Could setting up online ticketing help city golf courses putt to profit? “It’s not an overly complex matter” says city’s Parks director

Jan 11, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

Could setting up an online ticketing system help city owned golf courses putt to profit?

That’s one of the solutions that Paul Ainslie, city councillor and chair of the Government Management Committee, would like to see implemented for the city’s five golf courses where revenues dropped in 2017. Ainsley found recommendations made by the auditor general in 2012 that still haven’t been implemented.

“One of the recommendations from back in 2012 was around online reservations or [online tee time registration system]. It still hasn’t been implemented… It needs to be done,” Ainsley told Signal Toronto after the committee meeting.

Richard Ubbens, director of Parks, doesn’t disagree.

“Right now you have to phone us or come in person to the counter. It’s kind of old school. Online booking is a nice little tool. For instance, say you want a tee time at a certain time at a certain course but it’s not available, it’ll tell you what other courses are available.”

Asked whether an online ticket system is possible for 2018, Ubbens describes the process.

“Well, we’d have to tender it. Depends on how long it would go through the tender process, the city’s purchasing process. And it’s not an overly complex matter.”

Ubbens said at the committee meeting the five golf courses totalling over 400 acres of land (less than 1 per cent of the city’s total nearly 160,000 acres) are not for sale, but did say a study over the next two years will help determine a future direction for the operating model.

In the meantime, Ubbens doesn’t sound too worried about the revenue lost.

“Look at the overall loss. In 2016 of $72,000 off the tax base, that’s [approximately] 160,000 rounds. So 50 cents on a round cost–loss.”

However, councillors want to see more accountability over the numbers and strategy taken. Ainsley moved a motion directing staff to ensure any directions that have been implemented from the 2012 auditor general’s report be addressed in any future study or recommendations.