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The Star on ClubLink Investigation: "Shoddy"

The Toronto Star waded into the fray on the death of three young men who were drinking at the Lake Joseph Club and track down Jim Molenhuis, a ClubLink executive who left months before the accident, but was still charged in the case. They also talk to me, an apparently well-known blogger.

Here’s my take:

Robert Thompson, a well-known golf blogger, says the charges have shaken the sport’s community. Course owners are worried what kind of precedent could be set if the charges result in convictions.

If found guilty, the employees could face a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail. ClubLink, which has also been charged, could face a fine of up to $250,000, police said.

Thompson said it’s hard for young seasonal staffers in ritzy clubs to turn down members, even young ones. “In these types of clubs, members do not take no for an answer. These are exclusive clubs that people pay an awful lot of money for and the employees of the club are often seasonal workers.

“How are you going to tell a guy, or even the son of a guy who is worth 10 or 12 million dollars, `No, I’m not serving you?'”

Thompson and others have questioned the logic of charging board directors who have little to do with the company’s daily operations.

The full Star story is 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.

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I don’t have a problem with the directors getting charged – I would have been surprised if they hadn’t been.

    From a public relations standpoint, and I think this counts as a major one for Clublink, I think they should have been much more proactive in announcing what steps they have taken since the incident – I assume they have taken a number. Also, what changes are they making – a simple one would be something like under the age of 22 put a max on # of drinks served. I don’t think you’d get many complaints from the parents who are paying the bills.

    This incident was a tragedy, but how sympathetic would members and the public be if something like this happened again at one of their facilities.

  • Henrye, I understand where you are coming from but REALLY whatever happened to the responsibility of the person drinking.

    I for, one, do not want any more of my civil liberties taken away.

    I heard a comment on CFRB yesterday on the “Bald Guys” that the person drinking should not be responsible as he didn’t know what he was doing since he was so drunk. I guess, in today’s society, we can murder someone and use the drunk scenario as a defense and get off.
    Ummmmm…….

  • Greg – exactly. You need a license to sell liquor in Ontario for a reason. So it is sold responsibly and in accordance with the laws and regulations of Ontario.

  • Greg, those 3 young men and 1 young woman (she drank too) were not forced to drink what they did. They did so by their own choosing. I don’t think there was a gun to their heads.

    Most young people today have DD’s when they go out, why didn’t they? BECAUSE they thought they were above the law. My children always have DD’s when they go out but they are RESPONSIBLE for their action.

    Its really a shame but we can’t keep making laws just because we have failed as adults in the upbringing of our children.

    I was brought up in cottage country and this is exactly the way the city slickers act when they come up for the weekend. We always expected a couple of serious accident every season. This is not new but because the father of one has money it is earth shattering.

    This is a very tough situation for Clublink.

  • First to Henrye, age should have nothing to do with it, I have seen lots of people over the age of 22 out of control at bars and golf clubs. Secondly, all that was mentioned was that 31 drinks were on the tab. Were all of those drinks consumed by the party in question or were some purchased for other patrons? I have been with groups of people in a club situation where I could easily have that may drinks on my tab yet I only had 2-3 drinks. Now, I am certainly not disputing that the driver was intoxicated, and yes he should not have been driving. I am questioning the evidence of the people displaying outwardly visible signs of intoxication. Blood alcohol level and visible signs of intoxication are mutually exclusive, all kinds of people can be well over the legal limit and display zero signs of being intoxicated. If multiple people served the group and they showed no signs of intoxication the case will be a tough one. If the government wants to make an example out of this case then they should suspend the liquor license for a year or longer, not ruin the lives of the young seasonal workers.

  • isn’t the root of the problem here the fact that it was a kid with a problem who chose Clublink as his ” hole ” for the day? He could have been irresposible anywhere else and apparently had been earlier in the year. Let’s not blame an establishment for what is clearly parental failure to instill values in their children. I am the proud parent of 2 recently graduated engineer sons and I can assure you that my boys were no strangers to the grape during university years but I was and continue to be impressed as to how they got the message that you don’t drink and drive when i watch the arrangements they make ahead of time for their outings.

  • Just a ‘well-known golf blogger’?

    Apparently The Star, a local newspaper serving a Canadian city, needs to increase their budget in the research department.

  • even young staff working at clubs serving wealthy members have to take liquor serving courses with a variety of names and all courses cover how and when to stop serving alcohol to intoxicated clients. The only charges should be to the person in charge of the bar that day, and there should be an investigation to see how the Club has reacted to insure it can’t happen again. If nothing, then charge the directors and let them testify.
    Every private club I know has the same problem and there are licensing laws out there, to protect the staff and the drunk who wants “just one more”. I’ve been both. 🙂

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