world-class event, it’s televised to 30-something countries, so they’re really excited.
This isn’t something you get to do every day. They’re anxious to get going, they have their schedules prepared and know where people are going to be placed.
We’ve also had a number of staff members from other clubs offer to come and work here, which sets up what I think is a great aspect of hosting the Open. In my next blog, I’ll talk about how golf comes together as a community to help stage a premier event.