Today, the post is nothing to do with Romania. Above is a picture of the fourth green at Cornerstone Golf Course, just south of Tobermory Ontario. I was happy to complete a round of 9 holes here this past Saturday.
Yet it looks like mine will be one of the last rounds every played here, as the owner, unwilling to continue absorbing operating losses and unable to sell, has decided to close the course.
Apparently it’s a world-wide trend. Courses are closing at an alarming rate across our continent, as younger golfers are simply not coming along in sufficient numbers to replace their elders. The Economist tells me that demographics are even threatening courses in Scotland.
Now, our little course was no Augusta. You can see some damage on the green caused by this summer’s drought. The second little red flag out there is from an attempt to get some additional revenue from FootGolf.
But it was a pleasant, relaxed course only four minutes from our cottage. I could head out for nine holes on a quiet day and be back inside two hours. It was a place I where I got my 10,000 steps, made some friendships around the clubhouse and — yes — improved my golf game at least a little bit. With no alternative golf course within an hour of Tobermory, the round-trip plus 18 holes down the peninsula will make for a six-hour absence, which just isn’t going to happen as often.
No-one will hold a silent march for inconvenienced boomer golfers. In fact, a candidate for Mayor in Toronto has just promised to shut three public municipally-owned courses and convert them to ‘public spaces’ for things like cultural facilities and cricket fields, she said. (Someone might explain to her that golf courses open to the public are also, by definition, public spaces.)
There has always seemed to be some fairly significant barriers to golf around Toronto. The courses are either far out of town or expensive, and they’re often busy and pretty regimented in their expectations of how quickly golfers are going to progress through the course.
So I had been pretty happy to find a relaxed course to join near where we spend our summers. And now, frankly, pretty annoyed that it is closing. Apparently we can’t fight demographics.