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York Downs Club Not For Sale, Says GM

Every year there’s a rumor that York Downs, the private club in Markham, is planning to sell its land and move to a new location. I’ve heard that was in the plans again and wrote that on the site earlier this week, but the club’s GM Leonardo De La Fuente took the time to write and say that’s not the case:

A good friend of mine …  brought the article below to my attention. I don’t normally respond or follow up to articles such as this, but out of courtesy, I wanted to advise you that your “G4G” spy has provided you with inaccurate information. The Club is not contemplating a move, nor has it contemplated a move from its current location.

York Downs is approached every year by a developer to sell some portion or all of its lands. As the largest single undeveloped land owner in Markham, Unionville, with a land asset in excess of $300 million we hear about such rumors adnauseam.  Also, the capital share restructuring program recently completed by the Club was not motivated or initiated for a sale. We simple wanted to ensure that our post 1981 members have the same rights and conditions associated with their shares as those members that came before them.  

Although I don’t share your perspective on the golf course or the practice facility, I can appreciate some one else’s point of view. With this in mind, I would like to extend an invitation to you and to “Slattery” to join me and my Golf Professional for a round of golf at York Downs sometime this summer.

Holy cow — $300-million? If I were York Downs I’d sell out now — move the club to somewhere north with a new design. Maybe they could use Tom McBroom, who reworked the course many years ago, or hire someone to recreate the Charles Allison/Stanley Thompson design that the club left in the early 1970s. Either way, if I were a member I’d be putting up a “for sale” sign ASAP and looking for a new home. However, I wonder if there are property tax issues on the land that might hinder a sale, as is common at many Ontario clubs.

Regardless, I’m always appreciative of someone who provides their perspective, as Mr. De La Fuente does, and doesn’t come across as aggressive or abrassive. A pleasant change from most e-mails I receive and a classy move.

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Jeff Lancaster

Jeff Lancaster is the Publisher of CanadianGolfer.com.

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