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Urban Golf Courses


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#1 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:14 PM

First off, I'm going to start this thread off by saying I'm not a golfer. However, I have always thought that urban golf courses are a waste of valuable space and resources. Unlike public parks, they cater to either only an elite few or those with enough money and interest to actually use them. They also use large amounts of water to keep the courses in shape. By my account their is 7 "urban" golf courses in the CRD: Royal Colwood, Gorge Vale, Cedar Hill, Victoria, Uplands, Mt. Doug and Royal Oak. There are also several courses that are on the outskirts of urban areas like Olympic View, Bear Mountain, Prospect Lake, Cordova Bay and Glen Meadows. So, my question is, do you think there is a place for urban golf courses or do you think they could be put to better use? Is it feasable for a developer to ever purchase a course and redevelop it?

#2 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:23 PM

Personally, I would love to see at least a few of the urban courses in the area redeveloped. Royal Colwood with it's proximity to the GG, 3 major arterial roads, and future rapid transit would make a great mixed use development. Row houses, mid and high rise condos and apartments a public park around Colwood Lake, and a transit center could be interspersed. This would also tie in with development around Colwood Corners and hopefully the eventual redevelop of West Shore TC into a urban business center for the West Shore. This redevelopment could house in excess of 15,000 people (including areas like Colwood Corners and West Shore TC). Optimistic for the West Shore? Yes, but hopefully as people become more aware of conserving water and using our space better, it can become possible.

This is just one example, but Cedar Hill and Uplands both have great proximity to Camosun and UVic, Gorge Vale is a huge site that could house thousands of new residents, plus all the potential of the other sites as well.

#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:42 PM

I don't know. All those courses except Cedar Hill are privately owned, I think they can do whatever they want to with their land. As long as we charge so little for water, they also have no incentive to change practices (like planting other type of grass in little-played areas), or dig their own wells.

And the Cedar Hill course also incorporates a very nice trail all around it. I think it's well done.

You might recall Gorge Vale was suffering from declining membership and pleaded to add some residential on the course to help their bottom line as they went through a rough spot.

Royal Oak is very well priced, and I bet you'd be surprised how many of the residents (mostly seniors) in the condos surrounding are members, it's a very high percentage. Probably higher than Bear Mountain owners' membership.
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#4 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:51 PM

Anyway, when we were kids, we set up a links course up and down our street. So we golfed the front nine up one side of the street, the back nine back down the other side, from one front lawn to the next. Closest-to-the-pin was the game each hole. And all you needed to carry was a 9-iron or sand wedge, so you didn't need a cart, or even a bag. You rarely lost a ball. Sometimes it might come up short and hit a driveway, if that day's pin placement was short, then it might veer off onto the street, and carry on down for several "holes" distance. But you'd still usually recover the ball. If you ran fast enough, sometimes you'd get it before it came to rest.

That was the ultimate urban golf course. No green fees, the biggest "hazard" might be a neighbour that took exception to the divot you left in their lawn.
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#5 Fern

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:53 PM

Hi, long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm not a golfer either, but I do know a lot of people pretty passionate about the game and they are always complaining the urban courses you listed are full, full, full. As far was being a "waste", I guess that depends on your values. I don't play soccer or baseball, so could argue that those facilities are a waste. The private courses you have listed such as Colwood and Victoria are just that: built on private land paid for by members so I guess it's comparative to saying houses built on large lots in Uplands are a waste of valuable space and resources (which may well be your opinion, however, the person footing the bill would probably disagree). I did a research project for one of my environmental studies courses at UVic on one of the courses you've mentioned and was suprised at some of the ecological benefits provided by the course that would likely be eliminated if redeveloped into residential properties. It certainly challenged the notion that golf course are primarily chemically-drenched monocultures in which all wildlife is to be systematically eliminated (Caddyshack, anyone?).

I can't speak to the feasibility of buying a course and redeveloping it. I do know there are definitely courses that are money sinks, as many times they are built to increase the value of the real estate around them rather than as revenue generators in and of themselves. Does anyone know of any specific instances where a course has been successfully undergone conversion to residential/commercial use?

#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:58 PM

Welcome to (posting to) the forum, Fern!
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#7 victorian fan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:04 PM

And the Cedar Hill course also incorporates a very nice trail all around it. I think it's well done.


And just steps from my house.

#8 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:07 PM

Hi, long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm not a golfer either, but I do know a lot of people pretty passionate about the game and they are always complaining the urban courses you listed are full, full, full. As far was being a "waste", I guess that depends on your values. I don't play soccer or baseball, so could argue that those facilities are a waste. The private courses you have listed such as Colwood and Victoria are just that: built on private land paid for by members so I guess it's comparative to saying houses built on large lots in Uplands are a waste of valuable space and resources (which may well be your opinion, however, the person footing the bill would probably disagree). I did a research project for one of my environmental studies courses at UVic on one of the courses you've mentioned and was suprised at some of the ecological benefits provided by the course that would likely be eliminated if redeveloped into residential properties. It certainly challenged the notion that golf course are primarily chemically-drenched monocultures in which all wildlife is to be systematically eliminated (Caddyshack, anyone?).

I can't speak to the feasibility of buying a course and redeveloping it. I do know there are definitely courses that are money sinks, as many times they are built to increase the value of the real estate around them rather than as revenue generators in and of themselves. Does anyone know of any specific instances where a course has been successfully undergone conversion to residential/commercial use?


Hey Fern, thanks for the reply.

First off, in regards to your baseball and soccer facilities analogy, the major difference is people pay very little (and only in municipal taxes) to use those facilities. Sure, some teams schedule time and have to pay for that, but outside of those times anyone can go to Topaz Park or wherever and use the facilities. Another major thing, is a lot of kids use the facilities and being close to them is something a lot of families like. No family wants to buy next to a golf course so the kids can play on a chain link fence. As VHF mentioned, most courses are privately owned and cater to those elite few who can afford to use them. Most are also fenced and thus not open to others using them. So I personally don't think that's the best analogy (not to mention, a baseball/soccer field takes up much less space).

Second thing, I never have taken any course (although maybe I will in the next few years) but I would definitely believe that a residential would eliminate some ecological benefits of a golf course. However, residential growth isn't a static thing. As Victoria continues to grow, people are going to need space to live. Some sort of natural area will need to be developed. Would you rather it be a golf course that is already in close proximity to roads, schools, public transit, utilities, etc or somewhere on the edge Colwood where anyone would have to drive to go anywhere (and be farther from everything), more roads would have to be built, new schools, and in the end, draw more people away from core urban areas?

Last thing, I did a bit of research but haven't been able to find too many examples of ANY urban golf courses being redeveloped. I'll post any findings I have here, though.

#9 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:08 PM

I don't know. All those courses except Cedar Hill are privately owned, I think they can do whatever they want to with their land. As long as we charge so little for water, they also have no incentive to change practices (like planting other type of grass in little-played areas), or dig their own wells.

And the Cedar Hill course also incorporates a very nice trail all around it. I think it's well done.

You might recall Gorge Vale was suffering from declining membership and pleaded to add some residential on the course to help their bottom line as they went through a rough spot.

Royal Oak is very well priced, and I bet you'd be surprised how many of the residents (mostly seniors) in the condos surrounding are members, it's a very high percentage. Probably higher than Bear Mountain owners' membership.


I did a little research but couldn't find any information, but do you know what golf courses are zoned as?

#10 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:09 PM

And just steps from my house.


The trail could easily be incorporated into a new development and much of the existing parkland could be preserved. I just think something like mid-density student/family housing would be a much better use of space there.

#11 Fern

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:09 PM

Personally, I would love to see at least a few of the urban courses in the area redeveloped. Royal Colwood with it's proximity to the GG, 3 major arterial roads, and future rapid transit would make a great mixed use development. Row houses, mid and high rise condos and apartments a public park around Colwood Lake, and a transit center could be interspersed.


Well, I think you'd have to offer all the people who have paid megabucks for their lifetime memberships one huge swack of money, and even then I bet a lot of them wouldn't budge. Royal Colwood has a long history, established in 1913 when I believe there was only farmland surrounding it, and then of course there's the "Royal" designation from King George V. I'm sure there would be members and non-member's screaming about heritage values if someone proposed paving it. If it was public land, development might be at least on the table for discussion given your points regarding its prime location, however, unless the club finds itself in some real financial trouble, I'm thinking it's highly unlikely.

#12 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:15 PM

Well, I think you'd have to offer all the people who have paid megabucks for their lifetime memberships one huge swack of money, and even then I bet a lot of them wouldn't budge. Royal Colwood has a long history, established in 1913 when I believe there was only farmland surrounding it, and then of course there's the "Royal" designation from King George V. I'm sure there would be members and non-member's screaming about heritage values if someone proposed paving it. If it was public land, development might be at least on the table for discussion given your points regarding its prime location, however, unless the club finds itself in some real financial trouble, I'm thinking it's highly unlikely.


I definitely understand that any change to the Royal Colwood would be very difficult and unlikely, I was just using it as example of what COULD be done with that space. I do have hope that something beyond the financial aspect could lead to changes like better understanding of smart land use, water use, etc though for most of the people that RC caters (and the owners), I doubt that matters much...

#13 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:23 PM

Another major thing, is a lot of kids use the facilities and being close to them is something a lot of families like. No family wants to buy next to a golf course so the kids can play on a chain link fence. As VHF mentioned, most courses are privately owned and cater to those elite few who can afford to use them. Most are also fenced and thus not open to others using them. So I personally don't think that's the best analogy (not to mention, a baseball/soccer field takes up much less space).


Be careful here. Take a look at Uplands rates for juniors, 10-20 years old, and even those for anyone up to 29 (Intermediate I and II):

http://www.uplandsgo...ership_fees.php

WOW! Is what you might be thinking. That's WAY cheaper than hockey or even soccer dues, and you need not buy expensive equipment to play golf. I'd say an enterprising young man/gal could likely outfit him/herself with all the gear for free, with handouts from friends and family. Everyone seems to have an old set of clubs in their garage.

And you could say that golf, arguably more than any team sport, teaches well, etiquette, better.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#14 Fern

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:24 PM

Hey Fern, thanks for the reply.

First off, in regards to your baseball and soccer facilities analogy, the major difference is people pay very little (and only in municipal taxes) to use those facilities. Sure, some teams schedule time and have to pay for that, but outside of those times anyone can go to Topaz Park or wherever and use the facilities. Another major thing, is a lot of kids use the facilities and being close to them is something a lot of families like. No family wants to buy next to a golf course so the kids can play on a chain link fence. As VHF mentioned, most courses are privately owned and cater to those elite few who can afford to use them. Most are also fenced and thus not open to others using them. So I personally don't think that's the best analogy (not to mention, a baseball/soccer field takes up much less space).

Second thing, I never have taken any course (although maybe I will in the next few years) but I would definitely believe that a residential would eliminate some ecological benefits of a golf course. However, residential growth isn't a static thing. As Victoria continues to grow, people are going to need space to live. Some sort of natural area will need to be developed. Would you rather it be a golf course that is already in close proximity to roads, schools, public transit, utilities, etc or somewhere on the edge Colwood where anyone would have to drive to go anywhere (and be farther from everything), more roads would have to be built, new schools, and in the end, draw more people away from core urban areas?

Last thing, I did a bit of research but haven't been able to find too many examples of ANY urban golf courses being redeveloped. I'll post any findings I have here, though.


Yes, the analogy probably wasn't the best one, more my attempt to discuss that one's criteria of "useful/wasteful" differs greatly from another,s. I actually overheard a conversation at a bus stop not long ago between two seniors complaining about their tax dollars going into the new playground at Fisherman's Wharf, because there were "too many playgrounds already.". And again, the elitist argument may work for public courses (though someone already mentioned green fees at some of these are quite reasonable), but not for private, because like it or not, I can't run around someone's back yard, either.

As for developing land, I agree, from an environmental perspective, it is better to develop in core areas than out in the boonies, which is why I am definitely for densification of areas already zoned for residential use. But right now, I believe there is still a big hole in the ground where Silkwind was supposed to be built, not far from Royal Colwood, so until areas like that are at capacity, it might not be a good plan to further convert urban greenspace (especially private ones that would be prohibitively expensive to secure).

#15 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:33 PM

Be careful here. Take a look at Uplands rates for juniors, 10-20 years old, and even those for anyone up to 29 (Intermediate I and II):

http://www.uplandsgo...ership_fees.php

WOW! Is what you might be thinking. That's WAY cheaper than hockey or even soccer dues, and you need not buy expensive equipment to play golf. I'd say an enterprising young man/gal could likely outfit him/herself with all the gear for free, with handouts from friends and family. Everyone seems to have an old set of clubs in their garage.

And you could say that golf, arguably more than any team sport, teaches well, etiquette, better.


If you click on the Junior(10-20) link, you'll see that it definitely isn't just $250... from the PDF that opens:

JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP
Non-Voting Member
Bylaw 2.1(2)(a) Juniors: a boy or girl, between the ages of 10 and 20, inclusive,
with restricted playing privileges as established by the Board.
ENTRANCE FEE: $250.00 (plus 12% HST of $30.00) = $280.00*
DUES: $53.00 per month (plus HST of $6.36) = $59.36*
Payable in advance & billed monthly
JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT $6.00 per year (plus HST $0.72) = $6.72*
ASSESSMENT:
BCGA DUES: BOYS - $29.00 (plus HST of $3.48) = $32.48*
GIRLS - $33.00 (plus HST of $3.96) = $36.96*
Billed annually in December
PLAY: After 2:00 pm daily providing there is no
interference with Active, or Senior play
* ALL PRICES QUOTED SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE

source: http://www.uplandsgo...8a23ff5b1e4228e

so, if my math is correct that is $1031.52 for the first year(males, females is slightly more) and $751.52 each subsequent year. plus there is the clothes + shoes that the dress code dictates as well as clubs, balls, tees, etc. Soccer is definitely cheaper and in the Victoria Minor Hockey website it says the most expensive hockey level is $595.

#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:38 PM

^ You think $53/mo is expensive for all-you-can play? I don't.
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#17 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:43 PM

Yes, the analogy probably wasn't the best one, more my attempt to discuss that one's criteria of "useful/wasteful" differs greatly from another,s. I actually overheard a conversation at a bus stop not long ago between two seniors complaining about their tax dollars going into the new playground at Fisherman's Wharf, because there were "too many playgrounds already.". And again, the elitist argument may work for public courses (though someone already mentioned green fees at some of these are quite reasonable), but not for private, because like it or not, I can't run around someone's back yard, either.

As for developing land, I agree, from an environmental perspective, it is better to develop in core areas than out in the boonies, which is why I am definitely for densification of areas already zoned for residential use. But right now, I believe there is still a big hole in the ground where Silkwind was supposed to be built, not far from Royal Colwood, so until areas like that are at capacity, it might not be a good plan to further convert urban greenspace (especially private ones that would be prohibitively expensive to secure).


Don't get me started on backyards, those are even more wasteful then golf courses ;) I agree, everyone has different ideas of where their money should go and what is useful/wasteful though that doesn't mean any of those people should be making municipal decisions.

As for the second part, yeah, I don't see any golf courses being redeveloped any time soon. A lot of it is changing peoples minds that they don't need a 3000 sq ft house and twice that in land out on the edge of town for them and their cats.

#18 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:47 PM

^ You think $53/mo*^+# is expensive for all-you-can play? I don't.


*after 2 pm
^as long as it doesn't interfere with any one else
+plus $40/year in other fees
#prices subject to change

I'm just saying, it's not cheaper then other sports and places a lot of restrictions on the youth.

#19 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:59 PM

*after 2 pm
^as long as it doesn't interfere with any one else
+plus $40/year in other fees
#prices subject to change

I'm just saying, it's not cheaper then other sports and places a lot of restrictions on the youth.


Most kids are in school until at least 2pm most of the time. What sports are less expensive?

Hockey - no
Soccer - no
Lacrosse - no

It's all-you-can play on a property that is not subsidized by tax dollars. I think it's cheap. No special clothing or footwear is required. If a kid plays every single day for 2.5 hours it's $2/day.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#20 bicycles

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 04:07 PM

Most kids are in school until at least 2pm most of the time. What sports are less expensive?

Hockey - no
Soccer - no
Lacrosse - no

It's all-you-can play on a property that is not subsidized by tax dollars. I think it's cheap. No special clothing or footwear is required. If a kid plays every single day for 2.5 hours it's $2/day.


hockey is $595/year (cheaper)
soccer (what is found) says $75/year which is way cheaper
lacrosse I believe is more expensive.

but theirs also swimming, baseball, tennis, etc. I'm just saying, most parents are going to choose to enroll their kids in the cheaper sports. They either want to save the money or just don't have the money. No kids will play every single day. I used to play golf at a course in the interior and in the summer you had to book your tee times a week in advance.

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