Glen Abbey isn’t going anywhere any time soon
OAKVILLE — There’s no question ClubLink wants to turn their Glen Abbey Golf Club into a residential development.
However, the idea that the iconic Glen Abbey course is hosting its last RBC Canadian Open this week or that bulldozers will soon turn the fairways into driveways is absurd.
You only need to look at what ClubLink is doing at Glen Abbey to know that golf will be played there, and by the PGA Tour, for a while yet.
Between the end of last year’s Open and the start of this one, the Glen Abbey maintenance staff, led by superintendent Andrew Gyba, did a compete bunker rebuild.
“All the bunkers were completely excavated. All outstanding drainage issues were addressed and we installed a new angular sand from Ohio. It’s the best product on the market,” said Gyba, adding they are looking forward to having the new bunkers for “a few more years, or many more years.”
While Gyba wouldn’t say what the project cost, another noted Canadian golf course architect said it would be in the half-million-dollar range.
Gyba also said that this fall they plan to remove many of the gabion rock walls that line much of 16 Mile Creek as it runs through the golf course. They will be replaced with more natural slopes covered in environmentally friendly vegetation.
This, too, will not be inexpensive. So ask yourself: Why is ClubLink spending this kind of money on the golf course if it won’t be hosting any more Opens?
If we put future Canadian Opens aside for a minute and look at the one that’s on at Glen Abbey this week, there are two things that you really need to see.
Make sure you stop at the seventh hole, the par three adjacent to the clubhouse. Golf Canada has turned it into a giant hockey rink with hockey boards all around the tee.
A hockey net has been set up on the amateur tees and the pros, many of whom had never held a hockey stick before, have taken the opportunity to fire pucks at it.
The reaction from the pros was very positive. They thought it was a lot of fun. Even Jack Nicklaus, who was up for a Canadian Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony, tried it and managed to score, although the goal did go in off a photographer’s foot.
If you’ve never been to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum before, this is the year. It’s located in Golf House, which is halfway down the 10th fairway and off to the left.
What’s new this year is a special exhibit to honour Arnold Palmer, who died last year. The King’s first PGA Tour victory was the 1955 Canadian Open. The trophy that he received for that victory, which he admitted in one of his early books was one of the few that he kept in his home, is on display.
If you go to the exhibit, look carefully at the back of that small trophy. It says ‘won by’ and that’s all. The Royal Canadian Golf Association never had Arnie’s name engraved on it. It’s a nice exhibit that includes some of his clubs and the scoresheet from his 1955 Canadian Open win at the Weston G&CC in Toronto.
Sunday is “Arnold Palmer Day” at this year’s Open, and the players are all being asked to wear pins with AP/55 on them.
When Judy Darling Evans was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame along with noted wedge maker Bob Vokey at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Open, she brought down the house.
“I don’t play much any more,” said the 79-year-old. “A guy asked me the other day what my handicap was. I told him ‘four children, an exhusband and a hysterectomy.’” Whole-in-one: Rob Macoritti aced the 120-yard 11th hole at Savannah Golf Links with a gap wedge.
Mike Weir kids around with a hockey stick after he hit from the seventh tee.