I spent Friday on the road at various meetings and didn’t get home until late in the afternoon when I read an e-mail that said the Royal Canadian Golf Association and National Golf Course Owners Association had been turned down in their efforts to get golf a slice of a $500-million pie for recreation funding.
You may have noticed that the most recent federal budget allocated funds to a Recreation Infrastructure Canada (RInC) initiative that is aimed at stimulating the economy by creating jobs through government investment in recreation infrastructure projects such as arenas, community centres, swimming pools, etc.
Golf is receiving nada from RInC despite RCGA executive director Scott Simmons and his NGCOA counterpart Jeff Calderwood pointing out that golf courses regularly invest in infrastructure and expansion and, as a result, can provide the shovel-ready projects that fall under the RInC initiative.
Calderwood and Simmons also point out that golf is the highest participation sport in the land, so with golf being denied by RInC, there is outrage among some that the game is being dissed by the feds, who are alleged to be downplaying golf’s status as a recreation and a sport.
That may be over-reacting to the decision and somewhat misleading.
I suspect that the main reason for the federal government has denied golf in this initiative is that most golf courses are privately-run businesses and therefore, well down the priority list when it comes to this initiative.
The other thing I wonder about is how this money would be used if golf did get a little piece of that $500-million pie.
Let’s say something like $5-million went to golf infrastructure programs. With so many golf courses in this country, how would the RCGA and NGCOA decide who gets the dough to improve facilities and I imagine there would be a long lineup to get some of that cash.
From what I’ve heard, nobody has answered those questions, but as far as golf being dissed as a sport and/or recreation, I wonder if a town or city would receive a more positive response if its mission was to build a municipal, low fee golf course that was accessible to the masses.
I’ve put in calls to Calderwood and Simmons. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, we’ve posted a question, asking readers if they feel golf should be getting a portion of this government money in the GNN Forum. Let us know what you think.
WATCHING THE WEATHER REPORT: The good news is that warm spring weather has allowed for some early golf course openings in certain parts of the country. The bad news is that winter is still striking with recent snow out west and a wintry feel predicted for Southern Ontario this week.
It appears that golf course operators are watching the weather reports closely as 64 per cent of respondents to our current GNN Poll feel that the weather will have the greatest effect on their businesses in the early part of the season as opposed to the struggling economy, which earned 36 per cent of the votes.
There’s still time to let your voice be heard by casting your vote at the GNN Poll on the home page.