Smoking marijuana while golfing is an issue Parksville Qualicum Beach area clubs may have to weed out before recreational pot becomes legal on Oct. 17.
British Columbia Golf and Inside Golf conducted a golf-marijuana survey, with more than 5,400 golfers responding from across the province.
Overall, one-in-seven golfers — both daily fee and club members — plan to light a joint on the golf course. This rises to one-in-two for those under the age of 35 and fewer than one-in-10 for those over 55. Two-thirds of the under-35 age group regard pot smoking as the same as drinking or smoking cigarettes.
In the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club and Fairwinds Golf Club have indicated they don’t have a policy in place regarding allowing pot-smoking on the course.
Arrowsmith’s marketing officer, Wendy Markowski, indicated the club, which sells liquor, will follow the regulations of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of B.C.
The club does not allow any smoking on the course during fire season.
Ryner Wilson, golf shop manager at Fairwinds offered a similar statement. They would like to keep the club smoke-free but that has not been addressed yet by the club.
“We’re a retirement community so I don’t think we’re going to be embracing it,” said Wilson. “But that’s just speculation at this point. I haven’t talked to my ownership group too much about it yet. It’s on the horizon, I know.”
The study indicated that 75 per cent of golf facilities aross Western Canada currently do not have a marijuana policy in place. And 60 per cent are likely or very likely to allow pot to be smoked on their course. Overall, six-in-10 golfers are uncomfortable with anyone smoking pot while on the links.
For many courses on Vancouver Island, there is less concern about the perception and more about potential liability problems.
“Our board, like most clubs, has yet to come up with a formal policy until the National Golf Course Owners Association comes up with some recommendations, but we are still waiting for some of the roll out with government,” said Scott Kolb, general manager of the Victoria Golf Club.
Other courses are simply extending their policies already in place surrounding other substance use when on-site.
“With the exception of designated areas, Bear Mountain is a non-smoking property year-round, including the golf courses. The legalization of marijuana will not change the existing policy,” said Mike Ridout, Director of Golf at the Westin Bear MountainGolf Resort & Spa.
Eight-in-10 golfers who are members at clubs would like to have input into decisions regarding marijuana use at their club. This rises to 88 per cent for those planning to smoke.
— With files from Oak Bay News