Canadian Junior Boys Championship Heads To Cataraqui in 2017

Cataraqui G&CC, Hole #2, Photo: Scott MacLeod, FlagstickGolfPhotography.com)
Cataraqui G&CC, Hole #2, Photo: Scott MacLeod, FlagstickGolfPhotography.com)
Cataraqui G&CC, Hole #2, Photo: Scott MacLeod, FlagstickGolfPhotography.com)

While much of eastern Ontario will be focussed on the CP Women’s Open when it is hosted in 2017 at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club, another venerable regional golf club will also be hosting a National Championship that year.

The Cataraqui Golf & Country Club in Kingston, Ontario, will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2017. For some time the club has been considering a notable event to host as part of their festivities. The time for that to become public is now. Golf Canada recently added the course to their long term agenda as the host site of the 2017 Canadian Junior Boys Golf Championship.

The club’s Chief Operating Officer, Jay Gazeley, says they felt the championship would be the right fit for their club in their centenary year.

“You look at all the various events and the Canadian Junior (Boys), with all the great talent playing from across country, is kind of like the Web.com Tour, in some way. You see players like Nick Taylor who won it and is our most recent winner on the PGA Tour. It will be a rewarding element to see all the kids playing and see where they go in the decade after.”

With the club recently completing many upgrades to the golf course and amenities like the clubhouse and range, it will be ready to be showcased come mid-summer 2017.

“In my opinion the golf course has never been better and over the last decade or so we’ve had a lot of improvements from irrigation and drainage and now the bunkers,” says Gazeley referring to recent work by architect Doug Carrick throughout the eighteen holes. “It’s pretty dramatic; spectacular, so it’s fitting to put it out there and have the nation, to some level, see it.”

The PGA of Canada member also says the event will be of benefit to the entire host city. “It’s good for Kingston, for economic development in the city, with about 150 kids with families coming in so that is a nice boost to the economy as well.”

He adds, “We’ve had some good juniors here, some good junior development programs, so it’s a natural fit for us to host it.”

The coming of the event was announced to the membership about six months ago, and the COO says it was to a positive response. “There was great acceptance of that, great excitement to having it as a key event for the golf course in 2017.”

Noah Steele, Canada’s top player in the American Junior Golf Association’s POLO rankings, will not be eligible when the championship visits his home club (he will be 20 by then) but few can give better insight on what the players will face during the 72 holes in which they will compete for one of Canada’s most prestigious amateur titles. Among the notable features at Cataraqui, a Stanley Thompson re-design (1931), is a grouping of par 3’s that many mention as some of the best, and hardest, you might find.

“It’s a tough set of par 3’s for sure; definitely some that have some length which may be tough for kids who do not hit it far,” explains Steele. “There will be an advantage there for those who can hit less club into holes like 15 and 2, the longer ones that are both over 200 yards.”

Cataraqui plays to a par of 70 (to a length of around 6600 yards) which will also present a challenge to the youth brigade, many who rejoice when they can use their length to take advantage of par fives. That ambition will go starving a bit in Kingston where Cataraqui has two fewer than many layouts.

Steele comments, “The par fives, there are only two but you can score on both, but only if you hit a good tee shot. They are both set up by that. The new tee on 16, when it is all the way back, makes it a little bit tougher. You have to get it up the hill on your drive to get there in two. The new back tee on number four also makes that par five a lot more challenging.”

Like Gazeley, the junior also notes the refurbished and bolstered bunkers as being significant. “The new bunkering really adds a lot to the course. On holes like five you now have a fairway bunker on the right that makes the driving area narrower and sets up different challenges, especially for the better golfers.  I think they will really enjoy the course. You can shoot some low scores but if the wind is blowing, like it does a lot, then it will play a lot tougher.”

Cataraqui Golf and Country Club, through its history, has hosted many provincial and national championships. It has included the Ontario Amateur Championship, the Ontario Ladies’ Amateur Championship, the Ontario Open, the PGA Championship of Canada, the PGA of Canada Seniors Championship and the Ontario Junior Match Play Championship.

The 2017 Canadian Boys Junior Championship will be played on July 31 to August 3, 2017 with practice rounds on July 30th.

In 2014 the Kingston area’s own Austin James (of nearby Bath and the Loyalist Country Club), won the title. Charles-Eric Belanger of Quebec was the winner in 2015.