Unfortunate and disappointing news in Ontario today for the very vibrant golf industry.
Additional restrictions to more industries were announced by the Ontario Government Friday afternoon in their battle to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Among the measures put forward is the extended stay-at-home order was the closing of golf courses and driving ranges. The order takes effect as of 12:01 am on Saturday, April 17th. The previously announced four-week order was also extended by two weeks, taking that to at least May 20.
The We Are Golf Alliance, which consists of key golf stakeholders in Ontario, including Golf Ontario, National Golf Course Owners’ Association, PGA of Canada – Ontario Zone, Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association, and Canadian Society of Club Managers, says they made efforts to to prevent the golf industry closure. In a letter addressed to “Golf Industry Partners / Key Stakeholders” they shared that they were, “engaged with the ON government throughout this process, right up to, and including, this morning.”
They say their key message was that golf is a safe activity and one that will help ensure the physical and mental well-being of Ontarians when they need safe recreational options.
The letter also stated: “We are disappointed that the ON government made the decision today to close golf courses and driving ranges as of April 17th. But it is clear that they made a broad decision with health and safety as the number 1 priority to eliminate any non-essential activities, including removing access to outdoor recreational amenities. Your We Are Golf team is committed to continue to communicate with the government in an appropriate manner to have them fully understand the benefits of having golf open as a recreational option. We believe that golf is an important outlet and will continue to make this case with the hope that we are able return to allowing courses to open as soon as possible.”
In 2020, the Ontario golf industry was able to pivot after an initial closure, re-opening on May 16, 2020 with well-defined protocols in place, and thrive as an industry. Record participation levels were reached in the balance of the season. many course opened back up under those protocols in recent weeks.
The We Are Golf group says that while, for now, the golf courses in Ontario will be required to close that they, “will continue to push for the safe inclusion of golf courses and driving ranges as options that can be open in this stay-at-home order.”
We’ll keep you updated on any details as this story develops.