BADDECK, NS – Brad McDonald felt the energy around the tourism and golf season, despite the fact that the course he operates had yet to open for the year.
McDonald, the Bell Bay Golf Club’s general manager, said the Baddeck course phone was busy ringing for reservations and he noticed people were willing to travel.
“Having 2020 and 2021 behind us with the resounding local support that we had, it gives us a bit more excitement about what’s possible in the golf season,” McDonald said ahead of Bell’s season opener. Bay May 20.
“Based on all of the existing metrics that we are using as a predictor, we are very optimistic that 2022 will be another round of growth for the golf industry in the Cape Breton region.”
Like many businesses in Victoria County, the Bell Bay Golf Club welcomes tourists and golfers to its facilities. When the pandemic hit, the industry felt the pinch of fewer travelers, making the journey even more reliant on local support.
“The local support was overwhelming and if you could pick a bright spot based outside of the tourist destination, community golf offered that in spades,” McDonald said.
“It’s that local support that we’ve continued to tap into and deliver value and deliver a product that has continually made people feel at home. We always seek to be a place of entertainment and that gives people value and an experience they can take away and feel good about.
McDonald admits that tourism is a big part of making golf a successful business in the course’s business model, but local support has helped bridge that gap over the past two years.
“We still saw a lot of new faces even when restrictions were in place so people were traveling,” he said. “Tourists are those who come from the Valley or Truro or Moncton or Fredericton, they are still tourists to us, so while they can still go and tell the story of what Cape Breton has to give, it was a victory for us. we.”
With plenty of golfing opportunities in Cape Breton, McDonald believes the variety of courses makes the island attractive to golfers from different parts of the region and even overseas.
“Everyone is proud of the product they offer, so being that destination for the industry as a whole, it directly trickles down to the accommodation part of the industry,” he said.
“Without having that collective course strength, it’s hard to be competitive with all of the other geographic locations that are on the map with golf, whether it’s Prince Edward Island or the Carolinas, there’s lots of people who offer lots of great products.
“They seek to be in people’s faces and try to convince them to spend their hard-earned money and vacations visiting them, so we think we have a winner in what we can put together as an island. .”
In Inverness County, Cabot Cape Breton is expecting a good year for all three courses, new general manager Matt MacKenzie said.
“We’re seeing pretty much full hotel and villa occupancy for the entire season,” MacKenzie said. “The golf course, we will be in capacity for most of the summer for all three courses. The Nest will have additional availability, but Cliffs and Links are pretty much approaching capacity most of the time.
A significant number of bookings come from international travellers.
“Month to month that will change a bit, but right now we’re seeing almost half of our travelers coming overseas,” MacKenzie said, noting that both courses are ranked among the best. in the world.
“It’s one of those things where of that half, I would say 85-90% is from the United States and the other 10-15% is from Europe and places like that.”
Although new to the course, MacKenzie has previously worked at another resort with a golf course. He said regional travelers have been part of the course’s success over the past two years.
“Sea Travelers has been amazing and has really helped resorts like Cabot succeed despite having below capacity levels,” he said. “It was wonderful to have this traveler from the Maritimes come and experience the resort.
“Having restrictions to the point where we can accommodate much wider guests, that’s really going to help our overall season and our overall predictability for employment and that stability is a great thing for our business.”
For MacKenzie, he has more than optimism for the season.
“We are very confident that it will be a wonderful season,” he said. “We are doing our best to ensure that our customers are always safe and that COVID-19 is always at the forefront of how we plan our planning and how we operate our establishment to protect our staff.”
Cabot Cape Breton courses opened for the year on May 13.
MANY GOLF OPTIONS
Like Cabot Cape Breton, several Cape Breton courses have already started their respective seasons.
Passchendaele Golf Club in Glace Bay was among the first clubs on the island to start the season on April 14, while Seaview Golf and Country Club in North Sydney and Alderdale Greens in Point Edward kicked things off on April 28.
Lingan Golf and Country Club opened for the year on May 5, while Lakes Golf Club and Resort in Ben Eoin kicked off the season a day later on May 6. Dundee Resort and Golf Club started the year on May 13.
Baddeck Forks Golf Club as well as Cape Breton Highland Links in Ingonish were scheduled to open on May 20. Le Portage Golf Club in Chéticamp and Gardiner Greens in Gardiner Mines are open, but the official opening date was not available.
For prizes, visit the clubs’ respective websites and social media pages.
– Jeremy Fraser is the sports reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on Twitter @CBPost_Jeremy.