Joe Murphy, general manager of the St. George’s Golf and Country Club, has been writing a regular blog leading up to this year’s RBC Canadian Open and now that it’s over, he deals with the experience from a club perspective and the question of whether St. George’s would consider hosting the national championship again.
I haven’t run into a lot of members since the RBC Canadian Open concluded last Sunday, but the ones I have talked to are ecstatic about the way things went.
They feel it was a wonderful event, the course showed well on television or, in many cases, whether they were volunteers or not, they walked the golf course during the Open and had enjoyable experiences.
There’s a lot of chatter about a Canadian Open rotation between six or seven clubs and I like to think that we would be considered for that and I certainly hope our members would support that, depending on how often it would be – that’s the key.
I don’t think we’re prepared to go out and do it next year, but if we’re on a seven-year rotation, I think the members would certainly consider and support it. We have to really let the dust settle here, see how it all went.
Let’s get the feedback from the community. Being right in the city, the community around us was very supportive for the most part, but I’d like to see a post mortem there and I’d like to see how we did financially.
There are a lot of factors that would certainly help us in making a decision down the road. I know there’s interest from Golf Canada. We don’t know who their title sponsor will be beyond 2012, but I like to think it would be RBC.
There was a lot of talk before the tournament about the logistical challenges of having the Open at St. George’s, including having the range at Islington Golf Club.
The shuttle drivers were very sensitive to the timing of moving players around. They had all the tee times of the players, so they were very conscious of when they needed to get to the tee. There was never a comment that I’m aware of where a player came close or very concerned about missing a tee time.
I spent a couple of hours at the range about mid-week and it was easy to get to from St. George’s. The players were relaxed, although I thought there would have been more spectators, but the range became a bit of a sanctuary in which the players could relax.
When I was there, maybe 50 or 100 spectators were around, but that was the day of the pro-am, so a lot of players were on the golf course.
A number of people asked how to get to the range and we just pointed them to the shuttles, but I don’t think anybody really got upset because the range wasn’t here.
Generally speaking, the tournament flowed well and the spectators were happy. I spent a fair amount of time walking among the spectators and generally, I heard rave reviews about the golf course as I walked around. Everybody was in a good mood and there didn’t seem to be much frustration.
Merchandise sales went well. They didn’t reach the targets we had hoped, but I think, in hindsight, we want to be a little better located so that, at some point, the spectators almost have to walk right through to come in or go out.
If we ever host it again, I would want to look at that a little more closely, but nobody’s crying here – we just want to maximize opportunities and that’s a matter of location, location, location.
That something you learn from the experience of hosting the RBC Canadian Open and the experience this year was certainly a positive one from a club perspective. It wouldn’t surprise me if we were able to apply the experience of this one to another Open sometime in the future.