Mayfair given first refusal on LPGA stop

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

It looks like the Royal Canadian Golf Association has decided on a host course for next summer's LPGA tour stop in Edmonton. If Mayfair wants it, it's theirs. There were originally seven local courses in the running, but when RCGA officials visited Edmonton two weeks ago they gave Mayfair's brass the right of first refusal.

"That's my understanding,'' said Mayfair director of golf Eric Thorsteinson. "We're in discussions with them right now.''

All that remains to be determined is whether or not the storied old club can iron out the logistics.

"Personally, I'd love for our membership to host it,'' said Thorsteinson. "But it's up to our board. They're going to meet about it in mid-April to decide whether or not to go ahead with it.

"I can't speak on their behalf, but from speaking with our president, the majority of them like it in principle, but as far as making it work for our club and for our membership, that's still to be determined.''

The RCGA advance team also met with representatives for Glendale in their visit two weeks ago, in case Mayfair decides an LPGA stop doesn't fit into their summer, but the RCGA had Mayfair at the top of its list from the very start.

"Mayfair, from a prestige standpoint is as good as it gets anywhere in the country,'' RCGA president Rick Desrochers said recently.

He added that infrastructure items like location, clubhouse size and room on the grounds to build a TV compound are also major factors.

"We literally build a mini city with all the trailers and volunteer areas,'' he said. "And from a proximity standpoint, there's no question you want to make it as easily accessible as you possibly can for players, fans, volunteers and staff.''

But the No.1 criteria for attracting a strong field is the course, and Mayfair is as mint as they get in these parts.

"The biggest draw for the LPGA is the course,'' said Thorsteinson.

"The players will come to an event if it's played at a great golf course. That's the biggest draw coming here. If they know it's an established, premier club and a premier golf course, they'll attend.

"We need the big names, the Michelle Wies and Annika Sorenstams to get people participating and watching.'' At 6,744 yards, Mayfair isn't terribly long, but Desrochers says that wouldn't be an issue.

"With the ladies it doesn't require 7,000 yards,'' he said. "We can use a course that plays 6,500, 6,400 6,300, depending on the layout, how narrow the fairways are and what kind of greens they have.''

Arnold Palmer won the Canadian PGAchampionship at Mayfair in 1980 but it hasn't hosted a big event since 1993 when the Telus Open and the Canadian Ladies Amateur were there.

The local public clubs that were originally in the running - Blackhawk, RedTail Landing and Northern Bear - haven't been contacted by the RCGA.

Red Tail Landing will be hosting a BMO Canadian Women's Tour event Aug. 21-23.

FORE!: Weather permitting, the golf season will tee off at Golden West Golf Course tomorrow. The driving range is already open.


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