I have no doubt that ClubLink will one day pull the trigger on a deal with a developer for Glen Abbey. It may take years, it may take months and it may take hours, if you buy the rumour that was circulating on social media on Monday.
Knowing my luck, the deal will come down about an hour after I post this blog, but that’s the risk you run as is repeating in public something you hear from sources, but doesn’t come true. In the case of the Abbey rumour, I recall first hearing it back in about 2008.
That was 10 years after ClubLink bought it from the Royal Canadian Golf Association for $40-million.
The story emerges seemingly on an annual basis and almost at the same time of year. I looked back on previous stories on GNN and other sources and found that it traditionally comes up between July and October each year.
I’m not sure if that has any significance or not, but it does fall into the post-RBC Canadian Open period and maybe it has something to do with the Abbey’s association with the tournament over the years.
What we do know is that it will be a blockbuster deal if and when it happens, not unlike the $412-million sale of York Downs on the other side of Toronto in Markham to developers, which explains why the media is ready to jump on it in a 24/7 instant news world.
The fact that Glen Abbey sits in one of the most desirable locations in the Toronto area is fuel for such speculation, especially considering this story from CBC indicating that house prices (and land prices) are still in acceleration mode in Toronto (and especially Vancouver).
Affordability is a major concern, but from a ClubLink perspective, a big chunk of land in Oakville, Ont., is going to fetch a huge price, the latest rumour being $500-million.
If ClubLink is indeed considering putting it on the market, it’s going to do it at the peak of the market and before any correction, which may explain the timing of the latest rumour.
If a deal is close to getting done, it’s because analysts have studied the market and determined the time is right.
That’s the business side of it, but there’s an emotional attachment to the Abbey with its unofficial status as home of the Canadian Open. One thing I noticed about the most recent social media postings is that many of them asked if 2016 will be the last Open played at the Abbey.
There would also be a ripple effect that went along with a sale. For example, where would the offices of Golf Canada and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame relocate?
With all of that in mind, we wait for a blockbuster to take place and jump every once in a while when we hear some scuttlebutt.
The latest rumour may be true. It may not, but the fact is we’ve heard this so many times and for so many years that really, the only thing that will add anything to it is the official word from ClubLink.
Speculation became reality on Tuesday when it became official that Canada is indeed in a recession, which doesn’t come as a surprise to many GNN readers.
A recent GNN Poll showed that 57 per cent of respondents were seeing signs of a recession at the golf businesses where they’re employed.
The question now is how hard will it hit?
According to this story by Tamsin McMahon for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s economy shrunk for the second straight quarter and while there was serious concern based on based on oil prices, there were definitely positive signs, as well.
How concerned you are with the recession will be based on who you listen to over the next few months. In the past, the media has been accused of negative economic reporting and that will likely continue this time around, fueled by rhetoric in the federal election.
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be emphasizing the positive signs that indicate this will be a short-lived recession, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair will be working the negative to their advantage in their respective bids to become PM. In other words, don’t expect answers, just political spin.
In other words, there will be both sunshine and storms going forward until the election takes place in October. Considering the various economic indicators and the perspectives of the party leaders, we’re heading into a very confusing time when it comes to the overall economy.
The positive for the golf industry is that most operations won’t feel the recession any more than we already have, if at all. Despite what has been a shrinking economy, rounds are up, according to recent statistics and anecdotal evidence from operators around the country.
With September here, this news comes as the season begins to wind down and news of this recession comes about the same time of year as the last one in 2008-2009. By the time, operations open again in the spring, the recession may be a distant memory.
Of course, it may depend on where you are in the country. Alberta, for example, has been hit hard due to the price of oil, but according to reports there, people are still playing golf. Nationally, most people I talk to haven’t set off any alarm bells with news of a recession.
That’s not to say there’s no need to concern, but perspective should ease the burden.
Like the Glen Abbey rumour, we’ve been hearing that a recession has been coming for a long time. Unlike the Abbey rumour, the recession has become official, but how bad it gets will remain the subject of speculation that can only trip you up while tending to more important matters.