One of my off-season junkets will be to California to watch world No. 1 Yani Tseng play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I had the pleasure of playing with Yani in a pro-am and we’ve corresponded since then. She’s a pretty neat lady and an unbelievable golfer.
She’s got a great future. She’s a first-class professional and it’s great how she’s educated herself in English, so she can speak with fans in North America, as well. Annika Sorenstam, who has been her mentor, has had a great influence on her.
The reason I bring this up is that I thought it might be difficult to get a place to stay near Rancho Mirage. In previous years when I’ve gone down, I’ve rented a house and had other people come along.
There are a ton of properties that can be rented at a reasonable price and there’s no lack of properties that are up for sale at great prices, at least for the buyers. I know several people who have bought down there, but you also feel for people feeling the effects of the American economy these days.
For all the talk of a possible recession in Canada, we’ve gotten off pretty good compared to the U.S. I think that Canadians are cautious, with the attitude of burn me once, I’ll feel it but won’t go near the flame again. We’re cautious at the best of times and after the Americans got caught, we learned from it.
What I struggle with is that the golf courses down there that are in the same business as us. We run a tight budget and we’re open for five months a year, but they do it day-in, day-out all year. They get roughly the same amount of rounds in 12 months that we do in five, but look at the costs.
A lot of our staff members are gone by October, so I don’t have the year-round labour costs that American operations do, but they’re trying to get $125 and up for a round and just aren’t getting it in many cases. I know somebody who’s a partner in a golf course in the Phoenix area and the dollars and cents of it are scary.
It will come around, but I don’t know when. People ask me about when it will change and my answer is I’ve got nothing for you with that question. I don’t see it getting better right away and that’s the scary part.
Despite its challenges, Canadians in the golf industry here should feel lucky with our economy, but at the same time, you can’t help feeling for brothers and sisters in the golf industry down there.