Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Back on the Bandwagon

Needless to say, it's been a long time since I've posted anything. 
2018 was a very challenging year for me, and as a result, doing blog posts just didn't hit my radar.
Now here we are in 2019, and I do plan to get back on this pony.
One new thing of note: we have invested in two golf simulators here at Victoria Park East, and we're "dipping our toes" into the waters of the indoor golf market. Here's a picture of one of the units:
We actually had these installed in November, but it was a slow start due to the fact that we had to put the units in our banquet hall (not enough height clearance in our lounge).So, when we have a banquet, we would partially dis-assemble the units and draw a curtain in front of them.
Now that we're passed Christmas Party season, the simulators are available for play a lot more.
They are quite fun to play, and the graphics are amazing. This is a sample "fly-by" of the first hole at Mauna Kea Resort, one of the 23 courses you can play:
The other notable thing we did in 2018 was pave the cart paths at the East course. This is an improvement that we've been planning for a number of years... and we finally did it! No more pot holes, dust, skidding, mud, etc. We just have to finish some landscaping beside the paved paths, and that will happen this year.
Let's hope for an early spring (not like 2018), and in the meantime, come and try out the simulators!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

We've Set a Record!

... but not in a good way. It's April 18, 2018, and we're STILL not open. That means we've officially set a record for a late opening, and we don't quite know when that will be. Here's a picture of the first tee at Victoria Park East, taken this morning at about 9:15.
As you can see, the ground is still covered with that crusty, crappy, icy snow that came down hard last weekend. But today promises to bring some melting temperatures; and believe it or not, we're aiming to have something open by Sunday April 22nd. Maybe 9 holes, maybe 18, maybe all greens or maybe not. Maybe carts will be out or maybe not. Maybe maybe maybe. It's frustrating as hell.
Usually, we're open by the first week in April; and sure, there have been years when we open early, then a week later it snows and we have to close for a few days.
By the way, the last time I used the same post title as above was in 2012, but for a very different type of record. Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome Spring 2018. Oh, and Hello Again Tiger!

Now that we're into the last two weeks of March, and the sun is shining (although the temperature could be A LITTLE warmer), the telephone and email marathon for "when will you be opening the course" has started.
As of this date (March 20th), our best guess is early April, maybe (please note MAYBE) Easter weekend. Weather conditions have allowed the maintenance crew to do some cleanup and start to get things ready. At a glance, both Victoria Park courses have wintered well, so turf conditions look promising once we get the pins in.
Jay Pembleton and Andrew Roosenboom are going through some new stock for the golf shops - clothing, bags, shoes, and other accessories - and the clubhouse facilities will soon be ready. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the weather, similar to the weather that the PGA Tour enjoyed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week.... segue into....
Tiger Woods. By many indications, it seems as if the golf world can't let go of him. Despite all of his trials and tribulations (the likes of which could definitely be deemed as career-sinking), back he comes. Plus, I find it interesting to see how the undeniable extent of his talent, and record-setting successes, help keep his past misdemeanors behind a cleverly-crafted curtain. Good for Tiger, and congratulations to whomever does his PR.
Here's an interesting article by the National Post's Scott Stinson, worth a read:

And don't worry, we'll have the courses open before the Florida weather hits us!

Picture credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Reduce, Re-use, Re-purpose!

In a way, it's the end of an era: The halfway hut here at Victoria Park East, or "Snack Shack" as it's been affectionately known for many years, has been renovated into a rain shelter. It sits in a conspicuous spot between the 9th green and the 10th tee.
When I returned to the golf business in 1993, Snack Shack version 1.0 was a simple wooden hut, designed and built as a high school construction project by one of our neighbours. Back then, it was not legal for golf courses in Ontario to run a beverage cart, so the halfway hut was a popular - and profitable - refreshment stop for golfers. The humble and fly-blown structure sold a ton of hot dogs, snacks, soft drinks and (of course) beer. But in 1996/97, the Ontario Government revamped the liquor laws to allow alcohol sales on the golf course, and so along came the Beverage Cart... with a bang!
It was such a welcome addition to the golf business: on arrival, golfers would no longer ask about the turf and greens conditions, but would first ask "is the beverage cart out today?" I'm not exaggerating. It's still the first question many golfers ask when they check in. And so, the Snack Shack took a back seat.
In 1999, alongside a major addition to the Clubhouse, a new and better Snack Shack was constructed. More power outlets, better countertops, more room for a nice fridge, a cement floor, a proper roll-up service window, etc. The push was on to bring some relevance back to "The Shack". And we got opinions, many opinions, on how to run it. One example: "You need a BBQ - sausages and dogs right off the flame, you'll sell like crazy!" So we invested in a good BBQ, put up nice signage, burned a ridiculous amount of propane... and sold very few sausages or dogs. VERY few. Did that for two years, then gave up on the BBQ and went to a regular hot dog roller. Meanwhile, the beverage cart continued to sell extremely well, so much so, that we invested in another one.
By 2010, we began to take serious notice of how little the Snack Shack was selling, versus the costs of running it. We cut back hours of operation - much to the chagrin of some of our members and guests, and a few complained quite aggressively! So we kept it going, and saw sales continue to decline. Even on very busy days, when you would assume grabbing a snack or drink at half-way would be a no-brainer, sales were very poor. The only exceptions were some large tournaments, especially those that have played here for a number years, and used expense accounts.
Now, it's done. We will still set up a temporary foodservice station there for certain events; and otherwise, ensure that we can service golfers quickly from the Clubhouse as they make the turn from hole 9 to 10.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Trials and Tribulations of Tiger

Here's a report by Brent Axe of

Book and movie rights to follow!

Tiger Woods DUI

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's About Time... I Guess!

After a rather extended delay, it looks like development of the old Victoria Park West lands is finally under way. This picture, taken on Thursday October 13th, is looking west from Victoria Rd., just near the entrance to the property. In the background, the bigger building was the residence and apartments, and the building on the right way the Pro Shop and Snack Bar. Since Thursday, both buildings have been demolished. The old 11th green would have been in the foreground left, and the 12th tee to the right.

Ted DeCorso sold the property to Country Green Homes in 2012, and since then a sign was up to advertise the development, but nothing was happening. I'm not privy to the details, so I'm not going to guess what prompted the delay. However, since the earthmoving started a few weeks ago, the development has been rebranded and is now called "Royal Valley at Victoria Park by Mikmada Homes".

You can probably see the confusion this is going to cause some people, who have been around long enough and were familiar with Victoria Park West up until the time it closed: the similarity in the development's new name with our newer golf course Victoria Park Valley might lead to the conclusion that they (we) are linked. A Google search for Victoria Park Valley Golf Club may very well return Royal Valley at Victoria Park as a result. Or, vice-versa.

Let me categorically state: the DeCorso family and Victoria Park Golf Club are entirely separate from, and have no stake or vested interest in, the Royal Valley at Victoria Park development. Well, maybe we'll score a few Google hits out of it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Didn't We...

keep the golf course open? El Nino is certainly having an effect on our weather, as we begin the first days of winter. We officially closed our golf courses on November 18, taking advantage of some decent conditions to get the winterizing program done before the inevitable snowfall. Well, most of you know what happened: the temperature stayed mild, sometimes in the low double-digits. Of course, the phone started ringing.
But with the winterizing done, it wouldn't be wise to open the greens again. So we opened our "temporary holes" and saw a bit of action; however, most golfers want to putt on greens, and not just whack a ball around. Oh, well. If we had a better crystal ball - or, believed unconditionally in the 14-day trend from The Weather Network - then keeping the whole course open MIGHT have happened. Have a look at this current 14-day trend. Crazy!