Remember two years ago when Maclean’s ran this story about the demise of golf that drew a lot of backlash for its negative outlook on the state of the Canadian golf industry.
Truth be told, it was the headline “Why Canadian golf is dying” that that instantly had the claws coming out from the industry, which took it from that point on that it was nothing more than a hatchet job. It wasn’t, just more of the same stuff that’s been discussed for years in the story.
The industry can take comfort in the fact that it such an attitude isn’t exclusively aimed at golf by Maclean’s, which used a Bank of Canada survey of business managers for a more recent story here.
The headline, “Business hasn’t been this crummy in 40 years,” is more general in nature and suggests a negative outlook for overall business investment in Canada for the foreseeable future.
As it was in the golf story, there’s truth to what they say, particularly that business investment has been in retreat for the last five quarters and stuck in neutral before that, dating all the way back to 2012.
Adding to this is the fear of what might happen after Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union and while there was considerable initial shock on the markets after that happened, a correction has since happened and, at least in my humble opinion, it will remain that way.
The other big factor from a Canadian perspective is the decline in oil prices the past couple of years.
While all of the factors mentioned in the story may have an effect on the golf industry in terms of the availability of disposable income, note that the Conference Board of Canada is quoted as saying “continued lack of investment has the potential to severely limit Canada’s future growth.”
Emphasis the word “potential” in that statement. It’s a warning, not reality. In fact, most in business don’t even know what the new normal is these days.
Panic isn’t prudent when it comes to the economy, but caution is justifiable in all sectors in this day and age. There’s little doubt that the golf industry is experiencing internal and external pressures, but being frozen in fear is an indication of panic.
There’s little doubt that we face challenging times, but risk-reward isn’t just a term to be used on the fairways.
It applies to business itself, including the golf industry, where we’re taught the value of patience when we play and letting good things come to us, instead of trying to force it. Yet, when the opportunity arises, you go for it.
The Maclean’s story points that many businesses aren’t going for it these days.
It’s interesting to note in the current GNN Poll on the home page that most respondents, or 47 per cent, would score business this year a par, while 26 per cent give it a birdie and 11 per cent give it an eagle as of this writing. Only 13 per cent give it a bogey and three per cent gave it a double bogey.
The positive outweighs the negative, according to that poll, so being frozen by fear seems counterproductive if there’s business to be had, but what’s the new normal in available business? The way business is these days, I would say as much as possible.
So, by all means, be cautious in your approach, but every now and again, an opportunity will arise and you can just stand there or take your shot. There are still rewards to be had out there in this environment, despite what the headlines are telling you.