Sometimes, you can’t blame the close-minded for painting golf as a game for the wealthy, although the reality is that you pay $56 at prime time with a cart to pay the Bridges at Tillsonburg, the Ontario operation that is thumbing its nose at COVID-19 restrictions, while others follow the law and remain closed.
That fee sounds reasonable, hardly the type of place with a landing strip for private jets to bring in the rich and famous for a round, but once a critic of golf makes up his/her own mind, even if that person is ignorant on the subject, it’s usually a done deal and facts aren’t allowed to get in the way.
In the Bridges at Tillsonburg’s case, those who think a green in golf has something to do with dollar signs might be confused by the fines golfers are getting from Ontario Provincial Police as they exit the course – anywhere between $750 and $1000 for being in defiance of lockdown restrictions imposed by the province.
Now, we’re talking serious coin. Those golfers could use that kind of dough once we get through this pandemic to play some of the high end courses that golf’s detractors love to write and talk about when hammering the game.
At last count, the Bridges at Tillsonburg was facing three counts of failing to comply and while it will be determined in court, the golf course faces a maximum fine of $10 million, if convicted.
Also risking some hefty fines are they rogue golfers who have been spotted playing Fanshawe Golf Course in London, Ont., even though that municipal golf course is closed in adherence with restrictions. You can read more here.
These people have money to waste, but that doesn’t make them wealthy. It just means they have more bucks than brains, but it’s a handy hook for the game’s detractors to hang their argument on while the industry is accused of attempting to receive special privileges.
Meanwhile, ActiveTO, a Toronto-based program to close major streets to provide more space for walking and cycling while physical distancing is a go, which is fine as it promotes getting outside for exercise during lockdown, the same mission as golf.
Thankfully, We Are Golf in Ontario continues to meet with the provincial government and nearly halfway through the closing of golf courses, there has been no special privileges granted thus far, which must make the game’s detractors happy because they’re getting their way, but embarrassed because it illustrates their whole premise of wealth and privilege is flawed.
On Thursday, it will be two weeks until golf courses can reopen on May 20, at least as it stands right now, and as We Are Golf continues its dialogue with the provincial government, it isn’t out of entitlement, wealth and privilege.
It’s about mental and physical health and businesses and employees who could be operating and working in a safe environment.