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Volunteers are the machine behind golf in Canada

Ancaster, ON - Jun 9, 2019 : 2019 RBC Canadian Open. Volunteers. (Photo by Christian Bender / Golf Canada)

Garry McKay

Volunteers. Golf in Canada can’t do without them and for many who try it, it becomes a life-long passion.

Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Canadians volunteer every year at all levels of golf – from local junior events up to and including the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open.

“The volunteers at our recent Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor absolutely loved what they were doing,” said Golf Canada president Liz Hoffman, who enjoys attending tournaments and getting to hang out with volunteers.

“Whether they were walking scorers, spotters or bringing out water and fruit for the players they loved every minute of what they were doing, and it was contagious.”

Windsor, Ontario – August 5: at the 2021 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at Ambassador Golf Club Photo Credit: Jeff Vogan/SPORTDAD Sports Photography

Hoffman says if you consider all the roles and responsibilities volunteers have as part of Golf Canada’s board, councils and committees, helping at championships and qualifiers, or who serve as referees or work on handicapping and course rating and then factor everything that happens at the provincial level there is no doubt golf in Canada couldn’t function without them.

“They (volunteers) are integral, right across the country,” she says. “They’re the machine.”

Jim Clark, an Aurora, Ont., resident, first volunteered to work the Canadian Open in 1984 after hearing about it when he was curling.

“I was on the caddy committee,” he explains. “I just loved it. Standing in the parking lot at Glen Abbey and meeting the players as they got out of their cars.

“I enjoyed it so much I did it the next year, and the next year and the next year. And I’ve never missed one since.”

In time, Clark became a governor of the Royal Canadian Golf Association (now Golf Canada) and he has worked every significant tournament Golf Canada has been involved in.

But why?

“It can be long hours and exhausting, but it gave me an energy,” he says. “It was the highlight of my year many times. That’s why I kept going back.”

Clark said volunteering in golf gave him a feeling of being part of a team and he loves to talk about the friendships he’s made through working golf tournaments and how volunteers come from all walks of life.

“We had a doctor who ran a parking lot at the Canadian Open,” he said. “He took a week off from his practice to direct cars in the parking lot.”

Hoffman’s introduction to volunteering in golf was not unlike Clark’s.

It happened in 2006 because the University of Toronto, where she was director of athletics and high-performance sport, was hosting the Canadian University/College Championship at Thornhill G&CC, where she’s a member.

After that experience she volunteered at the club level, then with Golf Ontario. And now, 15 years later, she is president of Golf Canada.

Both Hoffman and Clark agree that it’s not hard to get volunteers back for a second or third time because they see they’re making a difference and are having fun doing it.

“Once people do it they love it and they’ll go back,” said Clark. “The hard part is getting them out for the first time because some people can be intimidated by it.”

That’s one of the reasons Hoffman is on a crusade to broaden golf’s volunteer base in Canada.

“I’ve had so many parents come up to me and say, “if you ever need volunteers let me know because I’ll help in any way I can,’” says Hoffman who points out the reason they ask is because they simply don’t know how to get involved.

For starters, you don’t have to be a great golfer or even a golfer, period.

“We welcome applications from all individuals who share our values and may contribute to increasing equity diversity and inclusion in our sport,” says Hoffman. “We want to look inside and outside our sport.

“We want to broaden our volunteer base and underrepresented groups are key. We need to make sure we reach out to them and let them know who we are and how to get involved.”

Golf Canada has made it simple to sign up as a volunteer. For starters, you can simply go to www.golfcanada.ca/volunteer-opportunities to get more information on how to volunteer with Golf Canada.

Or if you prefer, you can call Golf Canada or your provincial golf association and ask, “how do I volunteer?”

You can reach Golf Canada at 905-849-9700 or toll-free at 1-800-263-0009.

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What you need to know about Golf Canada’s new app

Golf Canada App – a free tool for Canadian golfers to enhance their course experience and go digital with their game! The Golf Canada App is connecting Canada’s golf community with an engaging digital platform for golfers from coast to coast. It is an app for golfers to track their scores, manage their on-course experience and identify areas to improve their game. The app is a powerful tool with a completely new look and feel that goes well beyond the handicap reporting and score posting system that was the central focus of the previous member-only Golf Canada App. It’s a totally new experience that connects golfers to their friends as well as 1,400+ golf courses across Canada.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

How to navigate the new Golf Canada App experience: 

Click here for a full user guide[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_images_carousel images=”98984,98983,98982,98981″ img_size=”medium” onclick=”link_no” speed=”3000″ autoplay=”yes” hide_pagination_control=”yes” hide_prev_next_buttons=”yes” wrap=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Golf Canada member features

Golf Canada members will enjoy a suite of additional features in the app as part of a three-stage rollout throughout the summer including golf games like Wolf or Skins, real-time course GPS and Shot Tracer technology.

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Golf Canada tees up new all-in-one Golf App with innovative enhancements

2020 Golf Canada App

The new Golf Canada app sets the stage for a greatly enhanced digital experience

Canada’s largest golf community is about to become more connected with the launch of the new Golf Canada app. The user-friendly app launched August 5 is now available to all golfers nationwide to record and track their scores, trace where they have played and provide detailed game statistics as a game improvement tool. The app is free to download and can be used by golfers at any level of skill. “The app is designed to connect individual golfers and their friends with the more than the 1,400-member golf courses we have in Canada,” says Vanessa Morbi, Senior Director of Marketing at Golf Canada. “Among the many exciting features, golfers will be able to follow their favourite golf courses to stay connected and up to date. The app will also provide additional value to our member clubs as a platform to engage with golfers.” All golfers will be able to enter their scores on the app as they play hole-by-hole or at the end of a round. They can track a variety of stats including driving accuracy, greens in regulation, putting strokes, sand saves and up & downs. Golfers will also be able to add friends, follow their favourite courses and track their scores throughout the round. As the app rolls out this summer, additional features will be added to enhance the user experience for Golf Canada members. “We are proud to launch the new Golf Canada app with an enhanced user experience that anyone who plays golf in Canada can enjoy,” says Adam Helmer, Golf Canada’s Senior Director of Golf Services. “It has been developed with a fresh look and feel to allow app users to better understand their individual game and connect with other golfers and their favourite clubs across the country.” With heath and safety being top of mind during COVID-19, the digital scorecard on your Smartphone replaces the need for a traditional scorecard and pencil. It may be a way of the future as many clubs across Canada have limited printed scorecard usage this year to reduce physical touchpoints at golf courses during the pandemic. While enhancing the current benefits of being a Golf Canada member is a key component of the app, it has also been designed with the non-member, public player in mind to increase their engagement with the sport. Golf Canada members will be able to enjoy a unique package of additional features that will be part of a three-stage rollout throughout the summer including, golf games like Wolf or Skins, as well as real-time Course GPS and Shot Tracer technology. “What I think sets the new Golf Canada app apart from anything else in the marketplace is our ability to combine scoring, stats, Course GPS, Shot Tracer, and golf games, in one app. You won’t find that anywhere else in the world, so it truly is leading edge digital technology,” added Morbi. Canada’s go-to golf app has been in development since the fall of 2019. It is a key component of Golf Canada’s digital marketing strategy designed to draw more people to the sport, improve the in-game experience and increase membership. It has also been developed in consultation with the provincial golf associations across Canada to ensure a grassroots connection. The Golf Canada app has been designed in partnership with Mirego, a Quebec City-based company that is an expert in the app development space. It replaces the original Golf Canada app, a member-only app that featured handicapping and scoring as its primary function. Member profiles and previous scoring is being transferred to the new app, so there will be no loss of information for long-time members. “Apps are commonplace today—all of us have our favourite apps and the majority of golfers bring a Smartphone to the golf course,” Morbi says. “We’re hoping golfers will fall in love with all of the great features of the new app and have a lot of fun with it. It will give us an opportunity to connect with more golfers and create a deeper connection to the sport they love.” The app is available for download for both IOS and Android operating systems from both the App Store and Google Play at no cost. An annual Golf Canada membership sells for $49.95. The benefits of being a Golf Canada member include handicapping, incident protection, personalized equipment labels, discounts on tickets for the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open savings from partners like Avis, Hilton and RBC, and some of the soon to be released features on the new app.

Golf Canada member features

Golf Canada members will enjoy a suite of additional features in the app as part of a three-stage rollout throughout the summer including golf games like Wolf or Skins, real-time course GPS and Shot Tracer technology.

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Canadians playing more golf in 2020 once COVID 19 restrictions lifted

PHOTO BERNARD BRAULT, Golf Canada CP Canadian Open LPGA Magna Golf Club Friday August 23rd, 2019 ROUND 2 Dottie Ardina of Laguna, Philippines (PHI)

Golf Canada reports that there were 17 per cent more scores registered with the national sport body this June compared to the same month last year. A total of 1,483,506 rounds were submitted to Golf Canada’s handicap calculator last month compared to 1,271,782 in June 2019. “It was a pretty big jump from last year, comparing 2019 numbers to this year,” said Adam Helmer, senior director of golf services for Golf Canada, on Wednesday. “We were expecting that as golf has emerged as one of the safest activities, where people can be physically distant and we’ve reduced touchpoints.”

 
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The surge in June ended a streak of three months when recreational rounds played in Canada dropped precipitously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions were lifted across the country in May, the number of scores registered increased. In May, 165,026 rounds were registered between the 1st and the 15th but 265,480 scores were submitted in the final two weeks of that month. The May 1-15 numbers are a nearly 40 per cent drop from the same period in 2019 (211,809) but the May 16-30 numbers are just five per cent lower than last year (269,266). Helmer said he expects the number of rounds submitted to Golf Canada to continue to climb through July and into August.
“We’ve heard anecdotally that a lot of newcomers have joined the sport, especially now that school is done we’re going to see an increase in juniors too. We think the trend is going to continue,” said Helmer. “Golf has seen a pretty big lift and it’s emerged as the sport of the summer.”
The upward trend comes even as Golf Canada had to cancel all of its amateur and professional championships due to travel restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. A shift in how scores are registered has also been seen, with most recreational players entering their scores online instead of in the course’s clubhouse or pro shop, which have largely been closed this summer because of physical distancing protocols. Golf Canada plans to launch an updated version of its scoring app later this month, helping to keep players physically distant and improve their game.]]>

INSIDE GOLF HOUSE NAGA

Statement from 'We Are Golf' about COVID-19

We Are Golf

We Are Golf (The National Allied Golf Associations/NAGA) are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members, golfers, staff, volunteers and industry stakeholders as well as every Canadian in the communities where we live, work and play. The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented and difficult time for Canadians. We Are Golf fully supports the recommendations and guidelines of Health Canada, the World Health Organization and regional public health experts to stop the community spread of the virus. As leaders in an industry that employs more than 300,000 Canadians and includes nearly six million golfers from coast to coast, our priority above all else is the health and safety of our people and our communities. Where governments have not mandated the temporary closure of golf courses, operators of those facilities should take every health and safety precaution. We Are Golf also advocates for the essential need for golf course property maintenance during any of the temporary closures to be ready for operation while taking every health and safety precaution. We look forward to better and healthier days and when the time is right for Canadians to return to recreational normalcy, clubs and courses will be ready to welcome golfers back to the tee.]]>

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Golf Canada and Audi Canada partner to drive excellence in Canadian golf

Toronto, Ontario– Golf Canada and Audi Canada announced today a multi-year integrated partnership that will see the luxury automotive brand become the exclusive Premier Automotive Partner for Canada’s National Open Championships—the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open—as well as the Official Automotive Partner of Golf Canada’s National Team Program.

“We are thrilled to welcome Audi Canada as a fully integrated Premier Partner with Golf Canada’s National Open Championships and Team Canada,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Audi is an iconic brand, synonymous for driving excellence and premium craftsmanship. Our robust partnership touches virtually every level of Canadian golf and we look forward to integrating their progressive brand across Golf Canada’s signature properties as well as our community of member clubs and golfers.”

Through the multi-year partnership, Audi will work alongside Golf Canada to drive excellence in Canadian golf. As the Premier Automotive Partner for the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open, Audi will deliver a premium vehicle experience at Canada’s National Men’s and Women’s Open Championships. Audi owners will also be treated to an elevated event experience when they visit the RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open, while fans onsite can enter to win hospitality upgrades and exclusive Audi Driving Experiences.

“Audi has been successfully involved in golf globally for more than two decades,” said Giorgio Delucchi, President of Audi Canada. “Technology, design and sportiness are values that characterize every Audi and which also contribute to the special fascination found in golf.”

Audi Canada’s multi-platform investment in Canadian golf will also benefit the athletes, coaches and sport science team that comprise Golf Canada’s National Team Program including the Team Canada Junior, Amateur and Young Pro Squads. Audi Canada’s partnership will also deliver an enhanced experience across Golf Canada’s digital network of web, social and golfer engagement platforms. The partnership will create a deepened community connection between Golf Canada Member Clubs and the Audi Canada dealer network across Canada.

As the National Sport Federation, Golf Canada operates the RBC Canadian Open, June 3-9 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, as well as the CP Women’s Open which takes place August 19-25 at the Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ont.

Giorgio Delucchi, President of Audi Canada speaks during the press conference. (Photo by Christian Bender / Golf Canada)