Golf course charged for opening during provincial shut-down

May 6, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Players ticketed when leaving the course

By Brian Lockhart

Playing 18 holes could now cost you big bucks if you end up on the police radar.

The stand-off at the Bridges of Tillsonburg Golf Course in Tillsonburg, Ontario took a turn over the weekend when police started ticketing golfers after they left the course.

The local OPP stationed officers around the course and were taking photos of people on the 9th and 17th holes on Sunday, May 2. After leaving the course, drivers where stopped and photos matched with the driver, who were then issued a $750 ticket.

For the first few days the course opened during the shut-down order, the police staked out the course but made no attempt to stop anyone.

Other golf courses across the province were watching the situation closely to see what action, if any, the police would take.

Golf Ontario says it was aware of the situation and stated “we do not, in any way, condone this action.”

The golf course itself was charged on Thursday, of last week with failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. As a corporation charge under the act, it faces a fine of up to $10 million if convicted, however it is very unlikely that kind of fine would be levied.

The matter is scheduled to be heard at the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock on June 3, 2021.

In spite of the charges, the course has said it plans to remain open.

One golfer took a photo of a sign that was posted in the Course’s Pro Shop telling golfers not to pay
the ticket.

The sign said “If you receive a ticket from OPP DO NOT PAY. Write across ticket with sharpie RESCIND, date it and sign it, not online slotted for signature, but under your date, mail the ticket back.”

However, legal experts are warning you shouldn’t be taking legal advice from a golf course, and this is a regulatory offence which means you won’t be able to renew your license sticker driver’s license without paying.

The golf course is still booking tee-times, but if you decide to take the chance and play 18 holes, you should be prepared to pay a lot more than the course fee for hitting the links. 

The golfing industry has been lobbying the provincial government to have the restrictions against golf courses lifted.

The sport, they say, inherently provides social distancing and with the protocols in place is a safe sport to play. 

They also cite the fact that golf provides needed exercise for many people who would not otherwise get outside due to the pandemic and also helps with mental health during a time when many people are feeling the pressure of the stay-at-home order.

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