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Published on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Golf Canada CEO on Canadian Open future

“We’re going to continue those discussions and let this process continue on and hopefully everyone can be in a good place.”

Golf Canada CEO on Canadian Open future
Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum
— Golf Canada
By Adam Stanley, SportsNet

OTTAWA – While most of the eyes of the Canadian golf world are on the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this week at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum is keeping one of his on the goings on at Glen Abbey Golf Club.

The home of Golf Canada’s office, and semi-permanent home of the RBC Canadian Open, was in the news Tuesday after the town of Oakville unanimously voted in favour of designating the golf course, which has hosted the Canadian Open 29 times – more than any other layout in the country – as a heritage site.

Golf courses are indeed eligible to be considered heritage sites, per the provincial government, but only two courses in the country have such a designation. The courses, located in Windsor (Roseland Golf Course) and Mississauga (Lakeview Golf Course), are both owned by their respective municipalities, and according to the Globe and Mail, the designation is supposed to help keep golf accessible to the public.

Glen Abbey, however, has a $236 green fee. It would not be part of the average golfer’s weekend rotation.

But Applebaum, in an exclusive interview with Sportsnet, said it is “very clear” the residents of Oakville feel strongly about the property.

“It’s wonderful to see,” he explained. “I would like to see the due process to go forward. They’re going to keep the discussion direct with us and with ClubLink as the land owner and I think it’s been something we’re going to work on very closely. Going forward it will be (up to) the town of Oakville, Golf Canada, and ClubLink to develop a really solid management plan so that the golf course can not be static, but can live and breathe and expand so that we can run a world-class event there.

“We’re going to continue those discussions and let this process continue on and hopefully everyone can be in a good place.”

Applebaum was borderline adamant at the Canadian Open in July that a permanent site for the country’s lone PGA Tour event in the Greater Toronto Area was going to be the plan moving forward.

“Our hope is to have a permanent long-term strategy and long-term site,” he said at the time. “We really see a good home here in the GTA.”

And he said now he’s eager to evolve the big marketing activation at Glen Abbey – turning the par-3 7th into a hockey rink viewing experience, appropriately dubbed “The Rink” – into something special.

“The Rink was a massive success and it became really a chance for people to do what they do normally at the Canadian Open… and see the rink. The Rink became a really special thing,” he explained.

“It was really exciting. We’re going to evolve The Rink. We’ve got two (more) brilliant creative ideas and we’re hoping to make them a reality. We’re going to expand on them for sure. We’ve had all of our partners, especially RBC… really (help) bring it to life. We caught some fire with it and we’re going to try to expand on it.”

But while Applebaum waxed poetic about The Rink, an appearance by Jack Nicklaus during this year’s Canadian Open, and the excitable crowds, there is still a question of where the Canadian Open fits on the PGA Tour’s schedule moving forward.

Right now it comes the week after the Open Championship, and most of the game’s top players usually take a pass – Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have never played, for example, and Jason Day played for the few years he was sponsored by RBC. This year, his first year without RBC branding, he did not play – due to scheduling.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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