It’s funny…friend of Now on the Tee and fellow blog superstar Cal often asks if I miss playing golf during the winter and the answer is surprisingly no. For me, the break is welcomed but to be completely honest, I’ll likely start getting antsy around the beginning of March.
Then again, being a new dad has taken up almost all of my time away from work so perhaps I won’t be daydreaming about golf anytime soon.
Still, I have to start doing some planning soon, pretty ridiculous if you ask me considering it’s the middle of January. The Golf Association of Ontario opens up their online tournament registration for 2009 at noon today and if I decide to qualify for any provincial events this year, I’ll need to act fast if I have a preference on qualifying courses.
If you recall, last year I missed out on playing Westmount G&CC, one of the qualifying sites for the Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship, due to the fact it filled up within a day.
This year, there aren’t as many tantalizing options.
I’ve asked Harry if he wants to play in the Better Ball again and I haven’t heard back from him. Obviously, he’s out looking for linens like any whipped engaged guy would be doing and hasn’t replied to me yet. If Harry declines or doesn’t get back to me, I’ll try to coerce somebody else to join me for the event.
Brantford G&CC is once again hosting a qualifier and I really enjoyed playing there last year. Also, Burlington G&CC has offered up their course as well, an interesting option. I’ve never played Burlington before and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the course. NOTT reader Stevie G used to work at Burlington before coming to our club and says it’s a great track.
The third option, in my opinion, for the Better Ball qualifier is Eagles Nest GC, a course I played last year for the first time. There are six other courses too but none of them are interesting enough for me to pay $107.50 to play (Entry Fee per person).
The other provincial tournament I’m looking at is the Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship, which is taking place this year at Loyalist GC in Bath, Ontario. Now, I’ve never played Loyalist before so take this with a grain of salt but playing another Ted Baker course isn’t really at the top of my list of things to do.
Baker is the man behind many of the Kaneff Golf designs, including Lionhead and Royal Niagara, neither of which are inspiring places to play.
That said, it’s the Ontario Mid-Am we’re talking about so I may decide to qualify again this year. Possible qualifying courses include Essex G&CC in the Windsor area, a course I’ve never played but would love to see. Other than that, there is nothing really great: Willow Valley is a Graham Cooke designed public course north of Hamilton that plays like LochNess Links-lite. Always in good shape from what I remember, relatively fun to play but a bit bland.
There’s also Oshawa G&CC but there’s no way I’m trying to qualify there – see, Oshawa has a great number of excellent players who play at the provincial level and they will ALL tee up at Oshawa to try to qualify. I’ve played there once before and home course knowledge is a big deal there, with many quirky, short holes. I wouldn’t stand a chance out there. Other slight possibilities include Black Bear Ridge in Belleville, which I don’t know much about and also Highland G&CC in London, one of our reciprocals at St. Catharines as part of the Stanley Thompson alliance. I haven’t played there either.
There are a few other courses I could choose but none of them look enticing, including local site Bridgewater. The entry fee for the Mid-Am is around $175.00, which is just ludicrous. No way in hell am I paying that to play Bridgewater!
So I have a couple decisions to make. Anyone out there have any suggestions?
EDIT TO ADD:
Well, that didn’t take long. My boy Harry has finally returned from his weekend-long, fashion outlet mall shopping trip to say he’s in for the Better Ball again this year. Harris ranked Bridgewater as his top choice, with Burlington second and Brantford third, because he didn’t want to drive too far.
So Burlington it is! Haha!
Now, I need to figure out if I’m going to try for the Mid-Am and if so, which course should I play? Essex seems way too far away (four hour drive) and it’s really the only attractive option for me right now. Gosh, it has me considering going for the actual Ontario Amateur instead, where I can play London Hunt Club as a qualifying course.
Need to think this over more…again, any suggestions are welcome!