This isn’t meant to be one of those annoying media commentaries that brought everybody down when the economy was starting to tank, but I agree with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who is warning Canadians to control their enthusiasm.
Flaherty agrees that stabilization is underway and that signs of a recovery are there, but he wouldn’t go as far as the Bank of Canada, which recently hinted strongly that the recession may be at or near the end.
Instead, Flaherty warned Canadians to curb their enthusiasm and let’s see if growth occurs. Wise words.
That’s not meant to put ants in your picnic basket.
It would be to Flaherty’s advantage politically to declare the recession over, pointing out that the stimulus packages he put together are working perfectly despite the deficit they will cause.
While growth is predicted, any one of a number of factors could derail that and even if growth comes, recovery from the damage already done will be slow, so the cautious optimism that Flaherty is preaching is prudent.
In other words, don’t go jacking up your prices, expecting the cash to flow today. The days of charge it and they will come won’t be seen for quite some time, if ever.
Besides, there are more factors affecting golf courses than the economy these days, not the least of which is the weird weather that has been hitting many parts of the country as illustrated by the deluges that hit Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., during the just-concluded RBC Canadian Open.
In some areas, the saturation of high end golf courses has tilted the supply and demand scale in favour of demand, with golfers having a multitude of choices in places to play.
With good news on the horizon, it’s time for the industry, be it as individuals or as a whole, to stop and think about mistakes of the past and how we can avoid the unique challenges facing golf courses in specific areas of the country.
It may also be time to take a good, long look at programs you put into action when the economy was looking bleak. If, for example, you were stressing value to justify the green fee you were charging, perhaps that should also be the focus going forward into better times.
Growing the game should be at the top of our list of goals. It’s simple mathematics to figure out that more hard-core golfers fill up empty fairways in tough times. So, creating hard-core golfers is paramount whether they are juniors, women or ethnic groups not normally associated with the game.
It would be short-sighted to forget what we’ve learned in the tough times, even if the temptation is there to get giddy with news of economic recovery.
Once good times resume, it will be tempting to think that economic turmoil will never happen again during our working lives, but that is folly.
If we don’t learn from history, we are destined to repeat it.