This year marks the 30th time that Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario, will play host to Canada’s national open. Unfortunately, what most of us fear happening when we turn 30, is in danger of happening after things wrap up here on Sunday night; irrelevance.
It’s not that the course isn’t in good shape or well maintained, but more so a confluence of technology making it outdated, real estate threatening to take over, and Golf Canada looking for better options.
It was way back in 1977, some 41 years ago, that Lee Trevino strolled into The Abbey and defeated runner-up Peter Oosterhuis by four strokes. This was a time when the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer would take the trek north every year, making the Canadian Open the PGA Tour’s unofficial fifth major. In fact, Jack Nicklaus designed the course yet never won here, finishing runner-up seven times.
So much has changed since then: Clubs, courses, money, sponsors, some guy name Tiger Woods emerging, etc, etc.
Yet Glen Abbey remains.
With the tournament date changing next year to early June, the week before the US Open, Golf Canada has already announced that the 2019 Canadian Open will be at Hamilton G&CC. By the summer of 2020, with the US Open to be held at Winged Foot in NY State, Glen Abbey would seemingly be a geographical fit. However, the threat of real estate development will surely deter Golf Canada from returning. Include the fact that last year’s winning score was 21-under, and minus-16 or lower won four of the last five times here, and everything points to a new Canadian Open rotation starting in 2019.
That being said, we’ve got one left. Whether you’re attending the event in person, watching on TV, or following along online; check out the key holes and shots right here:
The front side’s signature hole; the par-3 seventh. Not only a daunting iron shot over water to a narrow green, you’ve now got a hockey rink circling the entire thing to negotiate with as well. From a hockey net to shoot on, to massive stands for the gallery, to concession stands, Golf Canada is going all out to create a boisterous, fun hole. And it’s right smack dab in the middle of everything, making it a surefire hotspot for fans come the weekend.
Glen Abbey’s signature hole; the par-four 11th. This tee shot is absolutely stunning. From high atop a perch, golfers will start their trek into The Valley Holes with a narrow shot that drops significantly into the valley. The approach is no cakewalk either, going over water to another narrow green, with lots of undulations and countless possible pin positions.
Some of the GTA’s coolest and most scenic holes are down in The Valley. Starting at the par-four 11th and finishing with the par-three 15th, these holes provide a unique test not found many other places in Canada.
It also appears as though the 13th tee has been moved back this year, increasing the difficulty of the par-five.
Glen Abbey finishes with two par-fives in the last three holes, allowing for an exciting risk-reward finish that usually determines the winner. The par-five 16th is reachable with a good tee shot, but has a guarded green with quite a bit of slope.
17 is a tight par-four that, with a good drive, can be taken advantage of. An offline approach however, will leave a difficult bunker shot or pitch to save par.
Made famous by Tiger Woods, this 18th hole has been the site of many historic moments over the years. A very, very reachable par-five, players will have the chance to make or break their rounds here.
There you have it. Course Superintendent Andrew Gyba believes the course is a tad wet at the moment, but is drying up quickly. He expects that in defense of the good scoring conditions, the course will be set up longer than usual, with some tough pin positions.
Lots left to cover this week, stay tuned to Teeing Off on Twitter, Instagram and right here on the blog.