This is the first day in over a month that I haven’t been on one of the bikes. It felt strange. Instead, I packed up the golf clubs and headed to the golf course. I would have cycled but by the time I finished the round, the day was over.
I have a love – hate relationship with golf. I love the game. I was raised playing on a well designed summer course in rural Ontario. My mother taught me the game at an early age, and I have played it as long as I can remember. As much as I love playing, I also feel guilty playing. It is an elitist sport today. It is not how I learned the game. It didn’t cost much in those days, but that is not the case today. And, you have to question whether it is a practical, or environmentally friendly use of land when there is such a shortage of housing and green space in urban areas.
I am troubled with this dichotomy. On the one hand, I love playing the game, and the more I play, the more I want to play. But, on the other hand, I think there are more beneficial uses for the land, particularly in urban areas where there is an astonishing shortage of affordable housing. In Vancouver, where I live, we have the ocean to the west, the mountains to the north, and the US border to the south. The only way the city can grow is to the east along the Fraser River valley. As a consequence, Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, where the average house price now is over a $1,000,000, and where there are bidding wars on properties. One home was recently sold for $2,000,000 over the asking price.
The local course, where I have played for 20 years, is located centrally in the city on the Canada Line, the subway system built for the 2010 Olympics to quickly transport visitors downtown to the sporting venues. I love this course. Some think it is easy but it has its unique challenges. There is a proposal on the table to convert this course into a 9-hole course, and re-develop the land along the corridor into a mixed commercial and residential complex.
At first, I was opposed to the idea. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it is exactly what is needed in the community. The city owns this very expensive piece of real estate. By selling it to developers, they will make an inordinate amount of money. Maybe my property taxes will be reduced. What do you think 🙂 Once developed, it will provide a variety of living alternatives for people wanting to live in the city.
I didn’t think about any of this while playing yesterday. I was too busy trying to keep the ball in play. It was only afterward that I began to think of the consequences.
Will I continue to play? Yes. But I may be playing a 9-hole course soon. And, maybe I can find a way to keep my clubs at the course so I can bike there.