Golf season is probably still a month and a half away at best, as courses here usually don’t open until the first week of April. The official golf season in Ontario begins in the middle of April and my tournament schedule commences soon afterward.
Here’s a look at what events I’m participating in as things stand right now:
APRIL 28, 2008 –
ONTARIO MEN’S BETTER-BALL QUALIFIER
Brantford Golf & CC, Brantford, ON.
For the second consecutive year, Harry and I will be giving it a go in the Ontario Better-Ball qualifier. Last year, we teamed up to shoot a decent 74 but we fell four shots short of qualifying for the actual event. You can relive our day at Bridgewater by checking out this post.
This year I decided to sign us up to play Brantford G&CC, a 1919 Stanley Thompson design (with help from Nicol Thompson and George Cumming). Neither of us have played here before but I was attracted to the fact that it is considered the 29th best course in the country by Score Golf Magazine. At the end of the day, it should be a fun round on a great course, one I’m really looking forward to.
Should we qualify, something that will likely take a round of 70 or better, we would move onto the tournament proper, being held at Oakdale G&CC in Downsview on May 15th.
MAY 4, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT ONE
Peninsula Lakes GC, Fenwick, ON.
The first event of the season on the Niagara Men’s Tour takes place at Peninsula Lakes, a 27-hole facility located just outside of Fonthill, Ontario.
It’s an above average track for the area, which doesn’t really say much but it is well manicured at all times and a relatively fun place to play. I’m fully-exempt on the tour again this year after finishing 12th overall last year. This will be the second consecutive year the tour has played at Pen Lakes and I have decent memories of last year’s 77, which included a quadruple bogey nine on my card.
MAY 6, 2008 –
ONTARIO MEN’S MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIER
Club at Bond Head (South Course), Bond Head, ON.
For the first time, I’m going to attempt to qualify for the provincial mid-amateur championship. Once again, I made the bold decision to pick a qualifying course that I’ve never seen before.
The Club at Bond Head wasn’t my first choice: that would have been the very well regarded Westmount G&CC in Kitchener, rated in the top twenty in the country by Score Golf. However, the Westmount qualifier filled up to capacity within a week, so my chances of playing there vanished quite quickly.
Bond Head will be a tough test. A firm, fast, linksy layout that measures well over 7000 yards from the tips and features wild bunkering and long fescue grasses, scoring will be high here. I see a couple of advantages playing here: first of all, it’s a public track and there are no members of the course playing in the qualifier from what I’ve seen. Secondly, tough courses usually favour my grinding game so if I can get in to the clubhouse in less than 80 shots, I’ll likely make it through to the actual event, which is being held at Thornhill G&CC during the first week of June.
I really want to make it through in this event and I’m looking forward to the chance to play a practice round here before the qualifier. Harry is also teeing it up in the qualifier at Bond Head so again, it should be a fun day.
MAY 25, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT TWO
Grand Niagara Resort, Niagara Falls, ON.
The second leg of the men’s tour takes place at the Rees Jones’ designed Grand Niagara Resort, a course I’ve played a few times with limited success.
The tour first played Grand Niagara in 2006, a year after the course opened for business. I shot 80 in that event, my best score in three tries at the place but it was good enough to finish in 15th at that stop. It’s a pretty bland track but usually in great shape.
JUNE 8, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT THREE
Riverview Golf Club, Fenwick, ON.
When I told my buddy Toast that the tour was making a stop at Riverview, he hilariously said,
“What the hell is Riverview?”
That my friends is a course that lacks an identity. I’ve played golf on and off for over twenty years and never have teed it up at Riverview. I have no idea what to expect to be perfectly honest.
JULY 6, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT FOUR
Rockway Glen GC, St. Catharines, ON.
The less said about this dump, the better…
Oh I can’t help myself!
I hate this place. Worst golf course in the region in my opinion. Just a piss-poor design with horrible hazard placements throughout the course. There are a couple of holes out here that drive me crazy they’re so awful. Maybe I’ll just get hammered this day or something to dull the pain.
Ah who am I kidding? They probably don’t even have a liquor license…
AUGUST 10, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT FIVE
LochNess Links, Welland, ON.
From the worst course in the area to arguably one of the best, the former Hunter’s Pointe Golf Club will be hosting the tour’s fifth event.
This is a very sporty, Scottish links style course in Welland where wind can be a huge factor. It just might be one of Graham Cooke’s best courses.
I’ve had some good rounds out here, with a low of 74 but you can easily blow up out here too. In fact, the last time the tour was out here in 2006, I shot a tasty 86. Regardless, I know the course well and have played it a ton. You need to drive the ball well here but if you do, you can score, as the greens always roll really true.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2008 –
NIAGARA MEN’S TOUR: EVENT SIX
Thundering Waters Golf Club, Niagara Falls, ON.
Ugh. I’m not a fan of this place either.
John Daly’s first ‘Signature Design’ is extremely penal and not in the way you’d think considering the name of the celebrity on the front of the scorecard.
This is a very tight track with penal bunkering and odd design choices throughout. It may be sour grapes on my part, as my best score is 81 in the two or three times I’ve played out here…and the 81 I shot was me playing lights out!
The conditioning is brutal out there – they opened the course a year too early and it still hasn’t fully recovered. The driving range only accommodates 7-irons or less and the putting green is thimble-sized. I will admit there are a few really nice holes out there and it has some decent ‘bones’ but the course overall is a disappointment. I always exit the 18th hole with steam coming out of my ears because of the nutty architecture.
There are many other tournaments I’ll likely be participating in as well.
At the club alone, I’ll obviously be making a run at my first club championship once again, with that event taking place over three days during the Civic Holiday weekend in August.
I will continue to support the club in the Niagara Cup competition. There are a bunch of different wrinkles added to the event this year and I’ll go into more detail in the coming months.
I’m also going to try to get in the biggest club event of the season at St. Catharines: The Gentleman’s Invitational, a member-guest event. Our club has one of the only three day invitationals in Canada and it is a two-man, best ball format. My wife’s uncle used to play in the event for years and he’s looking to play in it again this year so I told him I’d sign us up and hope for the best. It may take a year on the waiting list for us to get in this exclusive event.
There is also a chance the gang will head back down to Bradford, Pennsylvania to play in the Pine Acres Two-Man Better Ball Tournament. Pine Acres is a really cool little course in the mountains just across the New York State border and I’ve been fortunate enough to play in the event three times. We missed out last year but the event is being held in late-June again this year and there are no conflicts that weekend so I’ll be sure to press everyone into going again in ’08. We usually get about 8-12 guys that make the 2 1/2 hour drive. It’s a really fun tournament.
Who knows what else the year might bring? One of the regulars at the club has told me a few times that he’s planning on getting me into a couple other prestigious events but I’m not going to hold my breath.
And who knows if something absolutely ridiculous comes along, like the Oakmont charity tournament last year?
I do know one thing – I’ll be playing at least one top-100 in the world course again this year…
One of my old friends just contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me he just picked up a job as assistant pro at venerable St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto. He said I’d better bring my ‘A’ game for that round!
Well, I don’t have an ‘A’ game as everyone knows but I do know one thing. If I am lucky enough to get out there this year, I’ll do everything I can to beat Harry’s great score of 79 that he put up last year. And unlike him, maybe I’ll actually invite my friends to play that day too.
After the man boobs comment, Harris’ invitation will somehow get lost in the mail.