For the first time since 1973, when Jim Hill retired, the Gananoque Golf and Country Club has hired a head professional to oversee its operations.
Chris Learmonth is being asked to improve the fortunes of the privately owned nine-hole club, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.
“I’m up for the challenge of increasing the club’s revenue,” said Learmonth.
The 53-year-old PGA of Canada professional has an extensive background in running golf courses in the Ottawa Valley. Learmonth has been a head professional at clubs in Deep River, Perth, Glengarry and Carleton Place. He says it’s no secret that local clubs have struggled to meet their budgets.
“It’s because of shrinking memberships and the fact that young kids aren’t playing anymore,” continued Learmonth.
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“My job is to find new ways to increase revenue.”
Learmonth added that nine-hole play is what golfers today are looking for.
“For many, two to three hours of golf is more than enough,” continued Learmonth. “The days of playing 18 holes in a five-hour period is pretty tough for the average golfer.”
The Gananoque Golf Club, just 20 minutes east of Kingston, has been around since 1921. Learmonth says he will try his best to see that the historic course gets back to even-par or better when it comes to increasing green fees and attracting new members.
“We have a lot to offer,” added Learmonth. “I’ve seen a difference in the short time I’ve been here. Green fees are up and our new fleet of golf carts has made a big difference. We are seeing a revival. The nicer weather has really helped.
“If mother nature co-operates, we’re going to do just fine.”