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New Score Golf column posted

If you still haven’t gotten your fill of Cuban golf, my complete golf architecture column on Les Furber’s Varadero GC is now up on Score Golf’s website. Find it here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Interesting article. However, I am surprised by your statement:

    “Cut off from many of the basic amenities due to its strained relationship with the U.S., Cuba struggles with things North Americans take for granted, like oil and construction equipment.”

    Huh? Does oil and construction equipment come only from the U.S.? Are not basic amenities available from countries such as yours, not to mention the rest of the world?

    For goodness sake, if you are going to write about Cuba, at least acknowledge the fact that Castro and his communism are to blame for the terrible state of the island. It’s one of the prime examples of intellectual genocide of the last fifty years.

    It’s a disgusting blot on the world community, and your country, as well as yourself (apparently), seem to support its dictator. Oh sure, let’s all go down there, have a good time playing golf, laugh at the poor locals who can’t afford it.

    I’d like to read an article which actually purported to understand the historical context in which GOLF is being played in a dictatorship. Get real, figure it out.

  • Will: I’ll tell you what I don’t understand — the US does business with plenty of dictators. It is just a question of convenience. I don’t understand why Cuba is still isolated 50 years after the revolution. Thousands were killed in Vietnam, but the US does business with that country. China is arguably one of the biggest human rights violators, but I don’t see Walmart being cut off any time soon. The Cuban situation has more to do with the votes of Cuban Nationals in Miami than it does with human rights….

    As for the golf, well, Castro has still got a long way to go…

  • Robert,

    Your response is non-responsive. If you will answer the points I made in my comment, I will answer yours.

    I will be happy to engage in a discussion of the merits of supporting golf in a dictatorship, it’s a worthwhile topic. There are many relevant arguments. I will not, however, engage in a shouting match, in which neither side listens to the other.

    So, respond to my original points, and I will respond to yours.

  • OK Will, here goes:
    Huh? Does oil and construction equipment come only from the U.S.? Are not basic amenities available from countries such as yours, not to mention the rest of the world?

    This is true. However, construction equipment and other necessities are imported from more distant locales and thus cost more. If the US industrial engine were opened, costs would fall.

    For goodness sake, if you are going to write about Cuba, at least acknowledge the fact that Castro and his communism are to blame for the terrible state of the island. It’s one of the prime examples of intellectual genocide of the last fifty years.

    Cuba is certainly partially to blame, though I think communism has little to do with it. Cuba’s dictatorship uses Communism in name alone. Largely it embraces a market economy, though one with significant gov’t influence, especially in the realm of education and medical care.

    It’s a disgusting blot on the world community, and your country, as well as yourself (apparently), seem to support its dictator. Oh sure, let’s all go down there, have a good time playing golf, laugh at the poor locals who can’t afford it.

    Mexicans can’t afford to play many of Nicklaus’ courses in the country, but does that make golf in Mexico bad? I don’t understand your point. By going to Cuba, Cubans are employed. The second largest industry is tourism, largely Canadian, German and French. The people in this sector in Cuba live lives better than many other Caribbean islands I’ve been to. And yes, they play the game of golf. Believe it or not. I’m guessing you haven’t been there, so how you would know something to the contrary is beyond me.

    I’d like to read an article which actually purported to understand the historical context in which GOLF is being played in a dictatorship. Get real, figure it out.

    Historical context? You mean United Fruit and how well they treated Cuba and its workers? Were they so much better off then?

    I agree the Cuban government doesn’t make a lot of sense. But then again, neither does China’s gov’t, and I don’t see the Americans cutting off ties with them. In fact, what would happen to Wal-Mart if China and Vietnam, both Communist dictatorships, no longer were allowed to do business with the US?

    I find it fascinating the level of hysteria in the US over Cuba. Is it because of the influence of Cuban Nationals in Florida, a key swing state in the last two elections? The US has let the issue of communism drop in Vietnam, and 50,000 Americans were killed in that country. I don’t think there was a lot of American blood shed in the Cuban revolution. Mind you, some American fruit companies did lose a lot of land….

    Anyway, the point of the story wasn’t meant to debate Cuban politics. I’m not in favour of Castro and Will, if you and I met, we’d have a wide ranging discussion on the subject. Communism doesn’t work in Cuba because it doesn’t really exist. But the options (ie Haiti) don’t seem that palatable either.

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