The cash-strapped government of Prince Edward Island owns four golf courses, and its attempts to sell them since 2007 have been futile.

No wonder.

The challenges facing the industry in Canada – rounds of golf are down and there is no growth in players over the past several years – are amplified in the tiny province, which has the most courses per capita in the country, according to Golf Canada.

Nearly 25 years ago, the PEI government tied itself to the explosion of golf across North America and adopted the game as one of its tourism pillars – green fairways complementing Anne of Green Gables. It created a Crown Corporation to operate the courses, with the tourism minister of the day, Wes MacAleer, saying: “The vision is to have golf development pay its way.”

It hasn’t. The projections of revenue and growth were based on a “foundation of bunker sand,” according to Ian Munro, an economist and author of a report released last week by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

*This article appeared in the Globe and Mail