Smoking weed can be relaxing. Under certain circumstances, golf can be relaxing, too. Golf, though ever-so-briefly outlawed in 1457 in Scotland, is fully legal for any adult to play. In Canada, so is smoking weed.
The course isn't just opening up the links to weed-consuming golfers, but is fully transforming itself: It is changing its name from Lombard Glen to Rolling Greens, and Gordon Weiske, a partner in the course's ownership, said the course plans to partner with licensed producers and let them “theme out their own hole, from tee to green and everything in between.”
“If you're going to go for it, go for it. All in. And that's what we've done,” Weiske said.
While most provinces in Canada have enacted restrictive consumption laws, private golf courses can set their own rules, making them one of the only types of open, natural landscapes where people can smoke cannabis legally in the country. In Nova Scotia, a specific exemption for public weed smoking was granted to golf courses.
And many golfers, especially younger ones, are more open to cannabis use on the golf course. A 2018 survey conducted by B.C. Golf among courses and golfers in British Columbia, where the magazine notes a more favorable view toward marijuana among Canada's provinces and territories, found that 50 percent of golfers younger than 35 planned on smoking weed while they golfed. Also, 62 percent of courses surveyed said that they were likely to open up their course to cannabis use.
The B.C. Golf survey found significant age differences, though: Only 27 percent of golfers older than 55 indicated that they would be somewhat or very comfortable allowing cannabis to be smoked on the course at all, compared with 78 percent of golfers younger than 35.
There's no conclusive data on whether smoking weed helps your golf game, but Weiske said that if golfers score differently at Rolling Greens than they did under its Lombard Glen incarnation, it might be evidence supporting that theory. Of course, it could go the opposite way, too.
Rolling Greens is hoping that they can be a major attraction for cannabis-friendly tourists. The course is only a few kilometers from the Tweed growing facility, and Smiths Falls has seen a boom from the growth of the cannabis industry. The course itself is about 90 kilometers, or 56 miles, southwest of Ottawa, the national capital.
“We're going to be like the Las Vegas of cannabis,” Weiske said. “We're expanding the 164 acres to have an age-gated, 19+ entertainment park where there'll be mini-putt, they'll be virtual reality games, there will probably be a drive-in movie theater. Like, we've got room to expand. The golf course is just one part of it.”
Weiske said that the idea has so far made them popular in the golf world, and that many owners are now considering following suit. “We just came in from the Toronto golf expo, which had 25,000 people [on Feb. 8-10, 2019]; 25,000 people came in, and we were the absolute hit of the expo,” he said. “We had all the other club owners coming up to us saying, 'Oh, yeah, we were thinking of doing something like that.'”
Weiske said that their plan to not just quietly permit cannabis use, but to openly embrace it and make it part of the course's identity — something he thinks makes Rolling Greens a pioneer when it comes to cannabis-friendly golf courses. Other courses, he said, “would have just done it half-assed. We went all the way, and because we've gone all the way, everybody else is only going to be follower.”