The country’s top young golfers will be fine-tuning their skills on Vancouver Island.
Bear Mountain Resort will serve as the home for Team Canada’s golf squads as the world-renowned facility and Golf Canada entered into a four-year partnership Thursday in which the 36-hole resort becomes the national training centre.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed courses and practice facilities will serve as the home for the men’s and women’s development teams, primarily during the months of October to March, but available year-round.
“We are very excited to begin this partnership with Bear Mountain and look forward to having our Team Canada players training at one of the best facilities in Canada,” Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons said in a statement. “The facility is well-equipped to provide year-round support for our athletes, coaches and high performance training initiatives.”
Bear Mountain — which is owned by Ecoasis Developments LLP and is already the official high performance training centre of the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team — will also play host to a pair of Golf Canada’s championship events. Those will be announced at a later date, but one is expected next year. The courses will also serve as a potential host site for a national fundraiser for Golf Canada’s foundation.
“This is something we’ve been working on for quite a while,” said Dan Matthews, president and CEO of Ecoasis Developments LLP. “It’s nice to see it all come together, signed and moving forward.”
This will be Golf Canada’s first-ever national training centre, moving out of offices at Glen Abbey Golf Club near Oakville, Ont., which is being redeveloped as a residential community. In years past, training development of players was usually held south of the border because of climate issues for half the year.
“It’s always easier when you have a 12-month lens,” added Matthews, stating his resort is delighted to expand on its commitment to athletes, which is a testament to the facilities and what Bear Mountain has to offer.
“Golf Canada recognizes this commitment and we welcome them and their young performance athletes and coaches to train with us at Bear Mountain,” he said.
Of note, Victoria’s Naomi Ko, who plays out of Royal Colwood, is a member of the national women’s team. Robert Ratcliffe, of Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach, is the development squad lead coach.
The four-year agreement will also carry with it an option to extend, Matthews said.