Canadian Golfers And Courses Also Feel The Crunch

The Globe and Mail offers an interesting Canadian perspective on the golf slowdown.

2009 promises to be dismal for a golf industry in Canada already hurting after poor summer weather this past season.

“Golf courses will be forced to change what they’re doing,” says Barry Forth, general manager of Copetown Woods Golf Club outside Hamilton. “They can’t be expecting people to pay full price to play golf in four and a half hours any more.”

Canadians are among the world’s most avid golfers, with about 21.5 per cent playing at least once a year and spending about $13-billion on the game, according to a 2006 Ipsos-Reid study conducted for the Royal Canadian Golf Association.

But participation is highest among men over 50, an age bracket whose retirement funds have tumbled right along with the stock market.

“The prime demographic for golf courses has been really clobbered,” said David Pratt, a real estate agent specializing in golf course properties.

A growing aversion to pricey golf memberships is evident at online golf forums, where “people are selling their memberships valued at 80K, and asking about 25 or 30K for them,” Mr. Pratt said.

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