Don't be surprised if you hear a lot of young golfers shouting "Fore-Twenty!" in British Columbia this fall. A new survey has found that more than half of golfers under 35 plan to enjoy a little "puff, puff, putt" after Canada legalizes recreational marijuana on October 17.
In preparation for legalization day, BC Golf - the province's official golf association - and the sport publication Inside Golf teamed up to poll golfers across the province about their pot preferences. While a clear majority of younger golfers are looking forward to bringing some green on the green, older putters aren't so keen.
"We’re hearing a different story from an older demographic," BC Golf CEO Kris Jonasson told Global News, adding that the older crowd might be put off of some venues if there's a thick smell of cannabis on the course.
"If you’re having a beer on the golf course, you’re not really disturbing the people that you’re playing with," Jonasson explained. "If you’re smoking cannabis on the golf course, there is an odor and some people may find that odor offensive."
According to the ongoing survey, which has already received over 4,000 responses, only 1 in 10 golfers aged 55 or older plan to smoke before taking a stroke. And only 1 in 3 see smoking up as the same as having a drink or a cigarette on the course. In contrast, two-thirds of younger golfers see toking as the same as drinking or smoking.
But whether they can have a J before they tee off is up for debate. BC's regulations ban cannabis use in public places like skating rinks, parks and playgrounds. But golf courses are a gray area because they are not entirely public or private.
So instead of developing a strict pot policy, Jonasson wants to treat cannabis as an issue of propriety.
"Golf is a very traditional game. We’re seeing a new demographic coming in. We have to look at the whole question of etiquette and modernize the rules of etiquette."
At the same time, clubs will have to abide by provincial bylaws that ban cannabis use in the workplace.
"Golf courses are going to have to find an appropriate balance between the rights of employees to have a smoke-free environment and the rights of the members potentially to use cannabis on the golf course," Kyla Lee, a criminal lawyer for Acumen Law, told Global News.
Meanwhile, someone out there is probably working on a special green that you can putt on then puff afterward - just like in 'Caddyshack.'