According to well placed sources, several potential suitors are now circling [photopress:Mystic_18.jpg,full,alignright]around Ancaster, Ont.’s Mystic Golf Club. Today owner Roland Berger fired head professional John Hayward, and rumours of the club’s struggles and lack of rounds are the talk of the Ontario golf industry. According to one industry source, Mystic has barely done 2,500 rounds to date, in a market where 25,000 to 30,000 is expected.
One industry source told me today that ClubLink Corp. has approached individuals in a move that would see it acquire the club’s outstanding debt. On Friday, ClubLink said it would not comment on the rumour. Sources said other suitors are also said to be looking at acquiring the club..
Of course, the Mystic story was almost expected in a highly competitive market. Berger had no golf experience and placed a questionable green fee on a course in challenging conditions. The club initially charged $125 green fees and kept patrons away; but at a more reasonable $85 that it had been charging lately, the course should be a success. However, difficult course conditions, regular employee turnover (a super, two assistant supers, GM, and a head pro all since opening , and unusual choices in marketing certainly have hurt its chances.
Friday Update: Despite several calls to Mr. Berger asking for clarity on the Mystic story, I did not receive a return call. The club is operating normally, despite John Hayward’s departure. I reached Hayward today, and he commented that a lack of a strong business plan certainly hurt the course over the last year. Hayward was always a strong proponent of Mystic’s design, and the club has certainly lost a supporter with his departure.