The largest inclusive golf tournament on the calendar not only in Ottawa, but far outside its borders, has a couple of big changes on the way for its competitors in 2021.
With ClubLink deciding not to make a couple of its golf courses – GreyHawk and Eagle Creek – available for Saturday and Sunday of the Ottawa Sun Scramble, tournament organizers have found top-notch replacements. Championship Saturday will make a return to Rockland Golf Club, while Championship Sunday will be at The Marshes. The Monday-Friday schedule: D Division Monday at Manderley; Absolute Comedy C Tuesday at Dragonfly; GOLFTEC B Wednesday at Le Sorcier; GolfWorks A, Michelob Ultra Ladies Open, Maxfli Ladies B, Top Flite Ladies C and Ladies D Thursday at eQuinelle; TMSI Senior Open, Senior B, The Open and Kevin Haime Junior Open Friday at Hylands.
Getting Hylands, Rockland and The Marshes on board for the 2021 event was huge for Ottawa Sun Scramble tournament organizer and ClubEG vice-president Andy Rajhathy.
“I wouldn’t say (losing ClubLink) is a blow to the tournament,” said Rajhathy. “With those decisions comes opportunity. Despite having a long history with ClubLink – Eagle Creek, mainly, being one of our championship days – ultimately it’s their decision in having no outside events on specific days. With the COVID situation, there have been a lot of curveballs. Given how busy the golf market is, it’s not too surprising Club Link would make this decision. We were prepared for it. The beauty of ClubEG is we work with so many great courses there are always options available to us, we always have contingency plans ready to go. .
“We’re glad Hylands, Rockland and Marshes were willing to take this on, they’re excited about it. They’re great courses for a tournament of this size. These should be long-lasting, great relationships.”
With the pandemic in full swing last summer, golf courses were packed and demand to enter into Ottawa Sun Scramble qualifiers was greater than ever. The qualifiers filled up early and ClubEG has added tee times to try and meet the demand. The six qualifiers are: May 30 at Stittsville, June 21 at Casselview, July 12 at Carleton Golf and Yacht, Aug. 5 at Hammond, Aug. 6 (also the Regimbal Media Challenge) at Marshes and Aug. 20 at eQuinelle.
With six months to go until the Sun Scramble, it’s already been a busy 2021.
“We look at the Sun Scramble as a year-round adventure,” said Rajhathy. “In January, we had what we call a Champion’s Month – it’s where (past champions) can commit (to the Sun Scramble). February is a month where all teams who made the cut the year previous have a chance to register before it opens up to the public. When March 1 arrives, registration is open to the public. Based on the demand of registrations, we run a lottery for a few direct-entry spots. Then the process begins on getting teams registered for the six qualifiers. Teams can play in as many of the qualifiers as they want.”
The Sun Scramble, which began in 2005, has about 1,200 competitors (including qualifiers) teeing it up. The tournament is a chance for elite to play against elite and also an opportunity for “average” golfers to put their skills to the test against others of like abilities.
“(The Sun Scramble) definitely never gets old,” said Rajhathy. “As a team, we get more excited about it each year. We’re always looking for ways to make it better. Sometimes, it’s small stuff you may not notice – things like new signage at the golf course, a different way to structure tee times on a given day or even selecting different meals for the players. We like to zero in on those little details that make it such a great event in the end.”
ClubEG also plans to resume its GolfAways in 2021, when it is safe to do so. Already on the schedule are a Champions League GolfAway to Niagara Falls May 10-16, a trip to PEI in July, a Ladies GolfAway to Smugglers Glen Sept. 10-12, with possible trips to Cabot Links, Belleville and either Montebello or Mont Tremblant.
There’s also hope to resume international golfing trips, beginning early in 2022. Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Ireland have been popular destinations in recent years.
Other dates on ClubEG’s 2021 calendar: Spring Opener at Metcalfe May 15, Rinks and Links at Sensplex and Stittsville June 11-12, Commish’s Cup at Casselview July 3, Ottawa Citizen Golf Championship at Rockland, eQuinelle and Carleton Golf and Yacht July 16-18, Ottawa Sun Scramble Par 3 Championship at White Sands Aug. 21, Club Championship Rounds 1 and 2 at Casselview and Mountain Creek Sept. 18-19, Fall Opener and Final Round of Club Championship at Stittsville Sept. 25 and Slammer Tour Finale at Stittsville Oct. 24.