It came as no surprise that there were so many passionate golfers who gave up their time to speak to the City of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee considering a review of city courses on Tuesday, including a controversial potential of reducing Dentonia Park to nine holes.
What wasn’t clear at the beginning of the meeting was how many would speak in favour of repurposing green space for urban farms, parkland, walking trails, etc.
There were some, mind you, who would reduce the number of holes for repurposing and they have that right, but there were also some who unsurprisingly perpetuated the image that golf is an elite game for the well-to-do.
They were outnumbered. however. by a variety of golfers, including seniors, women and those of admittedly modest incomes who appreciated the affordability and accessibility of the city courses. There was more than one story about arriving at Dentonia with clubs in tow via public transit.
That belied the image that everyone who plays the game is a country clubber, but illustrated nicely that the city courses provide the activity and fun that should be available to all, no matter their age or income level.
Reducing the number of holes or golf courses would take the game away from many who would need to travel and/or pay more exorbitant green fees. Munis are a gateway to the game. It gets people started and allow them to play their entire lives.
A municipal course may one day produce a Masters winner. It probably won’t, but what’s important is that it provides valuable intangibles such as fun and memories.
There were plenty of high-profile people from the golf industry, associations and media who also spoke to their credit, but the tales of a diverse range of golfers, either from organized groups or just speaking from the heart, resonated with councillors.
To their credit, councillors were listening. It was even noted that a better job needs to be done in getting to know the users of the munis.
Those who stepped up on Tuesday got their message across in a big way.