VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Golf is not the most popular sport in the city, but the Vancouver Park Board is working on changing that.

With the City of Vancouver heading towards a $52-million operating budget shortfall, the park board is  looking at getting new golfers to tee-off at city-run courses to generate revenue.

The three championship golf courses: Fraserview, Langara, and McCleery are like cash cows for the city.

Gordon Barber with the Vancouver Park Board says it doesn’t cost a lot to operate the three courses.  “If you’re to look at the golf courses they actually represent about 10 per cent of the overall operating budget but actually about 25 per cent of the kind of revenue producing budget.”

And that’s why, he says, the city is a hiring a consultant to come up with a strategy to get more people to pick up the clubs and head to the greens.

“We want to communicate to the public and potential golfers to want to come and use our courses.  The three of them do make up a significant part of revenue for the Park Board, about $10 million a year, “adds Barber.

He explains the board will try to target new groups like younger people by “trying to look at ways to bring new golfers into the market, perhaps, at a recreational level at our community centers.”

Barber says fortunately for the city, the board can cash in on the “die-hards” that work on their swing during the winter.

“One of the great things is Vancouver is really unique in the Canadian market [for its] year-round golf.  Really anywhere else in Canada and most other areas of British Columbia, golf courses operate for a season and are closed for various times through the winter.”

He adds if you’re an avid golfer, Vancouver is the best place to be.