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Pine View's Don Costello talks about the new realities affecting family sports

No. 1 on the Executive Course.
No. 1 on the Executive Course.
Ron Patey

The new management team at Pine View Golf Course is determined to reverse the downward trend of family participation in recreational sports.

The practice green near No. 1 on the Executive Course at Pine View.
Ron Patey

Your reporter sat down with Don Costello of the management group and he shared these thoughts on the cost of those sports, the effect on families and what Pine View is doing to draw more players of all ages.

“As a former teacher and coach I have been witness to the escalating cost of various sports over the past several decades. Typically, cost for rep hockey can be in excess of $10,000 per year. Sports such as soccer and volleyball are now priced so that they have become a financial burden on families.

“When I was young we played many sports, all affordable. Not only did we benefit physically from our participation, but we were also occupied and given an alternative to roaming the streets and getting into trouble. We would play around the clock and have to be called in for supper. We developed a love for sport and fitness and were fortunate for the opportunity.

“Through sport we learned about commitment, responsibility and how to face challenges and problems with confidence. Many of the lessons I learned through sport serve me well today.

“Today, big business has become detrimental to youth sport. Often only those with the financial resources have the ability to participate. As costs have become a barrier, many children simply aren't participating. One might even argue that sport is becoming decadent, as it is no longer easily accessible to the masses.

“For families where children are participating, sacrifices have to be made which often means mom and dad are watching from the sidelines. Golf, a sport once reserved for the country club set, now has a unique opportunity to get children and families involved.

“At Pine View Golf Course, we feel we have a responsibility to make golf affordable for families and to get not just children participating but mom and dad as well. We feel strongly that cost should not be a barrier to active participation.

“It's somewhat ironic that the most elite of sports, the sport once reserved for the country club set, could now be the sport for the masses. Pine View wants to be a leader in making sport affordable, but we do need to make families aware that it as a healthy, financially viable option.”

At Pine View, they are doing several things to get kids and families on the course. The run junior camps and have partnered with Jumpstart, which has allowed them to provide the golf experience to several children who might not normally have had the opportunity.

A primary focus, however, is to get families playing together at a cost that is less than what it would be to sit in a movie theatre. The Executive Course at the 36-hole facility does so by catering to families on Saturdays and Sundays after 2 p.m. For example, the price for a parent with two children would be just $25. The Executive is a mostly par 3 and 4 course, with one par 5, that is ideally set up to accommodate families.

Those lower prices available at Pine View include green fees for nine or 18 holes on $20 Mondays and ladies and men's nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, respectively. To get a player started in the game, the pro shop stocks nine- or 10-piece starter sets beginning at $140.

Pine View’s new junior season pass for children and teens of up to 18 years old has resulted in a nice rise in the number of young players beginning or developing their games.

The pass for a junior is $420 for the year. Boys and girls get unlimited play Monday to Friday on both courses and after 12 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The season pass also allows juniors to book tee-times one week in advance, use of all club facilities and participation in club tournaments and events.

For more details, call 613.746.4301 or e-mail don@pineview.com.