Rolling Greens might not be the first golf course to let people smoke weed while they're on the green, but co-owner Gordon Weiske says his course in Smiths Falls, Ontario could be the first in the world to make cannabis central to their identity. And with a tagline like 'Come Roll With Us,' he's probably not wrong.
"It's not like we've invented anything new," Weiske told Civilized. "We've just created an opportunity where we're encouraging you to come here and enjoy cannabis."
However, Weiske says Rolling Greens is "going beyond just saying, 'come enjoy cannabis at our site.'" Cannabis will be part of the course's identity, with nods to the culture to be found throughout.
"We're looking to give each hole a cannabis theme as well."
Golf and cannabis may not seem like an obvious fit, but Weiske isn't wrong when he says that people have been mixing the two for a long time now. A recent survey from BC Golf found that more than half of the province's young putters planned to bring some marijuana along the next time they hit the greens. Those young golfers are exactly the people Weiske says he hopes to see on the course once Rolling Greens opens up.
"The sport in general isn't typically young, it's usually a more of a mature age. I think we'll be attracting a lot of new golfers."
That appears to be the general sentiment from the sporting community as well. Weiske says golf clubs and associations from across the country have been calling him to ask for advice on how to introduce cannabis to their own courses in hopes of injecting a little youth into the sport. Rolling Greens even received some positive press from TSN's respected golf columnist Bob Weeks, which was very exciting for Weiske.
"Bob Weeks was one of the first to call and interview me. And everybody in the golf world went, 'Wow, if Bob says this is okay, it must be.'"
While Weiske is hopeful that Rolling Greens will become a popular travel destination for people looking to experience a bit of the Canadian cannabis tourism scene, the course is currently only operating as a bring-your-own-weed facility. That's not because they're against selling legal cannabis onsite, but the rules and regulations of Ontario's cannabis retail system has created some roadblocks for them. The province has issued only 25 licenses via lottery so far—none of which are in Smith's Falls.
However, Rolling Greens is only a 40-minute drive from Ottawa—Canada's capital city and a major tourist destination. So visiting golfers will likely take a detour and hit up the fairway in Smiths Falls.
Some might criticize Rolling Greens for promoting recreational cannabis at the expense of medical marijuana, which has fought hard to earn respect as a legitimate medicine. While Weiske says we shouldn't diminish the fact that cannabis is a powerful medicine (and he has hopes that the course will eventually do some real research on how cannabis affects an athlete's abilities), he believes there are other aspects of cannabis that sometimes get forgotten.
"Cannabis has always been enjoyed, it's always been a social thing and the fun sort of has been taken out of it. I feel the reason why our little news story has gained so much attention is because it's a fun story."
Golfers will get their first chance to hit the Smiths Falls course when Rolling Greens hosts their "soft launch" on April 20th, which they will follow up with a bigger grand opening event in the coming months.