Bally Haly Country Club is considering a few options for the future, one of which would be to relocate the course entirely.
The club is a sporting institution in St. John’s. It has occupied its current location since 1908 and has hosted countless tournaments. In its heyday, a veritable who’s who of the capital met there to play golf and socialize.
Paul Rose, chairman of the club, told SaltWire Network they are having trouble with balls entering neighboring properties, which has gotten significantly worse over the past year, and are considering a few options.
“We put up nets, took security measures, but the neighbors continue to have these problems,” he said. “It’s gotten so big that we’ve had to consider redirecting or changing some of our holes, and the impact of that could be more negative than positive.”
He said re-routing a hole would entail significant expense and take a few years, bringing the course down to 17 holes in the meantime. This would affect both the playability of the course, the possibility of holding certain tournaments and whether people would want to play there.
Other options they are considering are moving the course to a new location, perhaps out of town, or buying other golf businesses in the area. The idea of merging with Clovelly Golf Club was floated recently, Rose said, and could be a possibility for the future.
“We have to look at what’s the best deal we can get for our members and right now and there’s a bunch of stuff on the table,” he said. “Spending several million dollars on the land, buying a new property or merging with another property – these are all options we are looking at now.”
Rose said that before a decision is made, they will have to calculate the numbers, speak with members and put them to a vote. The options were run through by the members at a meeting last week, he said, and sentimentality aside, people were willing to consider all options.
“Surprisingly, the members were warm about looking for another location,” he said. “I think it’s almost like buying a house. You sell your house that you lived in for 40 years and it’s a bittersweet thing, but you move on to something better for you at that point. We’re going to have sentimentality issues if we decide to move, but that’s the nature of business. We have to look at the long term here. We have to look to the future, we have to look at the safety of our members, the safety of our neighbours, and take a lot of things into consideration before deciding what course of action we want to take.
SaltWire attempted to contact the owners of Clovelly Golf Club, but did not receive a timely response.