Faced with an unprecedented growth in popularity, one of Canada’s oldest golf courses is moving closer to being fully private.
For over a century, Windermere Golf and Country Club has been open for public rounds through the season. “A dramatic increase in memberships over the past three years made us reconsider how we could best serve our members,” says Steve Taylor, a long-standing member of the board.
The result is a new model beginning this year: Windermere will now be a “Summer Private” course, accessible only to members from July 1 to Labour Day.
In the shoulder seasons there will be limited public tee times, Steve says, as Windermere focuses on putting their members first.
It’s a big change for one of the oldest Canadian courses, which started in 1919 with a Stanley Thompson/George Cumming nine-hole track and quickly expanded into a stellar 18-hole championship course.
The course has a lovely clubhouse, recently re-surfaced tennis courts and professional services to match – particularly in terms of instruction. Recent upgrades include several new greens and hybrid tee decks, which increase the fun for all skill levels and age groups.
With over 300 senior members and counting, the change in structure was necessary to continue providing the service their membership has come to expect. Last year over 90 percent of members voted in favour of the new model.
Along with the family-first and social atmosphere, one of the biggest draws at Windermere Golf and Country Club is the access to facilities and ease of booking tee times, which is why they’re capping senior membership numbers at 350.
“We want to continue to offer that experience to our members,” says Steve. “And the only way to do that is to cap membership numbers.”
Most members are Senior members (individuals who are 40 or over). They have preferred privileges for booking tee times and also pay an initiation fee and higher annual dues than Intermediate and Junior members.
Early Birdie Special
At the start of 2021, Windermere introduced an “Early Birdie” promotion to new members. A declining scale discount on the initiation fee is in place until the magic number of 350 senior members is reached. After that, prospective new members will be placed on a waiting list.
At the time of this writing, only 20 memberships were still available, with the first ten receiving a 20 percent discount on initiation and the last ten getting 10 percent off.
“Being a member at Windermere gives you access to all our club has to offer,” says Steve. “Come and see what we already know: our course and club provide a tremendous family experience in a wonderful atmosphere.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI