That’s what a headline in the Toronto Star this morning would have you believe. It is a fact not known by many, but the truth is that writers — at least those of the newspaper kind — don’t write or even suggest headlines. So Jonathon Jackson, the freelancer who wrote the story in question in the Toronto Star this morning, can be let off the hook for a headline that is over the top.
In fact, he’s written a relatively interesting story — albeit one lacking in hard numbers or other examples — about the plight of Ontario’s golf industry following the recent failure of Owen Sound Golf and Country Club, which went into receivership. I’d have added several other clubs that have failed as examples of the struggles of the industry — like Glendale near Hamilton, Grand Niagara near Niagara Falls or even some of the publicly owned courses like River Road in London, Ont.
Truth be told an awful May has led to a terrific June for many clubs. Two high-end public courses I spoke with this week said June was up significantly, though May was also down. That said, rates are typically higher in June, and play is stronger, so having a better month can slightly offset the losses of May.
Here’s my quote in the story:
Other Ontario courses have run into trouble because of the marketplace and lousy spring weather. Some, including Owen Sound, were already hanging on by their fingertips and needed a strong start to the season, but it didn’t happen.
“A golf course would probably need to be doing between 23,000 and 30,000 rounds to really make a good go of it,” said Robert Thompson, a columnist with sympatico.ca and a blogger at CanadianGolf.com. “Most clubs, given the difficulties in May, were down anywhere between 15 and 35 per cent, and you can’t recover from that, not in the same year.”
He also agrees the Ontario golf market is oversaturated, based on a belief that the baby boomers were going to take up the game in higher numbers as they got older. There was also a mistaken belief that the number of younger players would explode as kids tried to emulate Tiger Woods and Mike Weir.
“Over the last 10 years, we saw an excess of golf courses built across the province, and we saw fees rise. At the same time I think we saw a flattening or softening of the general demand for it.”