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National golf championship coming to Squamish

Squamish will once again be under the national sports spotlight after an exciting announcement was made by the Canadian Ladies Golf Association (CLGA).

Squamish will once again be under the national sports spotlight after an exciting announcement was made by the Canadian Ladies Golf Association (CLGA).

In August of next year, 120 of Canada's finest female amateur golfers will tee it up at the Squamish Valley Golf and Country Club in a 72-hole quest to capture the CLGA National Amateur Championship.

"It puts us in the national spotlight," said SVGCC General Manager Larry Cornwell. "We've held provincial championships before but never a national championship - it's a great event for the community and for our golf course."

Established in 1967, the Gordon Mackay-designed track features several different elements which comprise its character. Tree-lined fairways, numerous bunkers, water hazards, mounds and undulating greens are all hallmarks of the course, which has twice undergone redesign by golf course architects Robert Muir Graves and Gary Browning.

The local course was chosen by members of the CLGA after the original host site, the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, was awarded the 2005 Canadian Open and felt they were unable to host a PGA Tour event and the ladies championship in the same year.

Karen Vanzella, a 25-year SVGCC member and vice-president of the British Columbia Ladies golf Association (BCLGA), was an important link in bringing the championship to Squamish. At a recent BCLGA meeting, Vanzella was present to hear the news that they were seeking a new venue in British Columbia.

"I was asked if Squamish would be interested, and it just snowballed from there," she said.Vanzella mentioned that the SVGCC had great success in hosting the B.C. Senior Ladies Championship in 2002, which was of interest to tournament organizers.

"I think it's a great event for us to have as a whole community," said Vanzella. "It's going to put us on the map - people will come and play here just because we've hosted a national event. It's great exposure for all of Squamish."

The SVGCC course was seen as an attractive venue to tournament organizers due to its playability and level of challenge it will offer the nation's best female amateurs.

"It's the premiere amateur golf event in Canada for ladies," said Cornwell. "The national exposure will be great; it's something the golf course needs."

Cornwell said there will be no special changes made to the characteristics of the golf course, but organizers will likely experiment with different tee and pin placements to lengthen the golf course to their specifications. The championship is normally played between 6,000 and 6,200 yards. Because the SVGCC course currently plays at just over 5,000 yards from the regular women's tees, the ladies will be playing from much further back, adding to the challenge.

"It's a fair golf course for everybody; they'll really enjoy themselves here," said Cornwell. "The ladies will also find the golf course quite challenging. They wouldn't have it here if it wasn't."

The National Amateur Championship is a 72-hole stroke play tournament, in which players must endure a series of local and provincial qualifying events to earn a spot in the field of 120.

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