Vancouver Island golf courses hoping the ‘Tiger Effect’ will grab more golfers


WATCH: It’s been called one of sports greatest comebacks. Sunday, Tiger Woods claimed his fifth Masters’ title ending an 11-year major championship drought. As Kori Sidaway tells us, Tiger’s return to the top may have the power to revive mainstream golf, even here on Vancouver Island. 

Tiger Woods wrote his comeback into the history books Sunday.

“I’m a little hoarse I think from yelling!” said Tiger.

“All of a sudden I had the lead. When I tapped the putt in, I don’t know what I did. I know I screamed.”

Donning the green jacket for the fifth time, Tiger ended over a decade of major-title drought.

It is a scene, once oh-so-familiar.

Ten years ago golf, and Tiger, were in their heyday. But since then, golf courses everywhere took a hit.

“We saw growth, exponential growth when [Tiger] was at his peak,” said golfer Peter Smith.

“There was concern that [the growth] wasn’t sustainable. Around 2000 there was a proliferation of golf courses. But memberships started dwindling.”

“I think people kind of lost interest a little bit, not only with golf but with him,” said golf pro at Arbutus Ridge Golf Course, Arthur Brown.

Tiger was marred by a mix of scandals and debilitating injuries that timed with a market crash. Two things that weren’t good on the greens, especially here on the island.

“The island’s tough because there are so many golf courses, and not a lot of people, so they’re all in battle with each other,” said Brown.

Golf courses like Prospect Lake closed its fairways, and Ardmore Golf Course has just recently gone up for sale.

But many are hoping Tiger’s epic return may create a golf revival.

“He brings the crowds, he brings the interest levels up immensely,” said Brown.

“His outreach is just amazing. He’s on the same level that Arnold Palmer was when he was younger – like Arnie’s Army. Tiger definitely has an army behind him.”

And that army has buying power.

Golf Town’s website almost crashed Sunday after people turned to pick up the same red mock-turtleneck Tiger wore Sunday.

The ‘Tiger Effect’ also led to more than a two per cent rise in Nike stock over the course of the tournament.

But most of all local golf courses are hoping for more people to hit the greens.

“We’re hoping the popularity keeps increasing, getting the youths interested because that’s how they become members later in life,” said Brown.

So they too can return to glory, just like Tiger.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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