Scott Simmons, CEO of Golf Canada Very Optimistic About The State Of The Game
by Scott A. Sumner
The 2015 RBC Canadian Open was held at Glen Abbey and proved to be a great success. I sat down in the media centre with Scott Simmons, CEO of Golf Canada to talk about the event, the state of the game in Canada and it’s future.
How has this years RBC Canadian Open gone?
“I couldn’t be happier with this event. The venue itself is so conducive to this event and give Nicklaus so much credit as he designed such a great golf course but also one of the best spectator courses in the world. People embrace this site. This year the course has never been in greater shape. RBC has been a great supporter and everything looks great. Our sales are up significantly over the last time we were here in 2013.” “ Royal Montreal hosted the first Canadian Open in 1904 and have hosted it 10 times . Last year the late July time frame didn't work well because of the Quebec holiday situation including the construction break.”
You have a great field at his years event?
Jason Day, Bubba Watson and with David Hearn in contention, we have a great field. We also have a great partnership with PGA Tour Canada and have three of their player play in our event including JJ Spaun who won Staal Open. There are also the RBC Ambassadors which help our
field so much.
How do you view the state of the game of golf in Canada today?
“The state of golf today in Canada is fantastic. We met with our allys and other associations yesterday. Rounds are up 27% this year over last year and rounds are up 14% over the three year running average. It has been driven by the west which had a strong early start. The east coast has suffered this year with a late spring but overall the Canadian numbers are fantastic. We just issued a facilities report and have 2,346 facilities in Canada, more than any country in the world outside of the US. We have more courses and players per capita than any country in the world. It makes me chuckle when I hear people say the game is in trouble. Certain course might be in trouble but like any business, people will compete for the entertainment dollar. No where is it written that a golf course will be successful. I am really encouraged with the state of the game and all we have done with our youth programs and getting kids into the game that weren't there 5 or 10 years ago.”
“ In the high performance side we have great men and women coming up which drives participation. We are the number one sport in Canada with more participation than any other sport. We are a $14 billion industry and employ 350,000 people. It's massive. I am incredibly positive about the future of golf in Canada.”
Currently you are looking at the upcoming Canadian Opens?
Our deal with RBC ends in 2017 and we are negotiating for our 2017 Canadian site. In 2016 the RBC Canadian Open will be back at Glen Abbey again. Right now our focus is working with RBC and the PGA Tour to get the 2017 venue and sponsorship in place.”