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Toronto, April 1 (CINEWS): A declining popularity of golf coupled with soaring real estate market in Toronto threatens the existence of dozens of sprawling golf courses in the GTA. Currently there are 140 golf courses and half a dozens are slated to close.
Their owners talk about simple economics- re-developing their land into housing and commercial units would far surpass anything that running a golf course could ever yield.
These golf courses are really victims of a rising real estate value. The sprawling world-renowned Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville is one that is expected to close in the next few years and be replaced by million-plus dollar homes.
In an interview with a newspaper recently, self-made billionaire Rai Sahi, CEO and chair of ClubLink, which owns courses in Ontario, Quebec and the U.S., said much of it comes down to simple economics.
“The golf course business is getting challenging. Firstly, courses are open only half the year,” he said. “Truthfully, as a businessman if there was an opportunity to develop golf course into residential . . . it’s a better deal to build.”
Copper Creek in Vaughan is another on a growing list of golf courses slated for re-incarnation as housing developments.
These developments are sending chills down the collective spines of homeowners who paid a premium to back into open space, woods and rolling hills.
Many municipalities are also concerned despite the millions such developments mean for their cash-strapped cities because it would require alteration of official plans, shrink green space and require unforeseen infrastructural upgrades.
Running golf courses that can stay open just half the year and using the structures to hold weddings and seminars made sense as long as the land value remained low but suddenly all that changes when those values start to rise. Under these circumstances, owners are seduced by a windfall instead of modest annual returns. There is simply no contest.