In Canada, like many parts of the world, golf courses are closed. Touted as a possible breeding ground for the COVID-19 disease, government officials at all levels have decided to close these facilities. This decision is a positive step to #flattenthecurve, however the powers to be should not make blanket decisions the will crush the future of the golf industry so they will have a chance to survive at the end of this very difficult journey.
There is a hope that the pandemic will subside quickly so the golf industry can get back to normal. Unfortunately, every day with zero revenue is one step closer to no longer being viable. I am not suggesting that golf be declared an essential service and be open to the public, however some efforts must be made to ensure that golf courses are in a position to open when the all clear is given.
A fellow golf blogger, Pete Robbins from White Dragon Golf, explained that his golf course is completely closed. This makes sense, except he also mentioned that zero workers are allowed to maintain the course during this prolonged shut down. This is where I believe the previous decisions by the politicians can be revisited.
The challenge for coal-faced workers and owners who make marginal profits is that a majority of their equity is tied up in the golf course. It takes a tremendous amount of work and effort to keep a course maintained and running. By letting the golf course go to seed by not working the land, it might not be possible, due to the cost and effort, for the owners to bring the golf course back its previous playing condition.
Back to the politicians making the blanket decision. As a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I understand blanket decisions. The reaction is to start with a very tight and drastic approach and then adjust the parameters as the days unfold. The politicians around the world are at the point where blanket decisions are needed to change the course of COVID-19. However, like all decisions, there should be an opportunity for some businesses to plead their case to allow some efforts to ensure the viability of their business at the end of this pandemic.
I will admit that my view is very narrow and I am focused on one area of the economy. I am not an expert, but I have enough experience to know that some businesses need care and attention to ensure that they are viable in a few months. The golf industry in Canada is one. We have such a short season that I believe it important that some workers are allowed to maintain the golf course to a minimal degree (following all safety protocols) to protect the multi-million dollar investment. If we do not allow for some sort of maintenance to occur, I am not convinced that the golf industry will survive in the long run.
To be a politician is to be second guessed. That is not my intent for this article. I fully support the decisions by my government to stem the tide of this pandemic. They are under a tremendous amount of pressure and deserve our gratitude to trying to keep us all safe. We as citizens, must do our part and follow the rules, recommendations, and guidelines to ensure that every business has a chance to move forward as we enter our new normal in a few months.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!