Golfers on a tight budget know that one of the prettiest places in Vancouver to play a round or two is the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt. The 18-hole, par-3 course, set amidst the rolling hills and manicured gardens of the park, is usually just $13.60 per round.
But this fall and winter the price of a round is dropping even further: to $0. A new park board pilot project is offering up free golf at the city’s three pitch-and-putt golf courses from Oct. 15 through mid March.
Golfers can tee up at Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth and Rupert Park pitch and putts at no charge. There is a slight catch, however.
Since course offices will be shut, golfers won’t be able to rent clubs, balls or other equipment and will have to bring their own. And although courses themselves will be maintained over the winter, there won’t be flags in the holes.
Still, the price is right. The park board opted to drop fees and slash services over the winter months because of low turnout. Each pitch-and-putt course averages just 10 rounds a day during the late fall, compared to 114 rounds a day during the summer,according to the Vancouver Sun. Keeping the course offices open during the slow months was actually costing the city more than $200,000.
Closing offices while still maintaining the courses themselves should enable the city to minimize losses and also keep hardcore pitch-and-putters happy.
The challenge during the fall and winter, of course, is finding a break in the rain to enjoy all that free golf. A blast of warm weather in October has seen duffers flocking to park board pitch and putts to take advantage of the no-cost rounds.
The days of strolling sunny fairways in t-shirts (undisclosed beverage in hand) may be numbered, however. Seasoned Vancouverites know that the Thanksgiving long weekend is generally the time to put away the clubs and get out the raincoats in preparation for the dreary months ahead.