Sowing the seeds

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

When it comes to getting more Canadians into golf's upper echelons, it's just a matter of hurry up and wait.

On the eve of today's first round of the Pengrowth Glencoe Invitational, Pengrowth CEO Jim Kinnear put together a round table discussion on the state of the game in the Great White North and what it takes to get more Canadians onto the PGA Tour.

With several national team golfers on hand, as well as officials from the RCGA and Alberta Golf Association, the general consensus was it's just a matter of time until the next Mike Weir or Stephen Ames makes a splash.

Henry Brunton, Canada's men's head coach, couldn't agree more.

"It's just time. Time and the continued nurturing of the garden as well," said Brunton, who will be helping Canada's finest amateur golfers at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club this weekend. "The seeds are there. They're there. They're growing and what we're seeing with the international results, whether it's the America's Cup against America's best players or the world amateur championships, it's all there."

Generally it takes three to five years -- and $50,000-$75,000 annually -- for a golfer make the jump from amateur to pro, so the process of getting onto the money-making tours isn't bottled and sold on a shelf. Guys like David Hearn or even Mike Mezei, who came through the Canadian development program, are just now starting to make waves.

"People just need to be patient," said Brunton.

Ames, who hails from Trinidad & Tobago and became a Canadian citizen, didn't win his first PGA tour event until he was 40, although he did find success on the European Tour after toiling on the Canadian loop.

Many young Canucks choose to go to school in the U.S. and hone their game. But Doug Roxburgh, director of player development for the RCGA, said that route often slows a player's development because they're combining golf with getting good grades and that means less time practising.

Roxburgh said they're also promised they're going to come out as stars which just isn't the case.

One thing helping Canadian golfers is Sport Canada, which recently put golf under its umbrella, meaning national team players are now eligible for federal funding in the same way Olympic athletes have been for years.


Videos

Photos