Two down, one more to go.
Bear Mountain Resort operators Ecoasis Developments gained another feather in their cap Thursday, as Golf Canada announced it has signed a four-year deal to locate its national team training centre at the north Langford site.
Having already secured the national high-performance training centre for Cycling Canada’s mountain bike development programs, Ecoasis continues to work toward landing the last of the big three national development centres, that of Tennis Canada, for the burgeoning Bear Mountain neighbourhood.
“We’re two out of three today,” said Ecoasis president and CEO Dan Matthews after news of the deal went live Thursday. “We have to provide more about our facility and our timing to Tennis Canada, but today is all about golf. We’re thrilled that Golf Canada saw the merits in putting their facility here; they could have put it anywhere they wanted on the West Coast.”
The agreement will see Bear Mountain provide athletes and coaches who are part of Golf Canada’s amateur, development and young professional programs with year-round access to all onsite golf and resort facilities, including the fitness centre and a planned facility offering premium golf training amenities.
In return, Bear Mountain will host two of Golf Canada’s championship events over the four-year period, while also serving as a potential host venue for a Golf Canada Foundation national fundraiser.
“The underlying benefit to us is it states to the golf world, if these facilities are good enough for our potential (professional and Olympic) athletes, we better check them out,” Matthews said.
Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons called Bear Mountain “one of the best facilities in Canada,” noting that his organization was excited to begin the partnership.
“The facility is well-equipped to provide year-round support for our athletes, coaches and high-performance training initiatives,” he said.
As with most major agreements of this kind, the final deal between the golf resort and the sport body took some time to hammer out. Matthews said his team has been in conversations with Golf Canada for more than a year to base the national team program here.
“When the idea of mountain biking came to Bear Mountain, through the efforts of Ecoasis and getting the commitment of Cycling Canada, we figured why would we stop there? We’ve got the only 36 holes in Canada of Nicklaus-designed golf … We’ve got the investment in place to facilitate (a similar training centre), so why would we not make a similar attempt at getting Golf Canada here?”
The Canadian training centre will serve largely as an off-season home for Team Canada’s training camps – development squad athletes will be based there during the shoulder season between October and March, including an upcoming training camp set for next February. Team Canada athletes will be stay at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa during training camps.