Posted : June 19, 2014
Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.
The World Cup and its customary frenzy of nationalism got me thinking about next summer and the arrival of the 2015 Pan Am Games to Toronto. With world class venues dotting the GTA, athletes from around the world will have a chance to sample the region in all its splendour. Since golf is returning as a medal sport in the 2016 Olympics, the Pan Am Games has followed suit and brought golf in to the fold for the first time with Markham’s Angus Glen Golf Club receiving the honour of hosting the inaugural event.
Embedded in the heart of GTA suburbia on the corner of Major Mackenzie and Kennedy, this remarkable 36-hole facility was built in the mid 90’s by the Stollery family, on the lands of their former cattle and horse farm, with the grand plan of hosting big events. This won’t be the first time Angus Glen has stepped in to the spotlight of the world stage for both the North and South courses have proven their mettle against the worlds best golfers when they previously hosted our Men’s and Women’s Open Championships. While the Pan AM Games tournament is certainly another feather in Angus Glen’s plume filled cap it also got me thinking about what other major golfing greats may have graces the greens of the central counties over the years.
A few hours of research uncovered a golf past that has seen many of the games greatest compete in the Central Counties. With over 130 courses across the region it was expected that many provincial and national events would have been contested over this collection of fairways, but it was a bit of a surprise to see that the area has also hosted numerous international championships.
The Canadian Open, the third oldest national championship in the world, has visited the area three times. The first, played in 1945 at the classic Stanley Thompson designed Thornhill Country Club, was won by “Lord” Byron Nelson. It took many years for the event to resurface locally, this time the South Course at Angus Glen entertained the PGA in 2002 with John Rollins victorious. Jim Furyk’s win at the 2007 Open, played at the sister North Course, brought plenty of excitement over a defending champ competing and victorious.
Much talk has surfaced recently about bringing an Open back the area, with three local clubs rumoured as interested in hosting the worlds golfing greats. Coppinwood, the Fazio masterpiece in Uxbridge, Aurora’s Beacon Hall, Bob Cupp’s highly regarded design and Devil’s Pulpit, Hurdzan Fry’s parkland gem in Caledon.
The LPGA has not been a stranger to the area either with the former Board of Trade course in Woodbridge, now The Country Club, hosting the ladies tour in 1986. The legendary Pat Bradley took the 1986 crown. In 1999 and 2000, ClubLink’s Emerald Hills, played host to the Nations Cup pitting Canadian and US women against each other in a Ryder Cup style event. Angus Glen’s first foray into hosting an RCGA National Championship came in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam taking home the Women’s Open title.
The Canadian PGA and Canadian Tour have stopped locally many times over the years. This past summer Canadian PGA players competed at the Magna Golf Club for the annual CPGA Championship. Contested since 1912, several World Golf Hall of Famers have laid claim to CPGA title, including Arnold Palmer, Lanny Watkins and Lee Trevino. Trevino won at Woodbridge’s National Golf Club, regarded by many as one of the most challenging courses on the planet. Aurora’s King Valley played an early part of Mike Weir’s launch to his eventual green jacket as Master’s champion with his 1993 Canadian Tour Championship title. Another Aurora locale, Beacon Hall, hosted the Copas de las Americas, in 2007, a team competition for the countries of the The Americas. Webb Simpson was as part of the winning US team.
The summer of 2015 is going to be historic for the sport of golf. With The International Golf Federation committed to golf in the Olympics, the Pan Am Games and The Central Counties have benefited from this terrific opportunity to highlight golf on a grand stage. Who knows which golfers will be representing their nations, as it could very well be the beginning of something special for many of our Canadian players on the threshold of stardom.
Don’t forget to pick up your Central Counties Club Tour card – #ClubTourCC – and earn yourself some free golf this summer. For details visit: https://yorkdurhamheadwaters.ca/golf/golfcard/
Submitted by Rick Parnham & Alistair Orr
On The Tee magazine / BAGS Junior Golf Tour
www.ontheteemagazine.com : www.bags.on.ca