Golf in the province of Ontario is another step closer to showing a united front. The governance of the sport in the province currently falls under multiple associations with Golf Ontario (GO) being the largest (400+ clubs and 95,000 individual members) and the Provincial Sport Association. Also in play are the Ottawa Valley Golf Association (OVGA), the Thunder Bay District Golf Association (TBDGA), and the Northern Golf Association (NGA). All groups have a heritage that dates back many decades.
While talks continue between GO on all fronts to create common ground for the groups, a formal agreement has been reached after two years of discussions between Golf Ontario and the Northern Golf Association and the agreement was formally signed this evening at the Hollinger Golf Club in Timmins.
The new partnership is a concerted effort by both parties to support and grow the game in the region currently overseen by the NGA, a vast area that sees member golf courses located as far south as Katrine on Highway 11, Parry Sound on Highway 69, west on Highway 17 to Sault Ste Marie and north to Wawa, east to Mattawa and north along Highway 11 to Hearst. Within the current twenty-seven NGA clubs just eight are currently Golf Ontario members.
A Common Focus
The new agreement will allow all the NGA clubs to become members of both associations and reap the benefits that their combined efforts can offer.
According to an agreed statement from both Golf Ontario and the Northern Golf Association the focus of their cooperation will be:
Membership –all NGA members will now also be Golf Ontario members and receive all of the benefits of Gold Membership
Grow Golf – both organizations will continue to invest in initiatives (such as Golf in Schools) that are intended to grow the game of golf in Northern Ontario
Golf Services – stronger collaboration on areas such as course rating, handicapping and competitions.
Having spoken to representatives of both parties as this negotiation has evolved, it is plain to see all are delighted at the outcome.
“We are excited to be partnering with the NGA to collaboratively promote and grow the game of golf in Northern Ontario,” says Mike Kelly, Executive Director of Golf Ontario. “Golf Ontario membership provides many great benefits such as handicapping, incident coverage, and access to Golf Ontario championships, and having these available to the members of the NGA will help support the development of golf in Northern Ontario.”
The Director of the Northern Golf Association who was heavily involved in the discussion, Owen Rigg, has similar sentiments. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Golf Ontario on the mutually beneficial agreement. Over the next few years we look forward in working with our NGA member Clubs in implementing so many of the wonderful programs that Golf Ontario and Golf Canada have to offer.”