Sunday, 24 February 2008

Golf on the Decline

Can’t help myself on this one. Having been in business (construction), I find it easy to take issue with the whining of golf course owners both private and public. Chasing after the dollars, it was so easy to overbuild capacity as though every last person was going to pick up the clubs and spend every last cent on the golf greens. And skiing resorts, along with other outdoor activities, also believed an endless supply of well heeled customers would forever generate enormous profits, fuelling even more rush to provide ever increasing amount of facilities. Whoops, all of a sudden people found differing sources of entertainment – perhaps at reduced expenditures – and drifted away. Now course owners expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab in order to maintain their profitability. They are quote: “seeking tax breaks, on the premise that golf courses, even private ones, provide publicly beneficial open space.” No they do not! Unless you are playing rounds of golf even public courses will have you removed from the premises, with force if necessary, due to so-called liability issues i.e. you may get dinged by a golf ball and react by suing the owners. Much the same rationale extends to ski areas attempting to prevent backcountry enthusiasts from passing through leased public land, unless of course, they purchase lift tickets etc. even if they do not use these items. If municipalities succumb to this blackmail, then any private citizen who sustains a reduction in their income should receive a property tax break on their home – hey, their front and back yards provide publicly beneficial open space. Going into business requires taking risks which are meant to be handled by either the owners or shareholders, not by the general public.

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