Joe Murphy is general manager of the St. George’s Golf and Country Club, the host site of the 2010 RBC Canadian Open in Toronto. Murphy will contribute a guest blog each week about operations at the host club leading up to the national championship.
Communication is critical with all of the organizations involved in something that is the magnitude of the RBC Canadian Open.
There are varying degrees of expertise.
Golf Canada is far more experienced at hosting a major golf event, so we certainly look for a lot of direction from them.
We obviously have the experience to host an event in terms of agronomy with our superintendent Keith Bartlett. Our food and beverage people are top professionals as are our golf professionals and their involvement will be on the merchandising side, which we will discuss in a future blog.
One of the committees that I sit on is the eight-person joint tournament committee, which is made up of representatives of Golf Canada and the St. George’s Golf and Country Club and it’s been a good committee, with all of the challenges and potential issues that go along with such an event.
In terms of the actual course infrastructure, the Golf Canada operations people work closely with Keith. They’ve contracted people to come out and build the stands and skyboxes and they have to be careful where they’re driving and punching holes into the ground.
They need a master plan of the course that shows the irrigation layout, or whether there are any wires. You don’t want them cutting phone lines or cutting into irrigation pipes, so Keith has to work closely with them.
Also, Keith works very closely with the PGA Tour and their agronomists in terms of grooming the course, getting it ready, what the height of the rough should be, etc.
Crowd control, such as how they flow through the golf course, was dealt with last fall and into the winter. It wasn’t all firmed up by then, but we had a general idea of what arteries we’re going to use to get the crowds through.
The PGA Tour is involved with pretty much anything on the course, but they tend to focus more on the course set-up and the agronomy, while Golf Canada is looking more at the crowd control, where they’re going to put stands and how they rope the course for spectators and players, etc.
Besides Golf Canada and the tour, we are obviously involved with RBC, primarily from a clubhouse standpoint and corporate hospitality.
I can’t say enough about RBC. They really have been a great partner in terms of the national Open and golf internationally. In relation to St. George’s, they’re been wonderful to work with as we’ve prepared for the Open.
RBC has some other hospitality out on the course, but the clubhouse will be their main spot. Our executive chef, James Saunders, is involved on the food and beverage side of it. He works with out clubhouse manager, Patricia Mann, who does a lot of coordinating with RBC.
James and Patricia work closely with Steve Marshman of Catalyst Sponsorship Consulting Inc., who represents RBC and I stay plugged in.
There are a lot of working parts to the RBC Canadian Open, but all the wheels are turning at full speed as we get closer to the tournament in just a few weeks.