Golf

Golf Canada hopes new 'home for Canadian golf' gets more players on PGA, LPGA Tour

The 150th British Open at St. Andrews — the so-called "home of golf" — just wrapped up on Sunday. Now, Golf Canada is hoping to build a similar legacy with the announcement of the "home of Canadian golf" to be built at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont.

Organization announces plans for new site including talent ID centre in Caledon, Ont.

Plans for a community putting green at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, where Golf Canada announced Wednesday it is building its new headquarters, is shown above. (Submitted by Golf Canada)

The 150th British Open at St. Andrews — the so-called "home of golf" — just wrapped up on Sunday.

Now, Golf Canada is hoping to build a similar legacy with the announcement of the "home of Canadian golf" to be built at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont.

The organization hopes the facility promotes the growth of golf in the country. It's set to feature a community putting green inspired by St. Andrews, as well as an indoor short game complex that also serves as a national talent identification centre.

The organization's stated goal is to "advance 30 Canadians to the LPGA and PGA Tours by 2032."

Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum said the site is more than just a physical building.

"Culture, collaboration, and innovation are critical elements. Establishing a new headquarters and a Canadian golf campus with our partners to meet, play, train, plan, celebrate and collaborate, represents a transformative moment to advance the sport," Applebaum said.

The new facility will feature the organization's national headquarters and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, both of which are currently located at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont.

The organization said it expects to have "shovels in the ground" by early 2023, with the project completed by early 2025.

Growth of sport

A record nine Canadians competed at the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open in January in California. Corey Conners, of Listowel, Ont., is the top-ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour at 31st.

Four Canadians currently compete on the LPGA Tour, with Smiths Falls, Ont., native Brooke Henderson leading the way ranked No. 10.

The pandemic also brought a newly sparked interest in a sport which could safely be played at a distance outside. Golf Canada said nearly 15,000 Canadians played more than 100 rounds of golf in 2020, a 50 per cent increase over normal seasons.

To that end, the Golf Canada Foundation launched a $70-million campaign to strengthen the training facilities set to be built at TPC Toronto, with current funding having reached more than 50 per cent of that goal.

In May, Golf Canada named Salimah Mussani was named head coach of Canada's women's teams following a $2-million donation from the Stollery family to support the position.

Canada has not won an Olympic medal in golf since George Lyon took gold in 1904. After Lyon's victory, the sport was not reintroduced to the Olympic progam until 2016.

Henderson and Alena Sharp, now ranked 326th, each competed for Canada at Tokyo 2020, though neither cracked the top 25.

Brooke Henderson, seen above during the Women's 2022 PGA Championship, is the top-ranked Canadian on the LPGA Tour. (AP)

'Wonderful addition to the momentum'

TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley is a 54-hole golf facility which is currently undergoing a significant privately funded expansion and commercial development that includes the construction of new clubhouse and conference facilities, plus improvements to the practice facility, with accommodations and hosting facilities on-site.

"Our family has long dreamed of Osprey Valley as a great Canadian golf destination, and we believe this announcement is a wonderful addition to the momentum we've been fortunate to experience in recent years," said Osprey Valley president Chris Humeniuk.

Phase 1 of the Home for Canadian Golf project will include the corporate headquarters, a renovation of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, and the 30,000-square foot putting green. The cost for Phase 1 is estimated at $20 million, and the financial funding model will be led by Golf Canada with a donation from Osprey Valley.

Phase 2 of the development is expected to cost $10 million and will only proceed upon successful fundraising campaigns supported by the Golf Canada Foundation and private donors as well as through naming rights, contributions from industry partners and government support.

The Town of Caledon has already extended its support toward becoming a hub community for Canadian golf with a recommendation to the Regional Municipality of Peel to approve a $2.5 million investment toward executing the project.

With files from The Canadian Press

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