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Why no one's buying this 9/11-themed golf-course ad

This is the advertisement from Tumbledown Trails that appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on Sept. 9, 2013. The owner of the Tumbledown Trails golf course near Madison, Wis., apologized Tuesday for the ad.


Just in time for the 12th anniversary of the worst terrorism attack in U.S. history, a Wisconsin golf course advertized a 9/11 special: play nine holes for $9.11.

The peppy promotion from Tumbledown Trails appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal Monday – right next to an update on proposed military action against Syria.

Within hours, the golf course's Facebook page was barraged with angry posts. News of the ad blazed through social media channels, AP reports. Death threats ensued.

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Golf course owner and general manager Marc Watts apologized for the ad, but seemed nonplussed by the outcry.

"We're a little hurt by the fact that people are putting such a negative context on this," Watts said. "I thought people would appreciate it."

Tumbledown Trails' promotion has been an annual event since 2010, he said, adding that customers previously welcomed the commemorative discount.

This year, he received threats to burn down the family-run golf course, Watts said. The sheriff sent an officer to the property Tuesday. Nevertheless, Watts decided against shutting down the course for safety reasons, he told AP. "We could close, but then all these people with their negative attitudes, they win."

Death threats are extreme. But since when did calling out blatant opportunism become a "negative attitude"? Would an undertaker get away with offering discount coffins for Remembrance Day?

Watts is either a shrewd backpeddler or hopelessly naive.

Clearly, he didn't pay attention to the public rage that erupted after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when retailers such as American Apparel offered discounts to customers during "Sandy sales."

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And despite his apology, he failed to explain how teeing up for cheap at Tumbledown Trails could be a form of tribute to the nearly 3,000 people killed 12 years ago.

A little tact, please.

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More


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