Province to operate golf courses in 2013

Teresa Wright
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Golf PEI

Tourism P.E.I. wants to sell the four provincially owned golf courses this year, but government announced this morning the province will continue to operate them in 2013.

In a news release issued this morning, Tourism Minister Robert Henderson says his department is still navigating through the RFP process with groups interested in owning or managing the courses.

But more time is needed.

“We want to get the best deal possible for Island taxpayers, so we are not going to rush into a deal that does not achieve our goal,” Henderson said.

The province issued a request for proposals on the management or

ownership of Brudenell River, Mill River, the Links at Crowbush Cove and Dundarave in the summer of 2012.

Government officials are currently working with interested parties as they finalize proposals.

Tourism P.E.I. identified the sale of the four courses as one of it priorities in its 2013 strategy, unveiled at the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.’s annual meeting in December.

But Henderson says in today’s news release government needs more time to work out a deal.

“By operating all four courses this year, we give ourselves more time to negotiate with the interested parties,” he said.

“We also maintain the overall quality of the courses and maintain the marketing strategy to keep these courses as top-of-mind destinations for golfers.”

Last year saw an overall improvement in the performance of the four courses compared to the previous year. Total rounds played increased by close to 1,500 compared to 2011.

But the courses continue to operate at a financial loss. Total losses in 2012 totaled just over $800,000, which was almost $100,000 less than budgeted.

The province expects the process of transferring ownership or management of the courses will continue to move forward over the coming months.

But Henderson would not say when an announcement on the future of the courses would be made.

The golf industry is an economic driver for the province. It generates upwards of $16 million per year in tax revenue for the provincial government and local municipalities, and contributes about $61 million to the Island’s GDP.


The Guardian will have more on this story online later and full details in tomorrow's print edition.

Organizations: Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.

Geographic location: Iceland, Brudenell River, Mill River

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Recent comments

  • bitter islander
    March 15, 2013 - 20:08

    its very simple to make more money ( LOWER THE PRICES ) right now those courses are way too expensive to play for us poor islanders ... me and my friends only golf there once per year because of the price so this year is crowbush and then we are done for the provincial courses for the year and i know alot of people that do the same so drop the price to about 50 bucks a round and i bet you tripple the amount of players that come to play which in turn will spen more on other amenities at the course and $ 1000.00 membership will prob bring in about 1000 more members... now im no wes but do the math. try it and you can thank me later

  • reality check
    March 14, 2013 - 19:18

    Here's a suggestion. Just close them. Completely. The 1970s comprehensive development plan era of free federal money is over. Hate to tell ya....

  • Brian French
    March 14, 2013 - 13:17

    That dog don't hunt.... Assuming a contribution to GDP - unless they're double counting - of $61 million = about 16000 contributors for the spend in PEI = 15000 rounds per course = $1 million in revenues per course. A typical profitable course gets 30,000 rounds or $2.5 million. It costs almost as much to maintain and operate an unsuccessful course as a successful one.

  • steveO
    March 14, 2013 - 12:30

    The only reason there was 1500 more rounds played last year was because of the weather. let's face it, our climate does not support a large scale golf operation. There are too few days a year to play. Why do you think the golf courses that do well are all in warm climates?

    March 14, 2013 - 12:27

    Can someone please explain to me how the only golf courses losing money are the Government courses? All the private course are making money or else they wouldn't be in business. One comment was right on the money when they stated that lower and fair prices would bring the golfers. I recall a few years back when a Government official was asked why the green fees were so high and his response was to keep the locals off the courses and make room for more tourists. How did that work out???

  • SAP
    March 14, 2013 - 11:08

    I love how so many of our economic engines on PEI are always losing tax payers money.

  • Watcher
    March 14, 2013 - 10:33

    What a bunch of BS. Tell us the real truth. No interested buyers ........ no negotiations taking place ......... we are being lied to. Only thing that is probably factual is the fact that your getting 16mill in tax revenue. You'll get that anyway. I question the $800,000 losses. How many expenditures are getting pushed to other departments to show a drop in losses. Are you factoring in all of the expenses that the Tourism Dept. currently hides on belhalf of Golf Links ? Basically in my mind its $800,000 to ensure the votes keep rolling in. We'll ....... the end of the line is near for a bunch of these guys now that they got their two terms in so you will be seeing a bunch not reoffering.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 14, 2013 - 10:17

    More failed economic policy decisions from the Ghiz gov and poow wittle wobbie henderson. Why keep them open if they are losing money? Right, to prop up the profits of the failing tourism industry. FAILING, because if it wasn't the industry could stand on its own and would not need any government help, period. No new marketing strategies to make your buddies money. Government has got to start being its citizen's friend again, and divorce big business. Government was created, to do for its citizens, what the citizen's could not do for themselves, as individuals. They are supposed to protect us from the greater evil forces in the world such as people playing God (GMO foods, cloning), greedy corporations, despots, and other bad things. When the people we elect to make decisions can no longer tell good from evil we find ourselves in the mess we are in. When you know you are going down the wrong path, stop, turn around, and go back the way you came in. This no longer happens when governments make mistakes. They just carry on, defending those wrong decisions like a little boy getting caught doing wrong and denying it.

  • anita stewart
    March 14, 2013 - 09:59

    Suggestion..Lower the green fees so that the ordinary joe can afford to play on them.

    • Dave
      March 14, 2013 - 13:17

      Anita, the problem with these courses is not that they are too expensive, just the opposite. Golf on PEI is really cheap as it is. The reason they are still opening them is simple, how else will people get their weeks?

  • correct me if i got this wrong
    March 14, 2013 - 09:51

    The courses are worthless and about to be handed to friends in the party at the right time before the next election? You're not as rich as you think? Losses like Homburg,Convention centre, Golf Courses, Lawsuits fees, all being hidden from public view. funny eh?

  • JonJon
    March 14, 2013 - 09:30

    Has Tourism PEI or the gov't ever thought of doing a media blitz down in the U.S to promote the island as a golfing destination. The Americans are crazty for golf. You have to spend money to make money.

    • Moe
      March 14, 2013 - 13:57

      They make it sound like they had numerous offers but just not the right one yet........What a load of crap. If someone offered them a dollar for a joke, they would be the proud new owners of this moneypit they call a golf course(s).