Great Waterway Classic Unveiled

The first Great Waterway Classic will tee off on September 3-9, 2012 at Smuggler's Glen GC near Gananoque, Ontario
The first Great Waterway Classic will tee off on September 3-9, 2012 at Smuggler's Glen GC near Gananoque, Ontario

– Eastern Ontario Canadian Tour Event Reveals Title Sponsor-

It’s been a lot of work getting to this point but Dave Dargie and Martin Noe are happy guys today.  As this story is posted, Dargie, the Director of Tournament Development for Evolution Golf & Management, and Noe, the CEO of Evolution, are revealing the name of the new Canadian Tour event that they will be running for at least the next four years.  Their company is a full-service event management business headquartered in Brockville, Ontario that was founded by them to bring a series of Canadian Tour events to Eastern Ontario.

Their contribution is the latest addition to the Canadian Tour, which will be known as “The Great Waterway Classic” – the name a tip to the Great Waterway Region, whose formal title is Region 9 Ontario Regional Tourism Organization (RTO-9). The tourism alliance has signed on as the title sponsor for the tournament.  RTO-9, The Great Waterway, covers a broad region that starts at the Bay Of Quinte Region near Trenton and works along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway, all the way to the Quebec border.  That includes six distinct regions – Bay of Quinte, Prince Edward County, Land O’Lakes, Kingston, 1000 Islands, and Cornwall & Seaway Valley.

The Board for the RTO-9 was enthusiastic in their support for the event from the very first presentation to them about it late last year. They quickly recognized the value the project will bring for tourism in the region.

“This is an exciting opportunity for The Great Waterway,” said Richard Johnston, Chair of the Board for the Regional Tourism Organization 9.  “Highlighting the golf assets we have in the region over the next four years will help local businesses grow and attract new visitors to The Great Waterway.”

According to Dargie and Noe the projected net benefit to the community will be approximately $1.2 million each year based on the Sport Tourism Economic Model taking into account the spending of the people involved in the event during the course of the week on things like hotels, food, and services within the community.

Evolution Golf & Management state that on top of the Canadian Tour 156 players and 20 tournament officials they are projecting  some 7500 spectators for the entire week.  They will also enlist some 300 volunteers who will be needed to make things run smoothly.  The Canadian Tour average for an event is about 3,100 spectators but Dargie says they are confident that they have the marketing know-how and strategy to make this event one of the most popular and successful on the Canadian Tour.  A slice of Dargie’s background was his role as the Chair of the 2010 Canada 55+ Games that brought some 2,000 participants to Brockville and had an estimated economic impact of $3.5 million.   Noe brings experience with a wide range of sporting events including involvement in F1 Racing to FIFA Women’s World Cup Soccer.

Part of their strategy involves bringing the event to a new community in the region each year.  For the first four years The Great Waterway Classic will see a rotation of golf courses in Eastern Ontario host the event including Smuggler’s Glen near Gananoque this September 3-9, 2012, Upper Canada GC in Morrisburg in 2013, Loyalist Country Club in Bath in 2014, and Black Bear Ridge GC in Belleville in 2015.

Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course and the affiliated Glen House Resort, the site of the sponsor announcement, should be a great host for the inaugural playing of the event.  Nominated for the Golf Digest Best New Golf Course in Canada award when it opened in 2005, the 6600 yard, par 71 layout has quickly become a favourite for golfers from near and far.  Brad Revell, a second year Canadian Tour member who was on hand at the announcement today, has played many rounds at Smuggler’s and is excited to have the tournament near his hometown of Kingston.  “It’s just great for golf and golf fans.  We have some many people around here who love golf who will come out to support this event.  I think it’s a fantastic addition to the Canadian Tour schedule.”  Long-time Canadian Tour player and former Golf Channel “Big Break P.E.I.” winner Derek Gillespie also appeared at today’s announcement.

Of course Revell and Gillespie are not the only Tour related people excited for the new event.  “The Canadian Tour is thrilled to be coming to the Great Waterway Region for the next four years,” stated Canadian Tour Commissioner & CEO, Rick Janes. “The Great Waterway Classic will provide significant national and international exposure for the Great Waterway and Eastern Ontario communities on the whole,” added Janes.

The principal charity for the Great Waterway Classic will be the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation. The UHKF will benefit from a full-field Charity Pro-Am that will be played at Smuggler’s Glen on Tuesday, September 4th. The organizers of The Great Waterway Classic have also pledged to donate half of the gate receipts for the four days of the Canadian Tour event to this charity.

The Great Waterway Classic alternate shield logo

Evolution’s Martin Noe remarked, “Our goal is to raise $50,000 for the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation that they can then apply to targeted training for their nursing staff who work in Mental Health care. We are excited to be bringing the Canadian Tour to the Great Waterway Region and helping out our designated charity in the area of mental health care.”

Also included in today’s announcement was the news that The Great Waterway Classic will be sponsoring the Rookie of The Year Award for the Canadian Tour. With the tournament set to be the final one on the yearly schedule the winner will be announced at the event, with the winner of the year-long competition being presented with a trophy, a cash bonus, and a Stay and Play Package for the Great Waterway Region.

Additional touches for the Classic (with more to be announced) include a series of six tournaments throughout the region where golfers (amateur and pros) can qualify for the Canadian Tour event outside of the normal Monday Qualifying.  The top four players from each of the six competitions will move on to a final “Chase The Dream” tournament held in August at Smuggler’s Glen where the top three finishers will earn a spot in The Great Waterway Classic.

An additional qualifying spot will be available annually via the Flagstick Golf Magazine Spring Amateur Shootout at Smuggler’s Glen.  The winner of the tournament for elite amateurs will receive a sponsor’s exemption into The Great Waterway Classic as part of their winner’s prize package.  The Shootout is held at the end of May each year and features top golfers from Ontario, Quebec, and New York State.

Flagstick Golf Magazine has signed an agreement to be the Official Media Partner of The Great Waterway Classic and will be producing the Commemorative Tournament Program.  They will also be providing media support and extended coverage of the Classic in each print issue of Flagstick and via Flagstick.com and their other digital properties.

For more information on the Great Waterway Classic, please visit their website at www.greatwaterwayclassic.ca