So a few weeks back I played at Tarandowah near London, Ont. Anyone who has read this blog in the past will recognize I have a certain fondness for Tarandowah, a modest public golf course that I think gets it right. Its fun to play time and again, and I’ve frequented it when visiting my hometown, which is about 15 minutes from the course.
After a recent round, I went to input my score using Golf Canada’s handicap software. Now I don’t play events, but I like keeping a handicap and enjoy inputting my stats after each game. The problem was no Tarandowah. It was no place to be seen, though it had been there only a few weeks before. I contacted a friend at Golf Canada, and he said he had noticed that Tarandowah wasn’t there and that he’d heard it had something to do with unpaid dues. Fair enough. So I contacted Bryan Row, the owner of the club, and he said there was a mixup at the GAO, which manages member clubs for Ontario, and that it would be fixed soon.
I played Tarandowah last weekend, taking my good friend Fairway Stevie to see what I had been talking about. After the round I went to input my score, which was pretty solid, and still no Tarandowah. This time I was fed up. I’d now played three rounds at Tarandowah and couldn’t input them.
I contacted the GAO. I asked why I couldn’t input my scores. Claire Welsh at the GAO got back to me promptly:
At this point in time, Tarandowah is not a member club with the GAO/Golf Canada, so rounds played at the club are not valid for handicapping purposes. We’re hoping the situation is temporary – but that is how it stands at the moment.
This strikes me as part of the problem golf organizations in Canada face when trying to attract members. I’m sure the GAO is correct and Tarandowah isn’t a “member club.” Fair enough. But as a member of the public, why do I care? I understand that for the GAO and Golf Canada, these member clubs have been a big source of revenue. The problem is why go to the trouble of being a member if I can’t input my scores? I could just use some free online software — and it would have Tarandowah. Interestingly I can input American course scores and they have no connection to the GAO or Golf Canada. This seems wrong to me.
Most consumers don’t have an active handicap. They don’t play in events and don’t care. But I’m trying and I still can’t do it properly. The GAO and Golf Canada need to offer the average golfer value– not offer something less than what you can get for free elsewhere.
I hope Tarandowah sorts the situation out. I hope the GAO and Golf Canada consider that not covering all Canadian courses only hurts their members.
In the meantime, I was tipped to something on Golf Canada’s site called “manual entry.” Type in Tarandowah’s name and its slope and rating and I’m in business.