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Crowbush turning 20!

It’s hard to believe the Links at Crowbush Cove on Prince Edward Island will celebrate 20 years of operation this year.
I can recall walking around the course with designer Tom McBroom when Crowbush was still under construction. Doesn’t seem that long ago.
Crowbush has received many accolades over the two decades and consistently ranks among the top public courses in the country.
This year’s birthday will not go unnoticed. Ryan Garrett, general manager for the Island’s four provincial courses – Mill River, Brudenell and Dundarave being the other three – told me there will be green fee specials at all the provincially run courses, a draw for a trip to the 2014 Masters and a thank-you day July 4 for people involved with Crowbush over the years. There most likely will be other events as well.
Many golfers both off and on the Island feel Crowbush is the cornerstone of P.E.I. golf. If I recall correctly, the P.E.I. government built Crowbush to develop the Island’s reputation as a golfing destination. At that time there were a lot of U.S. visitors but unfortunately not long after Crowbush was built the U.S. numbers began to fall off, many felt for economic reasons.
Crowbush, I believe, did spark a golf course building boom on the Island, which all helped to develop that golf destination reputation.
Crowbush is a tough course, especially for us short hitters and especially tough when the wind is blowing. But it is always groomed to perfection and the seacoast location with the ocean, sand dunes and fescue grasses, make it one of the most attractive and appealing courses anywhere.
The P.E.I. government often gets taxpayer criticism for having the four courses which lost close to a million dollars last year. But the government argument has been golf attracts a lot of people so the spin-off money far exceeds the loss.
However, the government last year had called for lease or purchase proposals from the private sector on the four courses but recently decided it would operate them again this year since none of the proposals received met government expectations.
Sounds like a similar scenario to Parks Canada’s attempt to rid itself of Highlands Links in Cape Breton. The private proposals weren’t up to snuff.
But you can be sure Crowbush, which will likely open for the season around May 17, and the other Island courses, will be groomed to perfection and it’s always worth the trip to play them.

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Tom Peters

Tom Peters is a freelance writer based in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, a suburb of Halifax. In December 2009 he retired after 41 years with The Halifax Chronicle Herald. He covered competitive golf regionally for the paper in his early days as reporter and over the years has freelanced golf travel articles to a number of major golf and business publications. He is a member and a director of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada.

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