As I mentioned in this blog last week, I got started in the game at affordable public courses north of Toronto, so to hear so much recently about municipal courses coming under fire in cities across the land is disturbing.
There is a distinction between munis and affordable public courses, however. They may seem the same in the eyes of the general golfing population, but affordable public courses are run by private interests, while the taxpayer is on the hook for the munis.
There is little doubt that the munis are places where many of us got our starts in the game, but in an era when the word “privatization” is a popular one, should golf be any different than any other service that governments want to hand over to private interests or get rid of altogether?
Of course, there are plenty of other golf courses across the country that aren’t government run, so it isn’t that golf would disappear, just that it would lose an affordable, important gateway into the game.
While it may be affordable for the public, it isn’t so much on the operations side. Reader Michael Mather had a few thoughts on that subject below the original blog that we linked to above.
It’s been pointed out that governments provide other recreational facilities such as arenas, baseball diamonds and soccer pitches, not to mention parks and other green spaces for their citizens, but when do operational costs take priority, especially if dwindling numbers are enjoying golf facilities.
Munis aren’t the only courses feeling the pinch. Provincial courses in Prince Edward Island are facing similar challenges as is the Parks Canada-run Highlands Links in Ingonish, N.S.
Are tourism benefits and the jobs that golf courses provide enough to keep golf courses running, or should cold, hard numbers determine their fate in this age of austerity? Should governments be concerned about participation in golf or should that be left up to private interests?
That’s the subject of this week’s GNN Poll.
Should governments be in the golf business?
- NO (52%)
- YES (48%)
As always, feel free to voice your opinion on this or any other subject in the Comments section below this blog.