Golf Boom in Ontario

The number of Ontario golf courses are growing along with the recent boom in the sport’s popularity. Of the eight or nine courses anticipated to open this summer in the Niagara region, one layout is said to be the jewel. That course is the 700-acre, 45-hole Legends, slated to open May 1st. The course is being developed by the Niagara Parks Commission.

Why Ontario? Brian Merritt, chairman of Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission, answered that question in a late-March 2002 article in the Tonawanda News. According to Merritt, Niagara is “becoming ‘Myrtle Beach North’.” He added, “We have nearly as many golf days (when the weather is favorable for play) as they do there.”

The $27-million course has already been approached about hosting events such as the Canadian Open and the Skins Game. Merritt is confident about the future of the Legends. He pointed to the success of another Parks Commission course in the area, Whirlpool, which hosts approximately 45,000 rounds per season. With a half-million-dollar advertising budget, the Parks Commission intends to market aggressively to Americans who already make up a large percentage of Ontario’s golfers. Merritt hopes the Legends courses gets off to a hot start this year by drawing 35,000 rounds.

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