On Monday, September 11th, Saugeen Golf Club held a launch announcing that it would be hosting the prestigious Canadian Amateur Senior Men’s Golf Championship in 2024 in partnership with BDO.
Brad Young, General Manager of the Club said that the tournament comes to Ontario through Golf Canada every seven to eight years and, that with thousands of golf courses in the province, it was a coups for Saugeen Golf Club to be selected.
“When we hosted the Ontario Junior Championships in 2020 led by Ken Dunlop, Golf Canada attended and was very impressed with the course and the volunteers. The final choice involved three courses and we came out on top,” said Young.
The tournament is a world-class event that attracts top golfers 55 years of age and older from across Canada and beyond. The Championship was held in Pemberton this year and, in addition to Canadian golfers, there were 20 from the U.S. and two from Europe. The tournament will also be part of the celebrations as the Club heads into its 100th anniversary in 2025.”
What began as a nine-hole golf course in 1925, Saugeen now boasts a 27-hole course divided into three sections – Legacy, Sunrise and Sunset with more than 600 members. Governed by a Board of Directors, the not-for-profit Club opened to the public in 1995.
“This will be a dynamic experience featuring sponsor displays, interactive activities and the opportunity to join the gallery and see some of the best golfers in the world,” said Marketing Committee Chair, Doug Flowers. “This will not only be a significant golf event, it will be a community event.”
The Canadian Senior Men’s tournament is expected to draw more than 150 golfers along with their supporters, Golf Canada employees and volunteers and hundreds of spectators.
Sylvia Sheard, Volunteer Coordinator for the event presented a delegation to Saugeen Shores Council that same evening (Sept. 11) saying that the organizers anticipate a possible 1,000 people to descend on Saugeen Shores during the week-long event. “Volunteers will be a key to the success of the event and we will need more than 200. We are planning to organize day trips for non-golfers and a passport that will showcase all our local businesses. Prior to the championship, we are going to share information about the area with players and their families to encourage them to extend their stay.”
She pointed out that there will be a significant financial impact to the community through accommodations needed, restaurants, shopping and general visits. “The players, their families and Golf Canada will constitute some 1,000 overnight stays. We are determined to make this the best Senior Men’s Championship ever!”
Doug Flowers, Marketing Committee Chair, said that with the Club’s anniversary and the event taking place in the same year, it will be an opportunity to engage everyone in the community. “There will be a big-top tent for sponsor displays and interactive games. Since the championship uses only 18 of the 27 course holes, we will use the remaining nine for a ‘golf festival’ to expose the community to golf. There will be a simulator in the tent, a hole-in-one new vehicle, chipping and putting contests and local curling clubs with their interactive street-curling display – all oriented to both kids and adults. There will also be funds raised for charities, such as the hole-in-one that will contribute to JumpStart. The third impact will be economic related to tourism. The goal is to attract 500 to 1,000 spectators daily in addition to the golfers.”
Flowers asked that the Town become a ‘titanium’ sponsor with a donation of $10,000, along with other sponsors, to stage the event. “Expenses will be substantial and costs for non-sponsored events will be considerable. Any excess funds raised and not used will go back into promoting sport in the community, upgrading the course, for junior programs and to local charities. There will be a healthy contingent of players, their families and spectators after the ‘holiday season’ and accommodation alone will result in $250,000. As a ‘titanium’ sponsor, the Town will be highlighted as an engaged supporter and, with other sponsors, seen as investing in the whole community.”
Vice-deputy Mayor Mike Myatt said that he would support the request. “This will bring a lot of spin-off to our community in the way of economic impacts.
“This will be a banner event in what will be a banner year for the Club,” said Councillor John Divinski.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau. added that it will be a lot of work to make this event happen but it will be a huge amount of benefit to the community. “That was demonstrated clearly with the Provincial curling championships (Tankards) over the past couple of years, and it’s exciting.”
A volunteer introduction to the tournament was held at the Club the following evening, on Tuesday (Sept. 12), with almost 80 people in attendance. The various Committee Chairs explained what would be required by volunteers on the various committees. “We foresee that each volunteer would only have a four-hour shift,” said General Manager Brad Young.
“The busiest day will be registration day and we will also need French-speaking volunteers but our goal,” added Volunteer Coordinator, Sylvia Sheard, “is to make everyone feel welcome – the golfers, caddies, family members, sponsors and the public. “