I support the reopening of golf courses & tennis courts when safe to do so. Outdoor activities are healthy, & are lower risk for the spread of COVID19. I have requested that @fordnation review the closure order. Please see my letter to the Premier. pic.twitter.com/bc1iWzyltN
— Stephen Holyday (@stephenholyday) April 27, 2021
If the golf industry gets to celebrate a reversal by the Ontario government on its decision to close golf courses in the province sometime soon, it’s likely to be met with a backlash from detractors of the game with more vitriol than ever stored up inside of them.
Oddly enough, while the industry makes efforts to get people outside for recreation in a safe environment, the ones who complain about that are the ones displaying signs of bitterness and COVID fatigue.
It’s the same, old story that golf is a game for the wealthy, although it isn’t realistic that every one of the close to 43,000 people who signed this online petition against the course closures or the people who flocked to the game in the first year of COVID consider themselves privileged.
The latest person to feel the fangs of the game’s detractors is Stephen Holyday, the Deputy Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor in Toronto who tweeted out that he supports the reopening of golf courses and tennis courts and that he had asked in a letter for the provincial government to review the closure order of such facilities.
Holyday isn’t the only one as Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie made a similar request last week.
As so often happens with social media, the nasty comments ensued in Holyday’s tweet, one respondent calling it “another privilege grab for the rich.”
Another comment suggested Holyday “examine your white privilege and advocate for what your constituent’s (sp) need…..the majority of whom who will never find themselves on a golf course ever.”
Perhaps, if they had been out to a golf course, particularly one of Toronto’s municipal courses, they’d see that this is about recreation, not privilege.
Certainly the fact that Holyday had sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford did not make golf/tennis a priority over other issues, which apparently is what that respondent wanted to believe. It probably took that person as long to write the comment as it did for Holyday’s office to write the letter and tweet.
Another respondent got really clever (sarcasm).
“Awesome! My butler is ready to start carrying my golf bag and my maid is keen to fetch my tennis balls. But make sure you keep the basketball nets taped up and the police ready to ticket park drinkers – wouldn’t want the riff-raff to gain outdoor privileges.”
The last time I played or watched basketball, it was hardly a place to promote social distance, nor were many other sports, for that matter. If the person who made that comment can guarantee that safety protocols will be followed on a public basketball court, then by all means, state your case to the provincial government.
Golf has made every effort to implement and enforce safety protocols during the pandemic and now has a proven track record that none of its detractors mention. In their minds, if golf or tennis facilities are open, everything else should be, as well. The reason it’s become a controversy is that people are using it to further their own agendas.
These are just a few examples of the responses to Holyday supporting a safe recreation, but his letter did get some positive feedback.
“Thank you for listening and advocating for your constituents despite the risk of backlash from a vocal minority,” said one respondent.
The majority, perhaps not as vocal in such a forum, includes thousands who signed petitions, course owners, employees and golfers across the province.