If you golf, you’ve probably heard of the 19th hole. It’s golfer slang for the bar or clubhouse where players go to drink after a round. It’s as closely associated with golf as après-ski is to skiing and is traditional almost to the point of being mandatory. But what if you don’t want to drink? What if you prefer cannabis to alcohol?
Well, if you’re in Eastern Ontario, you will soon be able to carry your clubs to the Lombard Glen Golf and Country Club, whose new ownership says it will be “cannabis-friendly.” So friendly, in fact, that they have pledged to change the course name to Rolling Greens.
That ownership team is led by Gordon Weiske, a Toronto-based investor whose most recent and much-hyped project—Cannabis Air, a cannabis-friendly hotel of sorts in downtown Toronto’s Village by the Grange condominium complex — never made it to fruition. Still, he appears to be enthusiastic about his latest venture. “Our tagline is going to be ‘come roll with us,’” he said, adding that: “My phone has been buzzing almost non-stop since the announcement.”
The club will not offer cannabis for sale, of course, but rather allow and even encourage guests to partake while and after they golf.
The course is in the tiny—population about a hundred—town of Lombardy, Ontario, about a ten-minute drive from the Smith’s Falls headquarters of cannabis cultivation giant Canopy Growth, approximately halfway between Ottawa and Kingston. Weiske points out that Canopy Growth has no connection with the golf course.
Traditionally, golf has been associated with an older, more conservative audience and, indeed, many Canadian golf courses made it a point to ban cannabis use on their grounds soon after recreational cannabis use became legal in October. Weiske and his team see it differently. “Golf is really a natural fit for this,” he said, “as golfers have been having a beer or two on the course for years—and now they can enjoy smoking and still play the game.”
Weiske’s team is scheduled to take over the course on April 1. Because none of the investors has a great deal of experience when it comes to running a golf course, they have said that they have reached an agreement with the previous owners, Dave and Jean Sherman, to oversee day-to-day operations after the takeover.
A First for Canada
While Rolling Greens, if it actually happens, would be a first for Canada, the idea is not without precedent. California already has a few cannabis-friendly golf courses, a combination cannabis farm and golf course is being developed in Michigan and Golf Digest magazine actually tested its reporters to determine how cannabis affected their golf game (spoiler alert: a little cannabis improved their skills, but too much eroded them significantly).
The Lombard Glen Golf and Country Club is a 160-acre (65 ha), nine-hole course with a liquor-licensed clubhouse that can accommodate 154 people. Before the announcement, it was best known for being the home course of Canadian professional Brooke Henderson (who is currently ranked eighth in the world) for much of her youth. While Henderson is now 21, others will not be able to follow in her footsteps as the course will not allow people under the age of 19 on the premises after it becomes cannabis friendly.