GOLFest planning enters back nine as two players announced for Tour event

Published on June 11, 2014
Gordie Smith, General Manager of Ashburn Golf Club, speaks about GOLFest during a press conference at the clubhouse in Windsor Junction on Tuesday.
Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper

WINDSOR JUNCTION - The new Ashburn Golf Club is teeing up to welcome hundreds of fans and world-class players for GOLFest Nova Scotia, with the event “picking up some momentum” in the final weeks according to the event’s director.

Grant MacDonald, director of GOLFest and SportBox Entertainment Group, announced on Tuesday more players who will play in the RBC Canada Cup and Nova Scotia Open, held from June 30 to July 6 at the Ashburn course in Windsor Junction.

“As we go we’re picking up some momentum, and people are starting to understand the magnitude of GOLFest,” MacDonald said Tuesday.

MacDonald said two amateurs, including Truro’s Eric Banks, will get exemptions to play in the Nova Scotia Open, alongside “world-class” golfers from the Tour fighting for a spot in the PGA Tour.

Banks just finished his junior year at the University of Florida where he plays for the golf team. In the summer of 2012, he underwent open-heart surgery in Halifax that knocked him off the course for nine months but came back to qualify for the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.

Adam Svensson from British Columbia will also receive exemption, and is the top-ranked amateur player in the world.

Canadian Adam Hadwin has been playing well on the Tour, and will join the likes of Mike Weir, David Hearn and Graham DeLaet on Team Canada, which will be going up against Team World players led by PGA Tour star Matt Kuchar in a one-day event on June 30. Tour’s Manuel Villegas of Columbia was also named to Team World Tuesday.

As for the course, Ashburn General Manager Gordie Smith said the province’s harsh winter and spring might not have been fun for residents but the 18-hole layout came out in “great condition.”

“The spring, although cold, has been very good for the golf course [because] it’s dry,” Smith said.

As long as the area gets moisture over the next few weeks followed by sunshine, Smith said the players should be pleased with the course and said the tournament should be “won or lost” on the greens.

MacDonald said ticket sales for the June 30 to July 6 event are “coming along,” but added he doesn’t have an overall goal in mind for how many people he’d like to see come out.