PGA of Canada honours newest inductees and award recipients
PGA of Canada
During a virtual award ceremony held Thursday evening, the PGA of Canada recognized its newest class of Hall of Fame inductees, as well as recipients for annual awards.
“We are blessed to have a family of over 3,600 professionals who proudly share their passion and expertise with golfers from coast-to-coast,” said Teejay Alderdice, the association’s president. “On behalf of the PGA of Canada, I would like to congratulate all nominees and finalists for their outstanding accomplishments this year”
Award recipients are as follows:
Moe Norman Apprentice Professional of the Year
Winner: Bri-Ann Tokariwski
Bri-ann Tokariwski’s overall performance can be summed up by three things: ‘ambition’, ‘hard work’ and ‘can-do attitude.’ No matter the day, she greets members and guests with a smile on her face and is always looking for ways to help the other staff at the club. Developing herself professionally each day through various programs, seminars and podcasts, she puts the information into practice with all the programs she runs and participates in, making every professional around her strive to do better.
Tokariwski has completely revamped the junior program at Elmhurst, consistently bringing new, fun programming, working to grow the game at the grassroots level. Over 500 hours of Tokariwski’s season is spent teaching and coaching, with more than half of those hours going towards women and juniors. She stops at nothing to help her students reach their goals.
Outside of her work at the club, Tokariwski’s focus in 2021 was taking over the Provincial Junior Girls Development Team as Head Coach. She put together a program that focused on developing skills, the mental game, nutrition, conditioning, and confidence. Two provincial champions ended up coming from Tokariwski’s program, and eight girls competed in the National Junior Championship.
Tokariwski motivates and inspires those around her by leading by example and showing what can be accomplished through hard work. Through her work in the shop at Elmhurst, her work with juniors, both at the competitive and grass roots levels, and her leadership, she is succeeding in growing the game.
Dominik Boucher, GreyHawk Golf Club, Ottawa Zone Chris Carlaw, The Links at Brunello, Atlantic Zone Matt Gillett, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, British Columbia Zone Natalie Gleadall, Whistle Bear Golf Club, Ontario Zone Sarah-Andréa Landry, Club De Golf Pinegrove, Quebec Zone Bri-ann Tokariwski, Elmhurst Golf & Country Club, Manitoba Zone Rachel Wiebe, Windermere Golf & Country Club, Alberta Zone
Ben Kern Coach of the Year
Winner: Mike Martz
Despite already being one of Canada’s most educated coaches, Mike Martz, Teaching Professional at the Ontario Golf Academy, never stops his pursuit of learning to grow even stronger in his craft. While Martz has coached a long list of professionals and amateurs alike, many of whom are NCAA champions, it’s his work towards making the game more inclusive that truly makes him a role model.
For 12 years, Martz spearheaded the Golfers with Disabilities program, each summer introducing 20 children and young adults with mental or physical challenges to golf. Martz also coached Natasha Stasiuk to victory at the first Ontario Disability Golf Championship. His students know him as a harder worker, a mentor and a leader who always puts his students first and is passionate about their success. Finally, Martz has never failed to share his knowledge with others, giving his time to various podcasts, golf magazines and fellow professionals looking for mentorship from one of the country’s best.
Derek Ingram, Elmhurst Golf & Country Club, Manitoba Zone Conner Kozak, Okanagan Golf Club, British Columbia Zone Mike Martz, The Ontario Golf Academy, Ontario Zone Louis Melanson, Louis Melanson Golf Academy, Atlantic Zone Jamie Reimer, Golfuture, Alberta Zone Jason Schneider, Wildwood Golf Course, Saskatchewan Zone Antoine St-Jean, Génération Golf, Quebec Zone
Tex Noble Professional Development Award
Winner: Anne Rogerson
Whether it’s by organizing Home and Home women’s events for clubs around Quebec, working with her many students to help them excel, mentoring other staff at Hillsdale, continuously learning through educational opportunities or volunteering her time and sharing her ideas on the PGA of Quebec Board of Directors, Anne Rogerson excels in everything she does, and does so with a smile and kindness that is infectious.
Though she has only been at Hillsdale Golf Club for a year, the members already refer to her as “our Anne” because of her tireless work throughout the season and her constant positive energy. Her mantra is “get 1% better every single day and never stop learning”, which she has demonstrated throughout her entire career and continued through the 2021 season.
Rogerson is known by her peers as responsible, organized and dedicated, with a business sense and a straightforwardness that is appreciated by all. Entrusted with the development of a beginner program, she thrived and the renewal rate for next season is 95%. Her tangible presence among the leaders of our industry shows her constant desire to grow the game of golf collectively. Her extensive knowledge is noticeable, and her ideas are always genuine and administratively logical. Although her resume already testifies to her vastly sharpened business skills, it is her emotional intelligence that stands out the most.
Dennis Bradley, Copper Point Golf Club, British Columbia Zone Tyler Cameron, Credit Valley Golf & Country Club, Ontario Zone Anne Rogerson, Hillsdale Golf Inc., Quebec Zone Chris Ward, Edmonton Petroleum Golf & C.C., Alberta Zone
Stan Leonard Class “A” Professional of the Year
Winner: Stephanie Lam
Through her leadership, values and work effort, Stephanie Lam’s professionalism has rubbed off on everyone around her at The Pulpit Club. Lam excels in all aspects as a golf professional, in particular her outstanding service to customers, her eye for detail and her ability to lead by example and mentorship. Those who have been around her have greatly benefitted from her leadership and many have advanced their own careers thanks to her. Lam works to make the industry better through collaboration and an inclusive mindset.
Despite a heavy workload, she still finds time to teach students from the Pulpit Club, and her former club, Beacon Hall, and she approaches each lesson with an outstanding amount of preparation. In addition, she was central to the success of multiple philanthropic events – the Southlake Regional Health Center Golf Tournament and a local Soldier On golf event for veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces. The dedication Lam brings to the sport and the Pulpit Club make her the deserving recipient of the Stan Leonard Class “A” Professional of the Year award.
Shawn Banfield, Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club Ltd., Ottawa Zone Travis Carr, Belvedere Golf Club Inc., Atlantic Zone Brent Eikelenboom, The Legends Golf Club, Saskatchewan Zone Jeremy Gallant, St. Charles Country Club, Manitoba Zone Stephanie Lam, The Pulpit Club – Pulpit, Ontario Zone Alexandre Ouellette, Club De Golf Le Blainvillier, Quebec Zone Gord Scutt, Victoria Golf Club, British Columbia Zone Chris Ward, Edmonton Petroleum Golf & C.C., Alberta Zone
George Knudson Teacher of the Year
Winner: Tim Wilson
Since joining Shaughnessy in 2017, Wilson has increased his lesson revenue each year and has helped the club increase their lesson revenue in total by 30% in 2021. In addition to Wilson’s work at the club, he is the swing coach for both the UBC men’s and women’s golf teams, and St George’s Academy team.
Wilson worked with over 150 different players in 2021, including the club’s men’s, women’s and junior club champions, the men’s club captain and the runner-up at the 2021 BC Men’s Amateur Championship. Wilson also pitches in 24-30 hours per week in the golf shop, supporting the golf professionals and the active membership at Shaughnessy.
After being named Lead Teaching Professional this past season, Wilson took it upon himself to create a welcoming lineup of instruction and courses after being unable to due to Covid in 2020. In total, Wilson created seven new programs and camps for members at the club, in addition to his regularly scheduled lessons.
Josh Fleming, GOLFTEC (Calgary Beacon Heights), Alberta Zone Derrik Goodwin, St. Charles Country Club in 2021, Manitoba Zone Patricia Jonas, Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, Saskatchewan Zone Derek MacDonald, Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Ottawa Zone Jeff MacDonald, Ashburn Golf Club, Atlantic Zone Sylvie Schetagne, Golf-Tonus PTMT, Quebec Zone Casey Ward, Credit Valley Golf & Country Club, Ontario Zone Tim Wilson, Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, British Columbia Zone
Mike Weir Male Player of the Year
Winner: Mike Flemming
Fleming managed to pick up what he called “the biggest win of (my) career” this past summer at the BetRegal PGA Championship of Canada – and he did it in record breaking fashion. In the history of the event, won in the past by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Moe Norman and Lee Trevino, nobody has gone as low as Fleming, who shot 66-63-68-66 to win by three strokes at Parcours du Vieux Village in Bromont, Quebec.
In addition, Fleming managed to battle back from an opening round 74 at the PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada with rounds of 66 and 69 to place in a tie for third.
A month before his triumph at the National Championship, Fleming won the PGA of Alberta’s Cobra Puma Golf Assistants’ Championship in a playoff over Grant Numrich, firing 64-71 at the two-day event.
Marc-Etienne Bussieres, Golf et Académie Longchamp, Quebec Zone Riley Fleming, Lynx Ridge Golf Club, Alberta Zone Danny King, The Performance Academy at Magna, Ontario Zone Alan McLean, Echo Valley Golf Club, Ontario Zone Kevin Stinson, Cheam Mountain Golf Course, British Columbia Zone
Jack McLaughlin Junior Leader of the Year
Winner: Chris Dickenson
Chris Dickenson, the Head Teaching Professional at the Ontario Golf Academy at Whistle Bear Golf Club, has done a tremendous job growing the game for juniors at the club, both at the grassroots level and for competitive players at the club. In total, over 450 juniors were put through various programming in 2021, including a girls and boys club, a “Toonie Tuesday” junior league (Dickenson worked with the club to secure 10 tee times every Tuesday morning during the summer for the juniors) and a competitive players team. Dickenson coached the competitive players to 47 wins at various tournaments throughout the country in 2021.
In addition, Dickenson was imperative in the creation of the Michael Gligic Scholarship, with support from Titleist and Levelwear, which provided the recipient with a golf membership, as well as a year-long coaching package, clothing, and golf clubs. Dickenson also helped many of the juniors who were feeling down during the pandemic with a “Let Us Play” campaign and helped them send over 250 letters to members of parliament, paving the way for the re-opening of golf in the province last Spring.
Elizabeth Asselin, Club De Golf Royal Quebec, Quebec Zone Travis Carr, Belvedere Golf Club Inc., Atlantic Zone Chris Dickenson, The Ontario Golf Academy, Ontario Zone Derrik Goodwin, St. Charles Country Club in 2021, Manitoba Zone Paul Schatz, Joanne Goulet Golf Course, Saskatchewan Zone Dale Trafford, Canadian Golf & Country Club, Ottawa Zone Stephanie Wong, Point Grey Golf & Country Club, British Columbia Zone Stephen Yanitski, Valley Ridge Golf Club, Alberta Zone
Warren Crosbie Community Leader of the Year
Winner: Todd Keirstead
Todd Keirstead has dedicated his life to philanthropic purposes. To Keirstead, golf is more than a game, golf has the power to open the mind to what is possible. Formerly a successful trick shot artist who has helped raise millions of dollars for numerous charities and beneficiaries in his career, Keirstead now works steadfast with ParaGolf Canada, an organization he founded that empowers, challenges and inspires individuals to strive to achieve their own goals and live life to the fullest regardless of their disability.
Keirstead currently serves on multiple boards and has spoken to various organizations on the importance of the involvement of individuals of all abilities to the game of golf. ParaGolf Canada serves individuals with physical disabilities and sensory disabilities, including vision impairment, plus those with spinal cord injuries, wounded veterans and first responders. Keirstead looks to continue making positive change in the golf industry, striving to make the game more inclusive every day.
Michael Feyko, Soldier On Canada, Atlantic Zone Todd Keirstead, Paragolf Canada, Ontario Zone Naixin Li, So Golf Academy, Ontario Zone Jacklynn Miller, South Muskoka Curling and Golf Club, Ontario Zone James Steep, Southwood Golf & Country Club, Manitoba Zone
Dick Munn Executive Professional of the Year
Winner: Alan Scott
Alan Scott lends his expertise to all 10 of Lakeland Golf Management’s facilities and is heavily involved in the management of its five Manitoba Courses. In the past, Scott has served on the Board of Directors for both the PGA of Canada, which he was president of in 2004 and 2005, and the Manitoba Zone, which he was president of in 1995 and 1996. Scott leads by example and is well respected by not only the golf professionals and departments heads at Lakeland, but professionals throughout the zone and country. Scott encourages everyone to come in and discuss anything, including suggestions that may improve the overall operation of the business.
Scott’s passion for junior golf has always burned bright. Scott played a large role in the creation of the “Future Links” junior program and the courses he oversees take part in the NGCOA’s “Kids Play Free” program. Scott’s hard work and professionalism led to his induction into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame in 2018.
Chris Barber, The Landings Golf Course and Teaching Centre, Ottawa Zone Adam Chamberlain, Gowan Brae Golf Club, Atlantic Zone Patrick Coli, Carnmoney Golf Club, Alberta Zone Russ Latimer, Black Mountain Golf Club, British Columbia Zone Chris Neale, Summit Golf & Country Club, Ontario Zone Andre Raymond, Club de Golf La Tempete, Quebec Zone Alan Scott, Lakeland Group of Companies – Falcon Lake Golf Course, Manitoba Zone McLaren Taylor, Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, Saskatchewan Zone
Pat Fletcher Retailer of the Year
Winner: Dennis Firth
For the first time in its 147-year history, Royal Montreal transitioned to a club-owned merchandise concession starting with the 2020 golf season. The shift in business philosophy has resulted in a rewarding and highly successful partnership between the golf club and its professional staff. The member shopping experience was elevated while also engaging and retaining shop employees.
Prior to last season, Firth built out a full 12-month marketing campaign to empower and engage the team at Royal Montreal during the busy summer months. Because the club has 45 holes and 50 staff members, including nine PGA of Canada professionals, much of the day-to-day goes toward member services, so this plan was imperative to the merchandising success of the club in 2021.
Daily and weekly checklists were created for the shop. Everything from uniform schedule to proper spacing of the hangers was considered to provide an exceptional retail environment for members. Inventory was also changed out four times, exceeding their goal of three, in 2021, to account for a spring, summer, fall and holiday season.
The dedication that Firth and the entire staff at Royal Montreal demonstrated to make these changeovers happen in the shop was exemplary – with everything from displays to a “feature wall” being taken care of with exceptional attention to detail. This was key to the club having their most successful retail season ever, registering a gross revenue increase of 48% compared to 2020 and 94% from 2019, making Firth a worthy recipient of the Pat Fletcher Retailer of the Year Award.
Rob Anderson, Kelowna Golf & Country Club, British Columbia Zone Kyle Corriveau, Fort McMurray Golf Club, Alberta Zone Kris Ehnes, Breezy Bend Country Club, Manitoba Zone Dennis Firth, The Royal Montreal Golf Club, Quebec Zone Brennen Gee, Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, Saskatchewan Zone Bryan Mackasey, Summit Golf & Country Club, Ontario Zone Danielle Nadon, Loch March Golf Club, Ottawa Zone Chad Townsend, Gowan Brae Golf Club, Atlantic Zone
Brooke Henderson Female Player of the Year
Winner: Christine Wong
Christine Wong dominated the field this year at the DCM PGA Women’s Championship of Canada, shooting 70-69, winning by five strokes to claim the newly named Lorie Kane Trophy. Just a few short weeks later, she competed in the PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada, making the cut, and placing in a tie for 32nd.
The tremendous performance on the course came after she took a two-year hiatus from golf following a year on the Symetra Tour.
“I found a new outlook in life that helped me as an individual – balance. I learned that I needed balance in my life, and I was going to find out how,” says Wong. “I would have never found this balance if I didn’t take a step back from the game. It was suddenly one day, I thought to myself, I think I want to get back into golf.”
Wong fully committed to teaching and playing in July of this past year, and the balance has paid off for her in her life. Wong is more than worthy of being the inaugural recipient of the Brooke Henderson Female Player of the Year Award.
Emma de Groot, Modern Golf (Oakville), Ontario Zone Katy Rutherford, Silver Springs Golf & Country Club, Alberta Zone Grace St-Germain, Cedar Brae Golf Club, Ontario Zone Casey Ward, Credit Valley Golf & Country Club, Ontario Zone Christine Wong, University Golf Club, British Columbia Zone
Murray Tucker Golf Professional of the Year
Winner: Danielle Nadon
In 11 years as the Head Professional at Loch March, Danielle Nadon has done a fantastic job improving the club’s visibility through creativity and work ethic, proven by the number of rounds played per year increasing from 10,000 to 26,000 in her time at the club.
Just this past year, Nadon launched a “Girls Night Out” class, which included four one-hour lessons, four glasses of wine and two nine hole playing passes per person – the initiative turned out to be an incredible success, with 119 registrants.
In addition to her 12-years spent on the Ottawa Board of Directors, two of those years spent as President, Nadon spends much of her time giving back to the community. At the local YMCA, Nadon has given kids free lessons as part of their “Tee it up For Kids” program. Nadon also helped in establishing the Jeanne Fuller Red Dress event in the community, which raises funds in support of the Ottawa Heart Institute. The event has raised $1.5 million in its 13-year history.
Mentored by the likes of Ray Haines, Richard McBrearty and Murray Tucker himself, Nadon lives by their mantra: “persevere and always try, never say no.” She now mentors those around her, inspiring young men and women to pursue their career by spending time with them, teaching them, giving them responsibilities, showing them great work ethic and rewarding them for their achievements.
James Chapman, Glendale Country Club, Manitoba Zone Marc Hurtubise, Club de golf le Parcours du Vieux Village, Quebec Zone Jeremy Johnson, British Columbia Zone Phil Kavanagh, Islington Golf Club, Ontario Zone Jamie Moran, Belvedere Golf Club Inc., Atlantic Zone Danielle Nadon, Loch March Golf Club, Ottawa Zone Chris Schatzmann, Stewart Creek Golf Resort, Alberta Zone
George Cumming Distinguish Service
One of the most revered and recognized female golfers in Canada and around the world, Marlene Stewart Streit personifies the dedication and determination of Canadian golfers. Streit is the only player to have won the Canadian, U.S., British and Australian Amateur Championships. She is an inspiration to many of Canada’s top young female amateur golfers.
In total, Marlene has won 30 national or international amateur championships, with at least one championship in six different decades between 1951-2003.
In addition to her unmatched playing pedigree, Streit went on to establish the Marlene Streit Awards Fund to support promising young golfers, and in 2004, she became Canada’s first member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Streit is also a Member of the Order of Canada, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Streit is also one of seven PGA of Canada Honorary Life Members.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Harry is a respected long-standing member of the PGA of Canada, current President of the NGCOA, Past PGA of Canada President (1993-1994), Past PGA of Manitoba Zone President (1985-1986), and has earned the PGA of Canada Master Professional designation (2003).
Harry is the President and sole owner of Lakeland Golf Management Inc. which operates 5 golf courses in Manitoba, 4 facilities in Saskatchewan, and recently added a golf course in Alberta.
Warren is a respected 50-year member of the PGA of Canada, Past PGA of Canada President, worked as head professional at Bayview Golf & Country Club for 33 years, and is an extremely involved PGA of Canada Member at both the National & Zone Levels.
Though currently retired, he remains actively involved in several association affairs and is widely regarded as a benevolent and visionary leader. He was also inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame (Builder category) in 2018 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the game.
Gar’s amateur and professional achievements span much of his lifetime. He has excelled in provincial, national and international play throughout his career. His most coveted wins were his four PGA of Canada Club Professional Championships (1997, 1992, 1990 & 1987) against his Canadian peers, qualifying him as one of the very best playing club professionals in Canada. He also triumphed by winning the 2002 PGA of Canada Seniors Championship and the Super Senior Championship in both 2014 & 2017.
Possibly his greatest achievements have come as Director of Golf at Mississauga Golf and Country Club – for 23 years he has directed all aspects of the Club. Gar is an excellent teacher to his members and tutored many young professionals. Gar was able to serve in his capacity as Director of Golf while still maintaining his own game at the highest level.
Stanley Horne (posthumous)
Stan was considered by many as a pioneer in the world of golf in Canada and Quebec. He was an exceptional player, with a unique talent who played in both PGA of Canada and PGA TOUR events, winning three successive PGA of Canada Championships (1936, 1937 and 1938) and finishing as runner-up in 1939 and 1941. He also claimed the 1962 PGA of Canada Seniors Championship. In addition, he also received two invitations to play the Masters – with his best finish in the form of a 15th place showing in 1938.
Don’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Whether it was his five PGA of Alberta Club Professional of the Year awards in a row, (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980) the PGA of Canada Club Professional of the Year (1983), or the two PGA of Alberta’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. Countless hours of Association work on behalf of both the PGA of Alberta and PGA of Canada were done with the sole intent of advancing the standing and reputations of both in the community.
Don was the President of the PGA of Alberta from 1976 to 1980 and was a very involved PGA of Alberta Advisor who mentored many professionals from 1989 to his retirement in 1998.
Jim has been successful throughout his entire lengthy career, from his win at the Canadian Juvenile Championship to his time on the PGA Tour Champions. In between, he has taken his talents to the four corners of the world, eschewing the traditional path of staying in North America. He has also represented Canada on numerous occasions in both the World Cup and the Dunhill Cup.
Jim has been a long time Tournament Professional with the PGA of Canada, winning the PGA of Canada Seniors Championship 6 times (2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2012 & 2010), and he also won the PGA of Canada Championship in 1984.
Nicol Thompson (posthumous)
From 1923 to 1926, he served as the President of the PGA of Canada. Nicol won the PGA of Canada Championship in 1922 and was runner up in both 1919 and 1924. He also finished tied for second in the 1913 Canadian Open. In the 1930 Canadian Open, he led after two rounds, but was eventually defeated by Tommy Armour.
Nicol Thompson was the older brother of Stanley Thompson, who is credited with being Canada’s greatest golf course architect. When Stanley Thompson returned from the First World War, he created a design firm alongside Nicol and George Cumming.
Nicol is credited with designing much of Brantford, the original nine holes at Owen Sound, nine holes at Royal Muskoka, the original layout at Summit, the Windermere club (along with Cumming) and nine holes at Midland. He also worked with Stanley on both courses at Chedoke in Hamilton. Following his retirement from Hamilton G&CC, he worked with Stanley at Whirlpool, Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls, where he became that club’s first Pro/manager.
Click here for more information on the PGA of Canada Hall of Fame.
Matt & Steve’s becomes Official Caesar Partner of Golf Canada for the CP Women’s Open & RBC Canadian Open
Golf Canada and Matt & Steve’s have announced a multi-year integrated partnership that will see Matt & Steve’s become the Official Caesar Partner of Canada’s National Open Golf Championships—the CP Women’s Open and the RBC Canadian Open.
Through the partnership, Matt & Steve’s will offer a selection of their popular ready to drink Caesars, Extreme Beans, and pickled garnish products at Golf Canada’s two signature championships beginning in 2022. Spectators at the RBC Canadian Open will also enjoy Matt & Steve’s Canadian Caesar Deck as an exciting addition to the Recipe Unlimited Fare Way food and beverage experience.
“We are thrilled to partner with Matt & Steve’s to deliver their innovative portfolio of Caesar products to the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open,” said John Sibley, Chief Commercial Officer of Golf Canada. “We look forward to building out a summertime atmosphere and integrating Matt & Steve’s premium Canadian blend of flavorful products into the social and hospitality experience of our two flagship properties.”
Founded in 2000, Matt & Steve’s is a fast-growing and leading-edge food and beverage company based in Mississauga, Ont. First established with only two employees and one product, the Extreme Bean, Matt & Steve’s has grown to support thousands of clients and numerous products within the retail, foodservice and beverage alcohol sectors throughout North America.
“We are very proud to be partnering with Golf Canada in the support of Canadian golf, the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open,” said Steve McVicker, Partner and Co-founder of Matt & Steve’s. “At Matt & Steve’s we believe in creating products that celebrate the social and fun parts of life, and we are extremely excited to share our brand experience with Canadian golfers both on and off the course.
The 2022 RBC Canadian Open will be held June 6-12 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ont., with the CP Women’s Open being contested August 22-28 at Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ottawa, Ont.
LPGA has new sponsor, big commitment for developmental tour
(From left) Epson VP Kevin Garton and VP Kendra Jones; LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan; Epson President and CEO Keith Kratzberg; Epson VP Dan Murphy
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – The LPGA Tour has a new title sponsor for its developmental tour that will boost prize money, award $10,000 to each of the leading 10 players that graduate to the LPGA Tour and seek to eventually cut entry fees in half.
Epson America has a five-year deal with the LPGA Tour that runs through 2026.
The newly named Epson Tour, which is set to begin the first week of March in Florida, will announce its schedule in a few weeks.
“This ground-breaking partnership will provide expanded opportunities for the future stars of the game from around the globe to test their talent and take one step closer to realizing their dreams,” LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said.
The developmental tour enters its 42nd year of structured competition, and it has produced such future stars as Karrie Webb, Lorena Ochoa, Inbee Park and Nelly Korda. Nine players who started on the tour accounted for 12 victories last season on the LPGA Tour.
The LPGA’s deal with Symetra expired last year.
Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., a global technology company, is the parent company of Epson America, based in California.
More than being the title sponsor of the main circuit that leads to the LPGA Tour, it will start the Epson Tour Ambassador Program, giving $10,000 to the 10 leading players to provide a financial boost as they start on the LPGA Tour.
The standard tournament prize money will be $200,000, another increase.
The commitment is believed to be roughly three times greater than the previous season.
The deal also includes Epson contributing money to lower entry fees by 10% each tournament for every player, which would amount to as much as a $1,000 savings for each player.
And through the Epson Tour DEI Partnership, the company and the LPGA are challenging at least four companies to join them by working to cut entry fees from $500 to $250. Participating companies would receive Pro-Am spots and advertising at every Epson Tour event.
“We don’t only want to put our name on the Epson Tour. We want to find ways to invest in players chasing their dream of the LPGA Tour and support them once that dream becomes a reality,” said Kendra Jones, Epson America’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.
Below is a list of how Canadian golfers fared across the major professional tours the week prior.
Hudson Swafford sank an eight footer for eagle on the par-5 16th to break a tie atop the leaderboard on his way to winning The American Express for the second time in five years. Tom Hoge, looking for his first win in his 201st start, finished two shots back. Francesco Molinari, playing for the first time in two months and tied for the lead with two holes to play, bogeyed the final hole to finish four shots behind. …Roger Sloan notched his first top-15 result since last October. …Since missing the cut in the first event of the new season Adam Hadwin has made six consecutive weekend cuts …Nick Taylor equalled his best result of the new season
NEXT EVENT: Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 26)
CANADIANS ENTERED: Corey Conners, Michael Gligic, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Taylor Pendrith, Adam Svensson, Nick Taylor
Danielle Kang shot a final round 68 for a three-shot victory over Brooke Henderson in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the opening event of the LPGA season. Henderson did not make a bogey over the final two rounds but could only manage two birdies in the final round Sunday. It’s the fifth straight time she has started the year with a top-10 result and marked her best finish in four Tournament of Champions appearances. Kang was the lone player to break 70 on the weekend, and the only player to shoot in the 60s all four rounds. Nelly Korda, the 54-hole leader and No. 1 ranked player in the world, closed with a 75 to finish in a tie for fourth.
Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied the final hole to force a playoff, then beat Steven Alker with a par on the second extra hole to win the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Alker missed a birdie putt on the first playoff for the win, and then failed to save par from a bunker on the second playoff hole. Stephen Ames finished tied for third, one stroke out of the playoff. Ames started the round tied for first – the fifth time in his Champions Tour career he has led or co-led heading into the final round. …Mike Weir notched his third top-20 result in his last five starts
NEXT EVENT: Chubb Classic (Feb. 18)
CANADIANS ENTERED: TBA
Thomas Pieters had 16 pars for a final round 72 and a one stroke win over Rafa Cabrera Bello and Shubhankar Sharma in the Abu Dhabi Championship. It was his sixth career win on the European Tour. Viktor Hovland, going for his third win in his last four starts, finished two shots back. Rory McIlroy had moved to within two shot of the lead but carded three bogeys over his last five holes to finish in a tie for 12th. There were no Canadians entered in the event.
NEXT EVENT: Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic (Jan. 27)
Canada’s Brooke Henderson finishes 2nd at LPGA opener with bogey free final round
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: Brooke Henderson of Canada plays her shot from the sixth tee during the final round of the 2022 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club on January 23, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, Fla. – A bogey-free final round saw Canada’s Brooke Henderson finish second at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Sunday.
Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished three strokes behind winner Danielle Kang of the U.S. – the best finish for the Canadian across her four Tournament of Champions appearances.
Despite her 60th bogey-free round since 2016 _ and second in as many days – Henderson managed just two birdies on a blustery, cool day at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club. She also missed a few putts where she was forced to settle for par.
“Wasn’t really the day I was looking for,” Henderson said. “At the same time, you grind it out pretty well, and was happy to make two birdies. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. Still proud of how we played out there today in those tough conditions.
Henderson opened the tournament with a 69 on Thursday. She followed that up with back-to-back rounds of 68 on Friday and Saturday. The Canadian was two strokes back going into Sunday’s final round.
She finished at 13-under 275.
“For the most part, I think I did a lot of things really well,” she said. “It was nice to get up and down as many times as I did, and even a couple of times when I hit the green, I made long putts. It was nice to go bogey-free the last two days.
“I would’ve liked to make a few more birdies, make a little bit more of a charge, but at the end of the day, I can’t complain too much. If you had told me at the beginning of the week I would be in the Top 5, I would be very happy.”
Kang ran off five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of her round, posted the low score Sunday at 4-under 68 and sprinted away to a three-shot victory.
Kang, who was winless in 2021 after having won in each of her previous four LPGA seasons, finished at 16 under.
The 29-year-old American now has six LPGA titles.
“My mental game was really good,” said Kang. “I had a really good attitude all day today and yesterday. I know I left some putts out there, but I never let it get to me, and I kept having to give myself birdie chances as much as possible.”
Born January 21, 1940, Jack Nicklaus’ accomplishments on the golf course can only be rivaled by his achievements in golf course design.
On the PGA TOUR, Nicklaus led the money list eight times, twice while playing only 16 events. Between 1962 and 1979, he finished in the top 10 in 243 of the 357 official events he played in, a rate of 68 percent.
A strong supporter of the Canadian Open throughout his career, Nicklaus took on the challenge of designing Glen Abbey as a permanent site for the Canadian Open. His first solo design, Nicklaus brought years of on-course experience at tough golf courses and designed a layout that was tough on the professionals, yet enjoyable for the average golfer.
Nicklaus, was inducted to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in the builder category in 1995.
The success of the golf course he created and his support of the Canadian Open have assured the strength of golf in Canada for years to come.
Team Canada’s Savannah Grewal to play Augusta Women’s Amateur
Lara Kuipers/ Golf Canada
Top-ranked Canadian amateur Savannah Grewal has been invited to compete against the world’s best at the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur from March 30 – April 2.
“It means a ton to me,” said Grewal on being invited. “Being a female and being able to play at Augusta National is huge just because they didn’t let women play there for so long. And especially being able to play in a tournament against some of the top amateurs in the world is unreal.”
An international field is set to compete over 54 holes of stroke play with a cut following the first two rounds. The opening 36 holes will be contested over two days on the Island and Bluff nines at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. The entire field will then play Augusta National for an official practice round Friday, April 1, followed by the final round featuring the top 30 competitors who made the cut.
Grewal, 20, is currently ranked No. 154 on the WAGR and plays for Clemson University in South Carolina.
While she was first introduced to golf through a camp when she was six, the Mississauga, Ont., product says it wasn’t until a few years later – after occasionally going to the course with her parents – that she decided she wanted to take up the sport competitively.
By the time she was 16 years old, Grewal knew Clemson was where she wanted to go following high school. While on an unofficial visit that happened to be during the football team’s spring scrimmage, Grewal fell in love with the South Carolina school.
“I told my grandfather – because he was with me – and I told him right after we were done visiting that this is where I want to go to school,” Grewal said. “The coaches were amazing, the facilities were amazing, but for me the most important thing was they had that family atmosphere to it.”
Grewal has since become the first player in Clemson history to record a hole-in-one on March 27, 2021 during the second round of the Clemson Invitational which she would go on to finish third at and she’s the first ever Canadian to sign with the Clemson Tigers women’s golf team.
The inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, played at Augusta National Golf Club, was held in 2019 and was won by 2017 Canadian Women’s Amateur Champion Jennifer Kupcho.
After being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the event returned the following year where 17-year-old Tsubasa Kajitani won the second installment of the event in a playoff over Emilia Migliaccio.
Brigitte Thibault of Rosemère, Que., is the only Canadian to have previously played in the event, playing in both previous installments.
While it’ll be Grewal’s first time playing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, it won’t be her first trip to the coveted golf course. Back in April 2017, at the annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals held at Augusta, Grewal won the Girls 14-15 age division.
“To be able to go back and be back on the grounds of Augusta National is huge because it’s the biggest golf course basically – the most popular one in golf – so, it’s super exciting and it just means a ton to be invited,” said Grewal, who was able to do the putting portion of the event in 2017 on the 18th green at Augusta.
Live broadcast of the final round from the third annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur will kick off at 12 p.m. ET on April 2.
PGA of Canada and Golf Canada announce 2022 Women in Coaching participants
PGA of Canada
Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada are excited to announce the names of eight talented coaches who will receive critical education to advance their careers as top golf coaches in the country.
The eight successful applicants will receive in-depth career development focusing on four main areas: individualized learning plans, virtual and in-person coaching education, hands-on training experience with coaches and top players, and new for 2022, integration with the PGA of Canada mentorship program.
Launched in 2021, the Women in Coaching program aims to strike a stronger gender balance with high-performance coaches to better reflect the Canadian golf community.
“Increasing the number of female mentors and role models is imperative to the future of golf in Canada and is a priority for the governing bodies of golf in the country,” said Emily Phoenix, Manager, High Performance Sport with Golf Canada. “After seeing the success of the program in 2021 and how impactful it was for the participants, we are excited to build on the momentum and continue mentoring this generation of coaches while building a foundation for the future.”
“All of us at the PGA of Canada were thrilled to hear the positive feedback from participants last winter as we debuted the Women in Coaching program alongside our friends at Golf Canada,” said PGA of Canada Technical Director Glenn Cundari. “We are excited to give these eight coaches the opportunity to learn first-hand from industry leaders to help enhance their knowledge and skill-sets.”
Application information was posted publicly on Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada’s websites, where applications were accepted from November 22 to December 6.
25 applications were received, and eight PGA of Canada members were selected based on prior coaching experience and current coaching or volunteer coaching positions. Past competitive playing experience was also considered an asset.
The eight chosen participants include:
Alison Timlin – Ottawa, Ontario
Timlin, who held partial status on the Symetra Tour for three years after graduating from Fresno State University, is currently an Associate Professional at the Kevin Haime Golf School, as well as the Associate Head Coach of the Carleton University Men’s and Women’s Varsity golf teams.
Alyssa Getty – Kingsville, Ontario
A former member of the University of Nevada Las Vegas golf team as well as the University of Windsor Golf team where she claimed the OUA individual championship in 2019, Getty is currently a Development Coach at the Ontario Golf Academy at Whistle Bear Golf Club.
Carrie Vaughan – Rothesay, New Brunswick
Vaughan, who claimed the 2016 PGA of Ontario Women’s Championship, spent three years on the Symetra Tour and 10 years on the Canadian Tour prior to founding and becoming the Head Coach of girls only programming at Glen Abbey Academy. Vaughan is currently the Head Professional at the Riverside Country Club.
Christine Wong – Vancouver, British Columbia
Wong, who is currently the Head Teaching Professional at Christine Wong Golf and the Head Coach of both the Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams at Langara College, had a tremendous year on the course in 2021, winning both the DCM PGA Women’s Championship of Canada and the Glencoe Women’s Invitational. Wong was a member of Golf Canada’s National Team program from 2010-2013.
Jennifer Ha – Calgary, Alberta
The former Team Canada member for eight years between 2012-2019 was an LPGA Tour member in 2017 and a Symetra Tour member in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Prior to turning professional, Ha won five NCAA events as a member of Kent State University, where she was a three-time conference player of the year. Ha is currently an Assistant Professional at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club.
Keri Moffat – Vancouver, British Columbia
A two-time PGA of BC Coach of the Year Award Recipient (2011 & 2019), Moffat spent time as the BC Golf Provincial Coach and as a teaching professional at The Bluffs Golf Club and Westwood Plateau Golf Academy. Moffat currently serves as the Director of Instruction at Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club and is also the Women’s Assistant Coach for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
Lindsay Manion – Surrey, British Columbia
A former member of the UBC Thunderbirds, Manion now operates Lindsay Manion Performance Coaching at Northview Golf & Country Club and provides performance training consulting for the Simon Fraser University golf teams, a service she also provided for the University of British Columbia varsity golf teams in the past. In addition, Manion has also served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Tour Performance LAB, the Robert Bateman Golf Academy, the Sardis Golf Academy and the Delta Golf Academy.
Marie-Pierre Bernier – Levis, Quebec
A former member of the Rollins University Women’s Golf Team where she picked up one individual NCAA win as well as the 2006 Quebec Amateur champion, Bernier is currently the Assistant Professional at Golf La Tempête and the founder of MP Golf.
Titleist introduces the third generation of its AVX golf ball, improving upon short game spin and control, increasing driver distance, and providing even softer feel. The original AVX was engineered by Titleist in 2018 as a performance alternative to its flagship Pro V1 and Pro V1x by offering the lowest flight, lowest spin and softest feel of the three premium offerings. The new AVX reflects further advancements in the brand’s industry-leading multi-component technology with additional breakthrough results for golfers who prioritize distance and extremely soft feel in a urethane covered golf ball.
“Flight, Spin, and Feel are three key performance attributes we evaluate during our green-to-tee fittings and golf ball selection,” said Frederick Waddell, Director of Golf Ball Product Management, Titleist. “AVX provides a low flight, low spin, exceptionally soft feel alternative to Pro V1 and Pro V1x. With these three golf balls, plus Pro V1x Left Dash, every golfer that prioritizes performance can find a precise fit for their game.”
“With new AVX, we focused on what AVX golfers are asking for: improving upon the already incredible distance and feel that golfers love, while enhancing greenside spin,” added Waddell. “We achieved this by softening the urethane cover to achieve greater short game performance, while adding a new core formulation for speed, and new aerodynamics for flight stability and more distance.”
AVX is a premium, technologically advanced golf ball, and the golfers who play it choose AVX because it gives their specific game a performance advantage.
“All components of a golf ball are connected when it comes to performance,” said Mike Madson, Director of Aerodynamics and Research Engineering, Titleist. “When we set out to increase distance and enhance greenside spin, we looked at every layer of the golf ball for improvements. New AVX includes improvements to the core formulation, cover and aerodynamics. The dimple pattern is an area of constant innovation. We continuously design and test new dimple configurations so we can match an aerodynamic pattern specific to the golf ball construction. With AVX, the 348 catenary dimple pattern is optimized specifically for the low flight window of AVX to produce maximum distance.”
The AVX is offered in both white and optic yellow, available in golf shops worldwide starting on Feb. 4, 2022.
With a new year comes a new group of players on the LPGA Tour, and 2022 will be no different.
While 10-time LPGA Tour winner Brooke Henderson will no doubt continue to push the envelope for Canadian golf, there’s some new and familiar faces ready to join the Smiths Falls, Ont., native on the 2022 schedule, which includes the return of the CP Women’s Open at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club from Aug. 22-28.
Veteran Alena Sharp will carry Symetra Tour status. She’ll have the opportunity to play LPGA events through sponsor exemptions and Monday qualifiers.
The first Canadian to be promoted from the Symetra Tour (the LPGA’s feeder tour) last year was Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que. Leblanc first played on the LPGA Tour a decade ago, after earning her card through the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in 2011. But by late 2019, the then 30-year-old announced her retirement from professional golf.
But just under a year after playing in her last professional golf tournament on the Symetra Tour, Leblanc returned in September 2020 with the IOA Golf Classic, and followed it up with four other events that calendar year.
The following season in 2021 proved to be one of her best seasons to date with nine top-10 finishes, including three as the runner up. Leblanc, now 32, finished sixth on the Symetra Tour money list, granting her an LPGA Tour card for this upcoming season.
She’s not the only Canadian making the step up to the LPGA Tour this year.
Long-standing Team Canada member Maddie Szeryk will be playing on the LPGA Tour this season after finishing tied for 35th at the 2021 LPGA Q-Series in December of 2021.
Szeryk, 25, spent the past three years on the Symetra Tour after playing for Texas A&M University where she set multiple records including the NCAA career record of 91 rounds of par or better, and the SEC record with 32 career top-10 finishes. The NCAA standout also set multiple school records including stroke average, birdies, and eagles.
Although Szeryk is making her appearance on golf’s mainstage for the first time, she’s no new face to Canadian golf, having been a part of the National Women’s Amateur Squad for four consecutive years up until 2018 and then the Young Pro Squad in 2019.
Before her successful amateur career Szeryk made her mark on the junior circuit. In 2013, as a 17-year-old, Szeryk was crowned the Canadian Junior Girls Champion, winning by an impressive 14 strokes over the defending champion—now world No. 10 ranked golfer, Henderson.
Other Canadian names to expect on the LPGA Tour in the coming years include Calgary’s Jaclyn Lee who played in 11 events on the LPGA Tour’s schedule in 2021 and 13 in 2019. The 24-year-old has been playing professionally since 2019 and split last season between the LPGA and Symetra tours. Lee was a member of the National Junior, Amateur, and Young Pro Squads throughout the past decade.
While there are plenty of Canadians who are climbing up the ladder of professional golf for the first time, Leblanc isn’t the only Canadian golfer who’s been making a second go-around of the professional tours.
Toronto native Rebecca Lee-Bentham recently made her own return to professional golf after briefly retiring in 2016. Last year marked her first full season back to professional golf and she went on to finish at No. 88 on the Symetra Tour’s money list.
A common denominator throughout all the players to watch this season, Lee-Bentham too shared an impressive junior and amateur career in Canada prior to turning professional. She most notably won the 2011 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in a playoff.
Also of note is 23-year-old Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., who narrowly missed out on securing LPGA Tour Cards at the final round of the Q-Series, but received Symetra Tour status as a result.
The 2022 LPGA Tour schedule is set to begin Jan. 20 at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando, Fla., with the Tournament of Champions.