Golf is a consumer business relying on a discretionary spend. With the interest rates rising and mortgage payments increasing for those who chose an open mortgage, times will necessarily get tougher. There will be fewer funds about for discretionary spending. This will impact courses like ours where we are the entry level course. Fortunately for golf in Ontario, we will be closing likely in November and the depth of the impact of the battle with inflation will likely rage through til January at least – likely longer.
The lingering effect of this could travel into next summer – we just don’t know.
We do know that golf is a loved sport by those who play and players will do what they can to keep playing.
But golf has to reciprocate in this relationship. We have to compete for attention in an ever-crowded sport-entertainment field. As a course owner, we will be remaining in the hearts and minds of as many of our players as possible over the winter months. For people in our locale, we will have the simulator open for business when the course closes – keeping the golf candle lit through the winter.
Will the LIV controversy affect our players? It might – if the large golf population is offered a better option of an association that cares about their playing pleasure. I am hopeful we as an owner-led industry might come together to make this happen. It is quite simple if the owner group does it. We are talking about our golfers and we likely have a good relationship with the bulk of the 6million golfers in Canada. They come to our courses. They chat with us about their games and their overall golfing experience. They like us. Even when we have to ask them to catch up to be closer to the group ahead of them.
Time will tell….