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THE MOJ: Legends being born on Abbotsford public golf course

Taylor’s amazing Canadian Open win another mark in the ledger of Ledgeview Golf Club
Canadian Nick Taylor kisses the trophy after winning the Canadian Open golf championship in Toronto on Sunday, June 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

It’s a golf course that has produced three golfers who have combined to win an NCAA Championship, four PGA Tour wins and numerous amateur and junior titles.

It’s not a high-end private course such as Shaughnessy or Point Grey but rather a smaller public course out in the Fraser Valley by the name of Ledgeview Golf Club in Abbotsford and it has produced the likes of James Lepp, Adam Hadwin and this year’s Canadian Open Champion in Nick Taylor.

Taylor became the first Canadian to win the Canadian Open Championship since 1954 when his 72-foot putt for eagle on the fourth hole of a playoff against Tommy Fleetwood this past Sunday provided this country one of its most historic sports moments.

It marked the third PGA Tour win for Taylor and his first tour victory since the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It also capped off a ‘Canadian Triple Crown” for Taylor, who also has a Canadian Junior Championship (’06) and Canadian Amateur Championship (’07) to his credit.

Hadwin’s PGA Tour win was at The Valspar Championship in 2017 and he has 23 Top-10 PGA Tour finishes on his resume. He actually had a strong performance in the Canadian Open, finishing in a tie for 12th, but made more headlines for being tackled by a security guard when he made a dash to join Taylor and his caddy David Markle in their victory celebration.

Lepp became the first Canadian male to win the NCAA individual championship while at the University of Washington in 2005. He also won two Canadian Junior Amateur championships, four B.C. Amateur titles and two Canadian Tour wins to boot.

“It must be something in the water,” jokes Lepp, when asked why Ledgeview has produced this trio of golfers.

Ledgeview Golf Club isn’t the longest course – from the tips it’s a par-70, 6,131-yard layout – but what this course lacks in length, it makes up for in a vast array of shots that are needed to be successful.

“It’s a little bit of luck having all three of us from there but the course also has a lot to do with our development. It’s perfect for a junior golfer because it’s not that long. So, when you’re 10 or 11 years old, you’re playing a smaller championship course. It actually preps you for when you graduate to longer courses,” explains Lepp, who no longer golfs competitively as he focuses on several business endeavours.

The fact that Ledgeview is a mountain course forces anyone playing it to learn how to play various lies.

“It’s got a lot of slope and you are forced to golf. There are no flat lies out there, so you are forced to adapt. You are ahead of the game because you learn how to golf. That’s the defense of the course – the slope. It’s only 6,100 yards, so you have to be on the right side of the hole. You have to have a short game to keep the ball close to the hole if you don’t hit the green. They’re all good things for building a strong skill set,” explains Lepp.

And if the course layout wasn’t challenging enough, Lepp notes that Ledgeview’s greens are some of the best around.

“When we grew up the greens were known as some of the nicest greens in Western Canada. They were always smooth and quick,” he notes.

The one thing that Ledgeview didn’t have during the time that Lepp, Hadwin and Taylor were developing their games was an outstanding junior program but Lepp is quick to point out that’s changed.

“I think now with what Brady Stead is doing with the junior program – he’s the junior coordinator – he’s doing a lot of great things now. But when Nick and I were out there and Adam, the junior program was just kind of like junior night. You’d go out there and play. There wasn’t any coaching or instruction really. Not that they weren’t trying to do that but it was just part of that era. That wasn’t a big thing back then at any course,” says Lepp.

As for the impact that Taylor’s win will have on young golfers in Canada, Lepp draws comparisons to Mike Weir’s Masters win in 2003.

“I was at the University of Washington and we were playing an event at the University of Illinois. We were driving home from the tournament, and we stopped at an Applebee’s - or something like that- and I couldn’t even eat because I was watching the Masters. I was so nervous for Weir to win and he did and it inspired us. And now 20 years later, Nick’s win is doing the same for a lot of young Canadian golfers. I’m sure there are plenty of kids at Ledgeview with the junior program that they have set up that would have been watching that that would have had butterflies in their stomach. Now they’re going to be that much more excited to put in that extra effort in trying to become the next Nick Taylor,” says Lepp.

The title page on the Ledgeview Golf website boasts a headline that reads “Where Legends Are Born”.

With Taylor’s win at the Canadian Open serving as inspiration, Ledgeview just might produce another legend.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.

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