Changes at Bond Head, Georgian Bay Club; Ridge at Manitou
Given the difficulties facing the Canadian golf business, it isn't altogether surprising to see several clubs make big changes in staffing already, even though the season has barely finished.
Two of the clubs impacted are new designs by Jason Straka of Hurdzan/Fry. Not that any of this is Straka's fault, of course, just coincidence. Georgian Bay Club, a club which many felt was doing well in drawing members and developing a business, let go of its marketing director and its head pro, Adam Cherry. Cherry was the former assistant under Neil Verwey at St. George's. No reason has been announced for the change.
Similarly, the Club at Bond Head, which was a successful design but a less than stellar business, fired its general manager in the late summer and then recently let go of its head pro, Ian Chan, formerly of Glen Abbey Golf Club. Nigel Hollidge, the former GM at Taboo Golf Club near Gravenhurst, has taken over at the course, bringing some of his staff from Taboo with him. No word on what Taboo is doing to fill the vacancy.
Hollidge has his work cut out for himself at Bond Head, which did approximately 10,000 fewer rounds than predicted. A second course on the property will open in late summer, 2006.
Finally, Shawn Robertson, the head professional at the Ridge at Manitou, did not have his contract renewed, meaning the club has gone through two head pros in as many years. The club, which is located near Parry Sound, Ont., has been heralded as a design success by the likes of Ontario Golf Magazine, but has failed to attract many members.