It’s no secret that there’s a bit of an imbalance in the world of golf at the moment—too many golf courses and not enough golfers to fill them.
It’s not just an American problem, either. Pressure on golf course operators north of the border has mounted as well, and in the case of one particular province that has a reputation for natural beauty and a collection of scenic, pleasant golf courses, that could spell doom.
This issue revolves around the province of Prince Edward Island, which is known as one of the best-kept secrets in North American golf.
A recent study by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) was released last week that took a look at the effect of government involvement in the Prince Edward Island golf industry over the last three-quarters of a century.
I’ll spare you the boring details, but the upshot is this: the AIMS study concluded that the provincial government should not have been so hands-on in developing the P.E.I.’s golf courses, calling the enterprise “a policy failure.”
Indeed, the province has taken an average of a $1.4 million loss on the courses it manages each of the last three years. The seven courses under provincial control have all been for sale for more than seven years, to no avail as yet. Will P.E.I. get tired of holding onto some of the courses and decide to close them, cutting their losses?
An opinion piece in Canada’s The Guardian newspaper says P.E.I. “would sell its courses if it got fair value for the properties, plus guarantees to protect Island tourism and golf industry.”
But we’ve heard that tune before. There are numerous examples of golf courses being bought out of trouble with the “promise” of being kept alive, only to be run into the ground in order to make way for housing or eyesore commercial development.
What do you think? Should Prince Edward Island sell off its golf courses and take their chances with the word of private owners and developers? Is this a real threat to the future of one of Canada’s great golf destinations? As always, let us know in the comments.