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Celebrating its 100th year, Thames Valley Golf Course is ready for spring swings | CBC News

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It may still feel like sweater weather but starting Thursday, Londoners can hit the links at the city’s two municipally owned golf courses, including one celebrating a special anniversary. 

Both the Thames Valley and Fanshawe courses take their first bookings on Thursday and this will be the Thames Valley course’s 100th season. 

To mark its first century, the course will open this year with a refreshed clubhouse. 

“We’ve replaced some of the 1970s flooring and furniture with 2024 flooring an furniture,” joked Mike Vandertuin of the city’s recreation department.

The city has created special merchandise, including this ball, to celebrate the course’s 100-year anniversary. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

And while the interior has undergone an upgrade, the massive windows and open patio still look out to a pleasing vista along over the 18th green.

“It’s a very picturesque course,” said Vandertuin. 

Special events are planned to celebrate the century season, including a tournament for youth players after the school year ends in June.

Thames Valley is a traditional 18-hole course but also has a nine-hole Hickory course with shorter Par-3 and Par-4 holes. Vandertuin said the Hickory course is well-suited to younger and older players who want to enjoy a round without the challenge of two long shots before reaching the green.

Thames Valley Golf Course to open with renovations and updates

London’s public golf courses are set to open for the season on Thursday. Mike Vandertuin, the manager of sports services and development with the City of London provides an update.

While it’s not an uncommon arrangement, not all municipalities are in the golf business. Vandertuin said it helps keep the game popular by making it more affordable.

“We’re open to everybody, anyone can come and play and we have passes available that people can purchase,” he said.

Passes are available for either of the two municipal courses or one pass that allows access to both courses. 

Back in 2021, London city council voted to close what had been the third municipally owned course: River Road.

It was a controversial decision, but a city staff report said the course was under performing and that closing it and selling the land would help keep the city’s golf program viable. 

Mike Vandertuin inside the clubhouse, which has updated furniture and carpeting for this year.
Mike Vandertuin inside the clubhouse, which has updated furniture and carpeting for this year. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

And while golf’s popularly has had peaks and valleys, Vandertuin said it remains popular. 

“We had our best year last year with 120,000 rounds on both of our properties,” he said. “We saw a bump coming out of COVID-19 and we continue to see excitement in the game.” 

Vandertuin said since River Road’s closure, they’ve seen an increase in bookings at both the Fanshawe and Thames Valley courses. He’s expecting strong bookings for Thursday and through the first weekend, even if the cooler weather prevails. 

“Our first available tee times were for 10 a.m. Thursday and some of those slots are already booked,” he said.

For information about golf passes and how to book a tee time, visit london.ca/golf.

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