Crazy busy

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Can't Wait for '08.

That's the joke in the Royal Mayfair pro shop this summer, which will go down as one of the busiest, most hectic summers the storied old course will ever know.

First they undergo a massive, $3.5 million facelift, which included building a new pro shop, re-paving the parking lot and renovating the women's locker-room. Immediately after completing that, they swing open the doors to the most-star studded golf tournament in Edmonton's history - the CN Canadian Women's Open.

It's like renovating your house the same month your daughter is getting married in it. Crazy hectic. But kind of exciting. Can't wait for '08? They joke about it, but the truth is they're eager to show the place off.

"It would have been nice to do one thing in each year," grinned head pro Eric Thorsteinson, who's been up to his waist in boxes of tournament merchandise and surrounded by construction workers most of the summer.

"Have the LPGA event one summer and do all the renovations the next. This is how it worked out and everything has really come together. Everything is going to be ready and everything looks great."

That was the original plan - Edmonton was supposed to hold the event in 2006 and the renos for 2007, but the tournament was delayed a year because of LPGA scheduling concerns. Moving it to this summer puts it on the heels of the facelift, but now that the work is complete, Royal Mayfair has never looked better.

Of course, none of the cosmetics matter one bit if the course itself isn't mint. And in Alberta, that's never a guarantee. Glendale had to give up last month's Telus Edmonton Open because its greens took a beating over the winter.

With so much at stake, they were holding their breath this spring at Royal Mayfair.

"It's a roll of the dice sometimes, you never know whether it's going to be in good shape, great shape or poor shape," said Thorsteinson. "But this is the best the course has wintered in 20-plus years."

Thorsteinson is convinced it'll be up to LPGA standards, and then some.

"We're pretty fortunate that we have a fantastic maintenance staff, here," he said. "Superintendent Debbie Amirault is awesome. This course is in tournament condition every day."

In recent visits, RCGA officials have reaffirmed that.


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