An exchange of opinions on Thursday between blogger Robert Thompson and I in the GNN Comments section can be put into simple terms.
RT believes when rankers talk, people listen.
I believe when bankers talk, people listen.
The discussion surrounds the magnificent, new Cabot Links in Inverness, N.S., which promises to be a beacon for Canadian golf courses. Being named to the top 100 in the world by Golf Magazine will apparently prove that, according to RT, but it doesn’t need proving to anybody who has played it.
He is correct when he says the magazine doesn’t care about my opinion on rankings, but neither do I care about its rankings or Thompson’s adoration of such lists. At least, we understand one another on that point.
Even if I hadn’t seen Cabot Links for myself last week, I’d rather have just read a blog by Thompson or any other writer who had been there or listened to somebody else describe the course than pay attention to some list that has no chance of successfully accomplishing its stated goal.
Apparently, validation from such lists are required by some, so they’re welcome to sit with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy and believe such lists are real in their futile attempts to put one course ahead of another.
The quality of the golf product at Cabot Links has never come into question. It’s that damn good.
The point of my Tuesday blog was to look at it as a business entity at a time when participation rates in this country are flat or declining, the American and European economies are staggering, personal investments are dwindling and recession in Canada is a very real possibility.
This is where the bankers replace the rankers as important influences. When golfers look at their bank statements over the next few years, will they see enough there to justify a trip to Canada’s east coast?
In the United States, many people in the travel industry are predicting that many Americans will be staying within their own borders and are more likely to take driving vacations than jumping on a plane.
In Canada, we already know of golf courses that have gone into receivership, so what will happen if global influences start to affect Canada and we slip back into recession? Of course, that’s a big if, but an important consideration nonetheless.
Can we compare Cabot Links to Bandon Dunes, as RT suggests? Believe it or not Rob, I do know how successful Bandon Dunes has been, but it opened at a time of relative prosperity and established its name, so I’m not sure that applies.
So, there’s no argument about the quality of Cabot Links, but I know, in my case, I’m bombarded with information about various products every day. For example, I just bought a smart phone that is great, but it’s already outdated after the recent introduction of a new model.
Will I run out and get it for all the new bells and whistles? No, I don’t want to spend more money just because it’s the latest and greatest. That’s the reality of the situation, so so no amount of buzz about the new phone is going to convince me.
In respect to Cabot Links, the hyperbole may draw a certain number of golfers who can afford the trip and maybe even some who can’t, but in the grander scheme of things, will hype, buzz, chat and rankings win out over mortgages, meals, car payments and the kids’ tuition?
If I were Ben Cowan-Dewar and/or Mike Keiser, I’d be doing all I could to spark conversation about Cabot Links as well. It’s good business to get people talking, even the ones who buy into the rankings, but will it sell the product if the economy starts to slide?
These are very real factors that will trump any subjective ranking, but for the record, I do believe that Cabot Links will be successful, even if there are some possible rough patches ahead, depending on the economy and participation.
We wanted to get readers’ opinions and if you check out this week’s GNN Poll, most people within the industry feel the same as I do about the success of Cabot Links, but see some challenges ahead that are affecting all of golf these days.
While you’re at the GNN Poll, be sure to cast your vote on this subject or join in on the discussion in the Comments section below.