Crumlin Creek Goes Against The Grain, Wins Fans

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Wilson Golf Reed On The Greens, by Jeffrey Reed
January 7, 2016

With any help at all this spring from Mother Nature, our record-setting warm winter to-date will reduce golf’s off-season to a mere tap-in putt. Local golfers were out in droves just days before Christmas – and that means more money for local links’ coffers.

Although the golf industry is far from flatlining, it is struggling to find its groove. Two deterrents – a lack of leisure time, and a lack of funds – play against growing the game. True, London is the exception – two-thirds of our golfers are avid golfers, as opposed to casual (the opposite is true in most other municipalities). But we also have three times as many golf courses as our population can rightfully support.

cclogoSo, when the results came in for LondonOntarioGolf.com’s 2016 Best of London Golf Awards, and the public Crumlin Creek Golf Club emerged the big winner with three awards – Best  Executive Length Course, Most Improved Golf Course and Best Clubhouse/Pro Shop Staff – I wasn’t surprised. As the only 12-hole course in Southwestern Ontario, boasting two holes (an 8-inch hole and traditional 4.25-inch hole) on each green, and the availability of GolfBoards (hybrids which incorporate skateboards and golf carts), Crumlin Creek, under owner Zarko Frkovic, is anything but complacent.

Frkovic, with Harvey’s restaurants since 1975 and a franchisee since 1988, purchased the golf course in late-2011. He has made numerous changes to the former London Golfland course, practice range and clubhouse, and has boosted offerings which also include free Wednesday night clinics which have drawn upwards of 60 golfers per Wednesday.

clinics

In addition, the expanding London operation of TGA Premier Junior Golf, under Joe Barnes and Brian Miller, will hold summer camps and clinics at Crumlin Creek, where kids 12 and under can play free of charge anytime when accompanied by a paying adult, according to Frkovic.

“I’m all about growing the game. The juniors aren’t playing – they’re saying, ‘I have to wear a collared shirt, it’s too hard, I have to follow all the rules.’ Here they can play a shorter course, play to the bigger holes, and just enjoy the game,” Frkovic said.

Golf traditionalists will argue that there is no place for an 8-inch hole because it erases the credibility of marking a proper score. But despite the haters, Frkovic said there’s a time and place for larger holes on the golf course, and that means now – when the game needs to grow – and at a fun course like Crumlin Creek.

boards

“When we initially talked to people about having two holes on the greens, there were traditional golfers who said, ‘I’m not going to play there anymore.’ But (the two-hole greens) don’t bother anyone. And it makes it really great for (novice) golfers,” he said.

As for the GolfBoards, while Marty McFly would have loved them, so, too, do area golfers. Frkovic said they’ve traveled from as far away as Niagara and Toronto to hit the links and ride the boards.

“The industry is changing. You can’t be the old-school operator who says, ‘I’m charging $50 and that’s all I am going to do.’ You have to stay competitive,” added Frkovic.

So far, it’s working – and telling from the Best of London Golf Awards, local golfers are enjoying non-traditional golf offerings.

In total, LondonOntarioGolf.com (est. 2005) received close to 1,500 votes for this year’s Best of London Golf Award winners in 18 categories. For a complete list of the 2016 Best of London Golf Awards, click here.

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About Wilson Golf

wspicFor a century, Wilson Golf has designed, manufactured and distributed premium and recreational golf equipment throughout the world. Since 1914, Wilson Staff irons have won 61 major championships, more than any other iron manufacturer in history. That winning tradition continues today by delivering the highest quality golf equipment to all golfers to enhance performance on the course and overall enjoyment of the game.

In 2013, Wilson Staff’s D100 irons, driver and hybrid, as well as the DUO golf ball and FG Tour TC wedges, were all honored with Golf Digest’s Hot List awards. Wilson Golf is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment by Amer Sports. Consumers can log onto wilsongolf.com or call (800) 622-0444 for more information.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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