Toronto awards contract to manage City munis to group headed by PGA of Canada CEO Kevin Thistle
According to reports, Kevin Thistle plans to keep his day job running the PGA of Canada but he and his partners will be heading up a management group that has a contract to run the five Toronto municipal golf courses for the next ten years. That will involve managing play, pro shops and food and beverage while the City will retain management of all course maintenance and have green fee approval. Thistle says his group will invest significant money over five years to upgrade facilities and plans to hire a PGA of Canada professional at each location. The contract is due to start December 1.
This seems like a smart move on the City’s part. History has shown in almost every location throughout North America that municipal governments are terrible managers of golf facilities. Whether they don’t have the budget to do it properly, or the expertise to do it right, politics tends to get in the way and the golf courses lose.
The Toronto decision clarifies the purpose of the properties and in spite of opposition to turn the golf courses into parks, soccer fields or housing, keeps the green space alive for golfers and others under a sensible mixed-use plan.
Two things about this deal stand out to me: the first is that the City will retain approval on green fees, which means that the new managers can’t just crank up the rates and watch the cash roll in. For the past few years especially, these courses have been almost always full and could likely generate higher revenues from increased fees, but keeping a lid on them hopefully makes them accessible to kids and other new golfers.
The second is that Thistle, who is a pretty astute guy, plans to set aside times for juniors, Indigenous groups and under-represented communities. This could be a hot potato as ‘how much time’ will be a point of debate. But at least the intention is there which is a major plus for new golfers, who don’t have other viable options in the City core.
World Junior Girls returning to the area in 2024 and 2025
First, congratulations again to the Canada 1 team on winning the World Junior Girls Golf Championship last week in Brampton! Now comes news that future sites of this annual event are scheduled in the region for the next two years: Credit Valley Golf & Country Club next year and St. Catharines Golf & Country Club in 2025. Royal Ottawa was also announced as the host of the 2026 championship. If you haven’t watched these international teams play, you’re missing an opportunity to see some great golf but also see some budding superstars. A number of players have gone on to play and win on the LPGA Tour including our own Brooke Henderson.
Full Story HERE.
They’ve come along way from a 25-pound belt
The Open Championship is the world’s oldest golf tournament still running to this day. It dates back to 1860, when it was first played as a 36-hole competition over three 12-hole rounds at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. The three rounds were played on a single day 163 years ago on October 17.
A total of eight players competed in the first Open Championship, with Willie Park Sr. upsetting Tom Morris Sr. to win first prize – a red Moroccan leather belt covered with silver panels depicting golf scenes. The belt, known as the Challenge Belt, reputedly cost 25 Pounds. There was no prize money.
Top 10 Golf Movies of All Time
I was looking for a quote the other day that I knew had come from a golf movie – I just couldn’t recall which one – and stumbled on numerous lists of the best golf movies of all time. Here’s my list in order, with apologies to Adam Sandler fans. Most lists usually have Happy Gilmore ranked higher.
- Caddyshack (1980)
- Tin Cup (1996)
- The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
- Dead Solid Perfect (1988)
- The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
- Follow the Sun (1951)
- Tommy’s Honour (2016)
- Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)
- Golf in the Kingdom (2010)
- Happy Gilmore (1996)
You will probably disagree.
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!