Rolling Greens presents itself as a golf course at the cusp of change – which is really saying something in the creaky golf industry. While millennials are often blamed for the ‘deaths’ of certain long-standing business models, the unavoidable truth is that the impending generation simply do not have the same appetite for what a traditional golf course membership stands for- the old boy’s club. What better tack to take then, than to draw a new clientele; one more interested in variety and novelty; by making strides to incorporate other popular recreational elements into a long-standing pastime?
With the Tweed Visitor Centre virtually on its doorstep, Rolling Greens styles itself as the first Cannabis-Themed Golf Course in the world.
Rolling Greens has begun to explore this model by advertising itself as a ‘Cannabis-Themed’ golf (and disc golf) course. Many clubs with an eye toward adapting to changing times now explore offering non-golf amenities, expanding memberships to include more family-oriented events; but not Rolling Greens— they didn’t stop there. They’ve turned even that ‘innovative’ path (one that has been well-trod since the 90’s) back on itself again and aimed towards a newly accessible demographic; ‘CannaGolfers’.
The traces of the old course, Lombard Glen, remain very visible on the face of the newly rebranded one, denoting a readjustment in vision, but one that remains as yet, incomplete. Capitalizing on being situated in Smith Falls, Ontario, near the birthplace of Canopy Growth (the first publicly-traded cannabis company in North America) and with the Tweed Visitor Centre
virtually on its doorstep, Rolling Greens styles itself as the first Cannabis-Themed Golf Course in the world. However, when you come here, do not expect to see overt or campy mention of the cannabis theme; adjust your expectations to enjoying a particularly relaxing round of golf on a lovely course.
Cannabis has been a rebellious presence on the golf course for some time now, which means that to be cannabis-themed, rather than just ‘cannabis-friendly’, would require enthusiasm, positioning, and passion nearly to the point of becoming wearying. One look at the very traditionally set up club
house and pro shop, (and at the covered-over former signs) tells you that this is unlikely to be the case here. Rolling Greens remains a golf course, first and foremost; just one where the blunts you used to hide in your bag can now be openly brandished and smoked, same as all the other cigars stowed in there. Personally, I enjoyed the best round of my life at Rolling Greens. Not because I played particularly well,or shot a memorable score (108 for the curious); but because I was relaxed and comfortable- even downright jovial! Never have I smiled so genuinely while employing the ole foot-wedge.
By being able to freely consume cannabis on the course, I felt an enhanced enjoyment of the activity, and the stress caused by my perfectionism didn’t affect me as much as it has done historically. – The Lettuce Lady
Since I began playing golf at 12 years old, I have struggled to make it through 18 holes without feeling the brain-melting frustration that drives many to quit the sport. However, as my brother and dad are (and always have been) rabid golf enthusiasts, I persisted so that I wouldn’t be left out- and became one of only 3 members of the Junior Girls’ Golf Team at my local course. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that I did not have a natural temperament for golf, and eventually my attitude caused me to give up the sport. Since then, I’ve only played a handful of rounds, all of which resulted in a steep decline in enjoyment midway through the back nine. Not so at Rolling Greens! By being able to freely consume cannabis on the course, I felt an enhanced enjoyment of the activity, and the stress caused by my perfectionism didn’t affect me as much as it has done historically. I am not certain that I wouldn’t go so far as to say that cannabis improved my game; but it certainly stopped me from sabotaging myself! Although I must say that the lack of watering stations/beverage carts certainly made itself felt once cottonmouth set in—that mid-game hot dog and water was well earned and sorely needed. As a Junior golfer, the etiquette of the game is taught along with the rules, so that obeying one is akin to obeying the other. Don’t cast your shadow over the hole when someone is putting. Don’t talk during someone’s backswing- in fact, speak quietly in general. Fix the divot, rake the sand, and so forth. Now, being someone who is particularly fond of rules and parameters, I revelled in learning all these nuances. I am therefore also sensitive to transgressions; and the one detriment to my game for which I do blame pot is that I found myself less aware of what the other members of my foursome were doing, and was often guilty of casting a shadow, or clanking clubs at an inappropriate time.
It would appear that I am not the only one who felt that the inclusion of cannabis made it easy to forget the etiquette; the accepted presence of baggy jeans on the course, and the catcalling I experienced on the 17th hole both may be attributed to this. Having said that, I would hate to think that in the eyes of experienced golfers, the addition of cannabis to a round is simply an exercise in relaxing the beloved rules; but this particular perception is a distinct possibility if, in fact, these rules are not policed as they have been by Marshalls throughout the history of the sport. As in all other ways, cannabis-themed events are at the vanguard of legalization and must be both emphatically pro-weed; and also overly respectful of the essence of the pre-existing activity.
Rolling Greens itself is also host to a number of other cannabis-friendly events throughout the summer – open-air music and other performances happen regularly, with contests and competitions such as the upcoming Treasure Hunt in September thrown in for even more variety. The environment provides an excellent venue to welcome the community at large into the ever-cheerful arms of the cannabis community, and has the potential to function (as it did for my family and I) as a meeting point for passions that otherwise would never have intersected openly.
Rolling Greens does an admirable job of ‘rolling’ with the punches as legalization (and legislation surrounding it) is disseminated in drips and drabs. The masterminds behind the new cannabis-friendly course have incorporated a unique element into an otherwise staid industry to the absolute and obvious enhancement of both.
About the Author: The Lettuce Lady, better known as Jo Poirier, was born and raised in the Lower Ottawa Valley by the St. Lawrence River. Jo was diagnosed with PTSD more than a year ago after several misdiagnoses, and became a medical cannabis patient officially after years of trial and error with ineffective drug cocktails. Jo advocates for the normalization of cannabis use from a place of experience, and seeks to lessen the stigma for both medical and recreational users. Jo loves being outdoors by the water, and lives just outside of the Greater Toronto Area with her husband, daughter, and LouDog.