PGA Tour Canada officially announced Lethbridge is joining the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada.
The new event is taking place at Paradise Canyon, kicking off a multi-year agreement starting in 2018.
“We were working on it for two years, so we’re really excited to see the PGA coming to Lethbridge,” Paradise Canyon Golf Resort owner and general manager Ron Sakamoto said at a press conference at the resort on Tuesday. “It’s going to be unbelievable to see some of these pro players play.”
PGA Tour Canada believes the partnership could help the Paradise Canyon Open flourish into an annual event.
“This is the type of market where we can be sort of a big fish in a medium-sized pond,” Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada president Jeff Monday said. “We did a three-year deal and ideally, in our mind, it goes for 30 years or longer.”
One of the major beneficiaries from the announcement is Lethbridge Family Services, which is receiving the net proceeds from the event.
To bring in the tournament, Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman says the city is putting forward $250,000 every year it’s held in Lethbridge. Despite it being taxpayers’ money, he believes residents will see a return on their investment.
“We promote major events and we set aside money for a four-year period to host major events that will generate economic spinoff for the city,” Spearman said. “Some of the beneficiaries are going to be taxpayers. People who operate businesses, hotels, restaurants are going to a bit of a mini-boom during this week and I think everyone is a winner.”
One-hundred and fifty-six golfers will compete for a $200,000 purse in the Paradise Canyon Open.
Golf course staff plan to grow out the rough a little bit, but believe the biggest challenge is something southern Albertans know all too well.
“I don’t think the wind could be the ‘X’ factor; I think it will be the ‘X’ factor,” Paradise Canyon head golf professional Matt Barkway said. “If you’ve played down here, you know how much it can change… If the wind blows from one direction to the other, you’re looking at an eight to ten club difference from day-to-day, which changes the golf course completely.”
The Paradise Canyon Open runs from June18 to 24, 2018.