The closure of the Royal Oak Golf Club is the latest as the Vancouver Island golf industry faces rough times. Eighty-two-year-old Ray Shillington is shopping around for a new place to play after receiving notice that the Royal Oak has closed.
“I’m not happy,” said Shillington, who has been a member since 2001 and lives in a townhouse on the course. Shillington received an email last year from the Cordero family, owners of the nine-hole course on Marsett Place, informing him that they are closing the course “with sadness and a heavy heart.” The email says many Victoria golf courses are struggling to survive and most have lowered green fees and membership rates.
Prospect Lake Golf Course closed its doors in 2015 after 41 years. In 2014, North Saanich council rejected a plan to turn a portion of the 130-acre Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club into 35 strata-title lots, linked with a community farm.
The Cordero family plans to discuss future use of the Royal Oak property with the District of Saanich. Most of the golf course is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Commercial real estate agent Bob Law has doubts about its future.
“Either it’s going to sell and reopen or it’s going to go to seed,” Law said. “Development would be almost impossible.”