Interesting to see the fight over the third hole at Islington G & CC has heated up again, with the club apparently not learning from past mistakes, and the Sammut family being as pigheadedly obstinate as ever.
The history of the battle between the Sammut family, who built their home perversely close to the property line with the golf course, and Islington GC, which has attempted to fix the situation is fairly well outlined in a Toronto Star story. Of course, in typical bleeding heart Star fashion, the article’s leftist bent creeps through what is supposed to be an impartial news story.
Anyway, the essence of the story is this — the Sammut family acquires a property right next to the third hole of Islington and proceeds, despite some protests, to build a home within feet of the course. House starts to get hit by golf balls and the family, who are apparently very dense, are suprised that this is happening. After all, they only built a house next to a golf course.
A court battle ensues and the course hires Cam Tyers of Carrick Design to rework the third hole, so that tee shots are played away from the home. A small fence is erected and the club tells me in an interview that they’ve learned from past mistakes and the problem is apparently resolved.
But it isn’t. The Sammut family continues to bitch. The club offers to build a big fence to protect the house and the family still complains. Eventually, figuring there’s little more they can do, the club goes ahead and builds the fence anyway, cutting down some trees along the way and apparently outraging citizens around Toronto. Except me. I couldn’t care less whether a few trees were taken down. Happens on golf courses all the time. I’d argue we should take more trees down on golf courses.
The Star covers the whole affair in today’s story with the necessary outrage and self-righteousness. I particularly love this quote:
“It’s enough to make one weep,” said one observer.
Indeed it is — though not because four old maples were taken down. More because this silly fight is still continuing. The golf club has done what it can — and on a tight piece of property taking a hole out of play and replacing it is not really an option. Innercity courses across the country should be paying attention to this one and rallying around it — because it is only a matter of time before this happens to another historic course.