PEI

Island golf courses on track for record bookings in 2021

Officials with Golf PEI say member courses have not been merely weathering the COVID-19 pandemic storm — they are having a relatively strong season.

Local member rounds helped compensate for lack of golfing tourists this season

The Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, pictured in 2017, is one of the 17 Prince Edward Island courses represented by Golf P.E.I. (Fox Meadow Golf Course)

Officials with Golf PEI say member courses have not been merely weathering the pandemic storm — they are having a relatively strong season.

Paid rounds at the 17 courses so far this year are down by about 14 per cent overall, which isn't as big a hit from COVID-19 as many tourism-related businesses experienced.

Non-resident green fees are down, but the amount of member play is up by more than 40 per cent, said Mark McLane, the executive director of Golf PEI.

"It's been surprising," he told CBC News.

The year exceeded expectations, given the pandemic's toll on travel, with courses reporting more local residents signing up. And McLane said the future doesn't look too bad.

"Our bookings for 2021 are the highest they've ever been," he said. "The Canadian travelling golfer has pretty much given up on that March, April trip to Florida, Arizona, Myrtle Beach.

"So they're kind of looking to, you know, where within Canada they can travel to play golf. … Obviously, they may be cancelled if travel restrictions are still on next year. But golfers seem to be an optimistic bunch."

Golfers seem to be an optimistic bunch.- Mark McLane, Golf PEI

McLane said the final numbers aren't in yet for October course bookings, but indications so far suggest a strong month with lots of good weather for golf.

"We even said in our reservation centre the other day, you know, it's mid-October, and our phone continues to ring. We usually get a little bit of a break." 

Some Prince Edward Island courses plan to stay open into mid-November, he added, as people plan last-minute regional trips because they won't be making out-of-country trips this winter. 

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