“Now is the winter of our discontent,” is a soliloquy from Richard III, considered one of the most recognizable speeches from William Shakespeare to describe political and social unrest, with winter a bleak period of time and discontent, but offering hope in the second line, “made glorious summer by this sun of York.”
If this was high school English class, that might have the attention of those who now toil in the golf industry in Ontario, where they are now in the spring of their discontent with what was a glorious start to the season interrupted by a provincial government directive that golf courses close in a province in which COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked to the point of threatening the health care system.
How long the spring of their discontent goes, whether this lockdown continues to May 20, that is the question, but certainly the social unrest has begun since the announcement from the province came a week and a half ago.
That unrest stems from last season when golf operations in the province put a wide variety of safety protocols into play to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and if there were any cases of that plague stemming from golf, they weren’t reported. Add to that the physical and mental health benefits of the game.
Yet, as the flowers began to bloom, the industry was caught by surprise with the announcement that golf would be shuttered as part of the most recent lockdown.
Immediately an online petition began gathering names, just over 42,000 at last count.
Then, the Bridges at Tillsonburg went rogue and opened on the weekend. At last report, no fines had been issued, although that could change since Ontario Provincial Police were seen observing what was happening.
Deer Ridge Golf Club in Kitchener, meanwhile, began taking tee times for this Wednesday, stressing that it wouldn’t defy provincial lockdown rules. That club was reacting to strong rumours that the lockdown could be lifted this week and that golf courses would once again open.
So, will the spring of our discontent soon be over? Maybe, maybe not.
The rumour that Deer Ridge and other Ontario golf operations have heard comes from speculation that provincial golf representatives will meet with the government this week to discuss the matter, but nothing has been decided yet.
It is hoped that the provincial government will rescind the closure of golf courses the same way it reopened children’s playgrounds after initially closing them.
For that to happen, however, they believe cordial discussion is the way to get it done, rather than backing the government into a corner and perhaps stand firm on its original edict.
As Richard III pointed out, there is still hope in the political upheaval and social unrest during this pandemic and hope is what they take into any meetings with the province.
There are no guarantees, which is tough to take, but constructive discussion is the hope they have in reversing the current situation in the near future rather than in the long term, when social unrest is sure to bubble over the longer this goes on.