Dwight MacDonald, a member of the West Pictou Golfers Association, says $600,000 is needed to purchase the nine-hole course from its former owner’s estate and have it open this summer, but he admits he is having difficulty getting donations.
“People in this area are bummed out,” he said. “Every time you turn around, people are looking for something, but this place is beneficial to everyone.”
The Pictou Golf and Country Club was first opened in early 1900s on the property of Justice James Fogo. The Pictou Lions Club took over the operation of the property in 1955 and purchased the entire facility in 1963. It was sold to a new group in 2008, which owns the property, but never opened the course last summer.
MacDonald said the estate of the last owner has the property up for sale and he has reached out to former golfers and Pictonians in hopes of raising enough money to purchase the course and run it by volunteers.
“We opened a Facebook page and asked for $700,000 in pledges. We thought everyone all over Canada who used to be a Pictonian would throw some money into the pot,” he said.
However, the response has been slow with just 18 people stepping up to donate to the cause.
“It just baffles me that nobody cares.”
MacDonald said the association has approached both the federal and provincial government for funding, but it hasn’t had any luck securing any money as of yet.
“This is for us as much as it is for the kids,” he said. “There are about 150 kids come here every summer. They get dropped off by their parents, play some golf and bike or walk home.”
He said when learn how to play on the nine-hole course, they move on to more challenging courses in the New Glasgow area.
“When the young fellows get the bug, they go up there,” MacDonald said, adding that the Pictou course is beneficial to the larger clubs because it keeps young people interested in the game.
He said he volunteered to cut the grass last year to try and salvage the course, but if nothing is done this year to open it up, it could be too late to save it.
MacDonald said when he was younger, the Pictou Golf and Country Club was the place to be on a summer evening and he would like others to have the same experience.
“In the heyday of the Lions Club here, I was in my 20s and 30s and this place was wide open. You couldn’t get in here. You played golf until the sun went down and you played cards until the bartender threw you out.”
MacDonald said the West Pictou Golf Association is realistic about the future of the club and just wants a chance to make it work.
“Times change, we know that, but this place has potential. No one is going to make a fortune here, but we know if we can somehow get this thing running, we can generate enough income to sustain it and improve it a little bit every year.”
More information about the Pictou Golf and Country Club can be found on the Facebook page, West Pictou Golfers Association.