Ledgeview Golf Club’s tagline is “Where legends are born” – and perhaps no one exemplifies that more than the 2023 RBC Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor.
The Yale Secondary grad practically grew up on the Abbotsford course, initially becoming a member in middle school and learning all the ins and outs of the challenging course as a teenager.
Throughout his rise through the college and pro ranks, Taylor has continued to call Abbotsford and Ledgeview home. He still regularly plays the course and now hosts the Nick Taylor Charity Pro-Am event at Ledgeview. Through that event he has helped fund the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades golf program and local charities like Holmberg House and Starfish Pack.
And for all that Taylor has given back over the years, the course gave him a lot of love back after his historical win on June 11.
Ledgeview general manager Brad Clapp was golfing elsewhere when Taylor was en route to winning the event, but he said Taylor’s home course was rocking as the Abbotsford golfer battled for the top prize at the Canadian Open.
“We obviously have TVs in our new clubhouse and that was on all the screens and it was awesome,” Clapp said. “People came in to watch it and, when that (winning) putt went down, you could hear the roars not only from our patio but even some from the course itself.”
Clapp pointed out that Ledgeview was hosting a regional junior championship event at the time that Taylor was hunting for the Canadian Open title and the happy coincidence wasn’t lost on him or the junior players.
“It was really cool. They were coming off the course and it’s a tournament that both Nick and Adam (Hadwin, Abbotsford pro golfer) had both played in and probably won before,” he said. “And we’re hosting it at their home course and then they watch him make that putt. It was a good atmosphere and really symbolic on such a big day.”
Clapp, a Chilliwack product who has played in 44 PGA Tour Canada events in his career, stated that he played against Taylor in high school and his skill was well known throughout the Fraser Valley.
“He was always a better player than me,” Clapp said, chuckling. “Yale was always the team to beat and they won a lot of provincials.”
When Clapp took over as general manager in 2021 he made it a priority to make sure that PGA pros Taylor and Hadwin, along with legendary alum like James Lepp and Ray Stewart, were still involved in the club. He said that Taylor and his family live relatively close to Ledgeview (they also have a home in Arizona) and it’s not unusual to see the champion on the grounds at Ledgeview.
“Those guys are all part of our history; that’s part of the strength of Ledgeview and what we rely on as far as marketing but it’s also a lot more to do with our developmental programs,” he said, referencing the many opportunities for junior golfers at the course. “Keeping them involved with some of the changes we’ve made or just asking them for advice – it was nice to get input.”
Clapp said Taylor tends to blend in with other members when he’s at Ledgeview and never tries to flex his fame.
“Sometimes he’ll just show up on the putting green and he’ll be there for two or three hours in his shorts and whether people recognize him or don’t – he just fits in like a regular golfer,” he said. “We don’t try and promote it when he’s here because we know this is his happy place. This is where he grew up and he feels relaxed.”
Clapp said Ledgeview creates champions for a variety of reason. There are challenging and fast greens and fairways that are often narrow, and golfers are frequently playing off a side hill line, which makes it hard to predict where to take your next shot. But Clapp said Stewart told him one unique limitation that sets Ledgeview apart is the lack of driving range availability. Clapp said this forces young golfers to work on all aspects of their game and not just focus on pounding drives.
“We’ve only got seven stalls so growing up it doesn’t give junior golfers the opportunity to stand on the range and beat golf balls endlessly – there are often other members waiting and you want to share,” he said. “They move on to chipping contests or the putting green and, as much as we’re seeing a trend in Canadian development go towards swing and swing technology, hitting chip shots and putting is something you need to win at that higher level. You need a good short game and this course forces you to develop that.”
The Nick Taylor Charity Pro-Am typically occurs in September and Clapp expects it will be returning around the same time this year. Ledgeview will also celebrate Taylor’s amazing win with some sort of public event later this summer. The monumental win, the first by a Canadian at the event since 1954, is not lost on Clapp and he believes it will be remembered for a very long time.
“It was huge for Ledgeview and huge for all of Canada,” he said. “I might be biased because I’m a golfer but it seems like one of those moments that will transcend golf and is one of the best sporting moments ever for our country. We’re so proud of him and we want to continue promoting him and use him as the shining example of what is possible for our juniors.”