3-Hole Stretches of Greatness

3-Hole Stretches of Greatness

3-Hole Stretches of Greatness?

“It’s the little things that separate the good from the great” – Bob Schneider

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Work taking place in late Summer 2016 on a revised (and spectacular) 11th hole at Algonquin.  I can’t wait to get back and experience this course again, and the start of an epic 3 hole stretch.

In golf (and with few exceptions) greatness is highly subjective.  I casually posed a question on Twitter recently asking for people to share their best 3-hole stretch on a golf course in Canada.  My process of reflection identified several stretches of golf holes that I loved experiencing.  I’m not trying to overthink this or place strict parameters around this; simply what golf holes come to mind that stand above others?

And as someone who is slowly developing interests around golf architecture I will admit that many of my choices are predicated on beauty.  Shallow perhaps, but for many of us awe inspiring scenery can captivate us and often (as is the case for myself) take me back to replay great golf holes over and over again.  There’s many to share so we go:

Highlands Links – I have written if there’s only one course I could play it would be Highlands Links.  Arguably Stanley Thompson’s finest work, it is quite possible that people will have many selections here.  For me, I’ll select holes 5-7.  The par 3 5th has one of the more challenging greens on the course.  Holes 6 and 7 are both par 5’s and the 7th takes players inland from along the ocean.  If 6 is the ‘beauty’, then 7 is the ‘beast’.  Killiecrankie (all holes are named in Gaelic to honour the heritage of the area and its Scottish influences).  The 7th at Highlands Links is my favourite par 5 in all of Canada and it’s an appropriate start to this list. (Click here for my review of Highlands Links)

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Tobiano’s 8th hole.  After a challenging drive this is what awaits.  Spectacular.

Tobiano – I stand by my words that Tobiano may have 18 signature holes but the diversity, beauty and challenge of holes 6-8 stand out for me.  The 6th is a par 4 which overlooks Kamloops Lake and the approach provides the illusion of an infinity green, where anything long may end up in the lake.  It won’t, but it helps sharpens the focus which is challenging given the natural beauty of the landscape.  Focus won’t be a problem on the tough par 3 7th which is played over a deep gorge to a wide green.  And the par 5 8th hole requires a straight and confident tee shot to clear another gorge.  The hole demands three excellent shots (for lightweights like me anyway) to get on in regulation and closes off a sensational stretch of beautiful and challenging golf holes. (Click here for my review of Tobiano)

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Looking at the 6th green at Tobiano.  Tom McBroom created this affinity green effect overlooking Kamloops Lake

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Talk about distractions, this is your view on your approach on the gorgeous par 5 3rd hole at Banff Springs

Banff Springs – another Stanley Thompson gem in Alberta, my favourite stretch of golf holes here culminates with arguably the country’s best par 3.  Holes 2-4 are a par 3-5-3 stretch.  The second hole has players playing slightly uphill and staring at a massive mountain face off in the distance.  The hole, seemingly benign, is well guarded by bunkers which guard the hole, and par, well.  The 3rd hole is another one of my favourite par 5’s in the country.  Playing gently left to right and supported with wide fairways with very little trouble to speak of, this hole is part of a stretch which allows golfers to ease into their round and simply appreciate the beauty of this course.  Thompson didn’t overthink this one and this hole alone has me wanting to get back to Banff Springs.  But the showstopper at Banff Springs is the celebrated 4th hole, the Devil’s Cauldron.  Playing alone, I likely stared and took photos for a good five minutes before breathing deep and letting it fly over the valley to the downhill green. (Click here for my review of Banff Springs)

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Holding my finish on the famous par 3 4th hole, Devil’s Cauldron, at Banff Springs

Other favourites of mine are as follows:

Humber Valley – Holes 3-5.  The downhill start to this course approaching Deer Lake gets better and better, culminating with a lakeside par 3 on the 5th hole.  While the 10th hole gets much love for its elevated tee there is much more to this course to appreciate. (Click here for my review of Humber Valley)

The Lakes – Incorporating two of the signature holes on this course, the stretch from 4 to 6 is a great par 3-4-4 run which may have you focus more on your camera and less on the scorecard.  The 6th tee is iconic with its views overlooking the Bras D’Or Lake. (Click here for my review of The Lakes)

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I  love this shot.  Photo Credit to Andrew Stoakley.  Standing on the 6th tee at The Lakes overlooking the Bras D’Or Lake.

Cabot Links – some may argue for holes 10-12 given their beauty and diversity but I opt for holes 14-16.  This par 3-4-4 stretch ends with my favourite par 4 in the country and the last oceanside hole on the course before an inland closing two. (Click here for my review of Cabot Links)

Cabot Links 16th

This is my favourite golf hole I’ve ever played, the 16th at Cabot Links.

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Brilliant design on the back nine by Tom McBroom.  The tranquility and natural beauty makes this one of my favourites.  What a visual off the tee!

Tower Ranch – A stunning and stout Tom McBroom design shines its brightest for me on an isolated stretch on the back nine.  The highest points on the course, holes 13-15 is a par 4-3-5 stretch which has a very clear wow factor.  Enjoy the view over Kelowna from the 15th green and cement memories from one of the country’s best three-hole stretches. (Click here for my review of Tower Ranch)

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Looking down at Kelowna from one of the highest points on the course at Tower Ranch

Algonquin – From a signature hole to a signature stretch, holes 11-13 could well become Canada’s Amen Corner.  While the 12th hole gets its due – rightfully so – for its sensational downhill par 3, the 11th has been recently renovated to provide a strong infinity green feel and brings the prominence of the ocean into view (hopefully not play).  The par 5 13th hugs the ocean and a new tee box will make the tee shot more exciting. (Click here for my review of Algonquin)

 

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The par 3 12th at Algonquin will have competition now for a signature hole with work completed at 11 and 13.  What a stretch of golf holes!

There’s my list, albeit incomplete, but with highlights I wanted to share.

Here are some responses from Twitter for you:

Cabot Cliffs –only fitting to have the top ranked course in the country represented.  Both @marvenm and @caperguy33 shared 15-17 as their pick. (And with that stunning par 3 16th, who can argue)

The Lakes – another shoutout for this Cape Breton course, this time from @stoakleyaudio.  Holes 16-18 are his choices and having played them together I can’t argue with his selection.

Crowbush Cove – Nice to see @golfpei and @peisfinestgolf represented.  Holes 6-8 are the choice of @twhamilton and I concur.  Tough to play when the wind is up but no arguing their greatness. (Click here for my review of Crowbush Cove)

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PEI is perfect for a buddies trip.  In 2015, we played 180 holes in 6 days and there are many 3-hole stretches for consideration.

Westmount – Nice to see someone pick a course from their youth.  Here, celebrated author @mcphersoncomm shares holes 14-16 from this Ontario course.  Makes me wonder if there’s a stretch of holes at Chedoke’s Martin Course in Hamilton, where I grew up? (http://www.westmountgolf.com/)

Briars – Keeping in Ontario, @eatsleepgolf makes an appropriate case for holes 11-13 at this resort course just south of Lake Simcoe.  Playing here is like going back in time, it’s so beautiful. (Click here for my review of The Briars)

Calgary – One the most stunning closing stretch of any course I’ve played, @golfismental shared his choice on his home course.  Holes 16-18 utilize elevation change as beautifully and is as challenging as any course I’ve played.  Standing on the 18th tee in a match play would be an experience! (Click here for my review of Calgary GCC)

 

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Whatever you do, grab a club you feel confident with on the 18th tee at the iconic Calgary Golf and Country Club.

St. George’s – @golfismental was kind enough to share from his recent visit to Toronto and round at this great Canadian course.  Here, holes 2-5 provide a four-hole stretch of greatness.  In addition, holes 13-15 on the back were identified.  As one of the top courses in the country it is no surprise to see so many options. (Click here for a review of St. George’s as found on the Golf Is Mental site)

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Looking back from the 3rd green at Banff Springs.

There you have it!  I acknowledge this list is incomplete so share with your favourite 3-hole stretch.

 

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Shutting The Trunk On My 2017 Season

I was fortunate to get out before the rain.  Playing alone, as one is apt to do in November when the temperatures are firmly set in single digits, I checked in and quickly made my may to the first tee.  Two balls, why not.  No scorecard, no need for one.  It was easy to smile and enjoy the day, even on an overcast day with a light drizzle.  And in my never-ending quest to get better my project for the afternoon was to begin to establish a pre-shot routine, focusing on a slow backswing and better body rotation.  But bundled up in three layers I tended to revert back to just smiling and enjoying the day.  I might have played 12 holes or so, I wasn’t counting, before the drizzle gave way to rain.  By the time I made it back to the car the rain had intensified and as I placed the clubs in the car I sensed that was it for my 2017 season.  And I was ok with that.

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After a tidy par, looking back at the 4th green of the New Course

It’s been a unique and challenging season for me.  My index rose almost 1.5 strokes to 10.6 and I got to late August and found myself struggling with golfer’s elbow.  Some time off helped, a bit.  I continued with my lessons, working hard (and smart) for greater consistency off the tee (as I have for almost 25 years, truthfully).  Better fundamentals – both on the tee and around the greens – are giving me cause for optimism for 2018.

The year was not without its highlights.  I am finishing my first year as an associate member of Hidden Lake Golf Club.  Living about 10 minutes away makes the convenience of belonging more appreciated that I could have imagined.  I was able to play 17 of 21 weeks of Men’s Night and got in with a great group of guys.  My regular foursome is stereotypical in that we support good play and don’t miss a chance to needle each other for missed putts and the odd time a fairway hit is not our own.  I loved my experience with the club championship and am completely hooked on competitive play.  I’m already excited for next year.

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I struggled through what I am starting to see as a regular mid-season swoon.  This year was a solid 5 or 6 week stretch of inconsistent and poor play in the height of summer.  It culminated at one of my low points in the game where my anxiety kicked in early in a round and took hold but two good friends whom I was playing with kept me focused on breathing and simply having fun.  Two good rounds at the club championship seemed to get me back and the fall season has been one where bad weather and I have paired up regularly for a quick nine or a very quiet round.

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In the midst of being rained off the golf course this October.

Personally, my fall, like my golf game this year, has not gone according to plan.  Within one week my 12 year old dog took sick and we had to put him down.  I had two unexpected business trips thrown in too.  An early fall vacation (which was fabulous) seems like ages ago.  I am not writing all this to lament, but simply to share that life as with golf needs to be played as it lies.  But a part of me has welcomed time for reflection.

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Not exactly the kind of dog to chase away geese on a course, but Charlie was loyal and so friendly

Looking back, my golf season, like my time on the course this past Saturday, has been fun.  I have been quiet of late with my blogging and I suppose my schedule and my life dictated most of that.  But I am very happy to be able to re-connect with you and hope your golf season was an enjoyable, long and successful one.  I learned a great deal this year and embrace the opportunities for an off season away from the course and to re-charge.  It’s only 4+ months until my course is open for the 2018 season!

2018 will also provide me some unique opportunities to chip away at my bucket list, with business trips to Vancouver, Winnipeg and Regina planned…which means time tacked on for golf!

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Breaking Bad – What Makes a Golf Course Bad?

Great golf courses, like beauty, are really in the eyes of the beholder.  There are some who loath golf course rankings, feeling they are subjective and breaking down individual components of a course can detract from the overall experience.  Fact is, I can’t disagree with these sentiments.  The context of my love for golf course rankings and the conversation over quality courses is this very subjectivity.  I enjoy them but don’t take them too seriously.  I acknowledge that there are significant ramifications from being on a top 100 list or a top 59 list.  For courses 101 or 60, they miss out on the publicity and promotion and potential benefit.   But now look what I have done, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of quality.

I understand why publications won’t shine a light on bad courses.  Perhaps over a beer after a round players will lament on a course they’ve played and characteristics they didn’t like.  Maybe it is the frustration of getting beat up on a tough design, or the pro shop staff who in an effort to multi task were short, or outright rude.  For some, its dropping over $100 to play a course they feel is merely marginally better than their $35 muni, or, the horror of a course where the greens and tee boxes resemble shag carpeting or the number of divots on the fairway make you feel you’re playing on the moon.   I set a poll on Twitter asking which matters most in making a course ‘bad’?  The criteria were conditions, layout, people or value.

 

The worst course I ever played was a local 9 hole course in Ontario.  The course no longer exists, having been sold for development.  I doubt many tears were shed, though as players perhaps we romanticize the idea of playing on a goat track which had little to no redeeming characteristics save the space for us to drag our clubs out and swing.  Sure, we hated it when we played there, struggling for a patch of grass on the fairway to avoid the hardpan lie we drew.  Acknowledging that reading the greens was fruitless since the ball would inevitably bound around on its own unique path that could never be replicated if you tried.  The argument for the ultra low-end, entry level course is perfectly valid…give a father and his daughter a place where they can spend two hours, learn the game and enjoy each other’s time.  I’d argue we need more courses like this, good or bad.

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Playing on Christmas Eve (as I did in 2015), the bar for bad golf simply doesn’t exist for me!

 

The poll was meant to identify the unexpectedly bad.  The ‘hey, everyone else loves this course but me’ bad.  And back to John Gordon’s argument of subjectivity, bad courses, like good courses will be identified for uniquely different reasons.

One of favourite golf writers is Robert Thompson.  Robert has a gift of writing with clarity and incredible honesty.  His critique of courses – many found on the same top 100 or 59 lists which I speak of – is clear and intelligent in its rationale.  It is refreshing to read someone with conviction admonishing courses for perceived shortcomings.  And this is not to say, by any means, he feels these courses are bad.  More that, in his opinion, they are not as great as the accolades they’re received.  He simply shines a light on aspects of the course and the golfing experience that he didn’t enjoy.

So to be completely honest, I acknowledge that is one of my drivers in this whole exercise.  By engaging on Twitter with golfers and other golf writers to ask and discuss, what makes a course bad I am hoping to build on my critical thought of golf course quality.   As for my poll a slight majority of responses were around conditioning and that makes sense.  I was intrigued that almost 50% of responses were split in areas of layout, people and value.   Bad golf, like great golf, is highly subjective.

I am not advocating for a list of bad courses in Canada.  I am merely seeking greater understanding around the complexities of this issue and to continue to engage around all that is great…and perhaps less than great, in golf in Canada.  I’ll be one of the first to crack open publications or view sites that share their ‘best of’ lists.  I’ll be active on social media with people, always happy to discuss and share favourite courses.   I welcome your stories, thoughts and comments.

Reflections from my first Club Championship

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As Bob Rotella writes, “Play to play great”.

Last year I had a chance to play in the Ontario Public Player Championships and got my first real taste for competitive play.  I wrote about how I’d love to experience that again.  This year, having joined Hidden Lake Golf Club in my new hometown I welcomed the chance to participate in the three-day club championships over the August long-weekend.  Leading up to the weekend, and for most of the season truthfully, I had not been playing good golf; my index had risen over 2 strokes and I struggled to get the ball in play consistently off the tee.

So with expectations firmly set, I arrived on Saturday to face one of the windiest days of the season.  Winds of 40-50 km/h made scoring challenging for all in the Championship flight, my A flight and the Women’s flight.  Playing in the A Flight, my 84 was not only below my average for the season, it placed me in 5th place (after adjusting for my index) and in a good position, also giving me some much welcomed confidence heading into the next two days.

Sunday was a much nicer day, calmer conditions prevailed the players moved onto Hidden Lake’s Old Course (a tighter layout but with smaller and easier greens).  Another strong round, an 82, placed me a tie for third and only 6 strokes out of the lead.  Most notably over these two days was the fact I had one hole each round with a triple or worse.  If I could manage the large scores I felt I had a chance to improve.

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Formerly Lake Medad, many years back, Hidden Lake has two courses available for golfers

Monday was another nice weather day and a later tee time meant I had time to ease into my day at home and take my time warming up.  I was nervous and excited and welcomed the challenge of the day.  Not ever really getting comfortable with my swing was that challenge, and the result was a scrambling effort of 88, including yet another hole where I had a very high score.  After 54 holes, I finished T-6 in my flight, and while it was not the result I was looking for, there were many takeaways for me:

  • Every shot matters. And while this sounds cliché the process of being present, focused and playing all shots purposefully can make a good round great or a poor round good.  I did well here but understand my course management has opportunity for significant improvement.

 

  • Bob Rotella’s point about accept the challenge of the day was spot on. Monday was challenging; I didn’t have my ‘A’ game but for 14 holes had scrambled and scored as well as I could have.  Even after a tough hole in the final stretch I battled to close strong.

 

  • Like an examination, competitive play will expose parts of your game and like an exam; practice and preparation will build confidence for the tournament. I am already looking forward to next year and developing a plan in the off season to build on my weaknesses.  Improving on my three bad holes over the three days would have had a significant impact on my positioning (but I am sure others could say the same).

 

  • Have fun. My tour earnings or world golf rankings were not impacted by this event.  For someone who’s had challenges with anxiety and is prone to take myself too seriously sometimes I loved the chance to meet new people, try my best and savour the experience.  Of all the aspects of my game, my attitude was the best (putting a close second) and I am very proud of that.

 

  • I would like to experience more competitive play. Even if just to help manage the nerves, but truthfully it such a fantastic way to embrace the game of golf.  Next year I am going to sign up for individual Match Play at the club as well.

 

  • There is some disappointment. I had a very good chance to place well and even win my flight.  I have the capacity to play better golf.  Part of this post and the reflection from last month’s championships is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of my play so I can build myself into a better competitive player.

Congratulations to the winners in the A Flight, Women’s Flight our Championship Flight.  The Championship Flight saw our Junior Champion battle our 7-time Club Champion (who’s also played in the Canadian Open before).  Lars Melander won his 8th Club title with a strong closing round 1 under par 70.  John Kawiuk and Tommy Williams shared medal honours for the A Flight and Sharon Labbett is the Women’s Club Champion for 2017.  Lynn Mercier won the Women’s Net Championship.  Congratulations to all winners and participants.  Thanks too to the staff that worked hard to serve and support us and had the courses in excellent condition over the three days.  As for me, time to get to work in preparation for 2018.

 

Golf and Travel in Canada – Part 1

If you’re from away you may not know that Canada is the second largest country in terms of surface area (under 10 million square km).  Canada is also second in terms of the number of golf courses in the world at 2,298 (http://pgaofcanada.uberflip.com/i/834072-golf-facilities-in-canada-2017-report), impressive for a golf-mad country with over 5 million players (according to Golf Canada).

My tip for travel – in any country – is to pick a region or two and spend dedicated time; travel around, play golf and immerse yourself in the food, culture and history of the area.  If you’re not from Canada, for goodness sake, do your homework on the weather…we do extremes exceptionally well.  I pack a winter hat (toque) in my golf bag all year just do you know.  If you’re open to all that’s possible in Canada here are just a few options:

Culture

This is easy, visit Newfoundland and Labrador.  Within Canada this is one of the most unique geographic and cultural places to see and experience.  The capitol, St. John’s is a great base to start your Newfoundland adventure.  Simply some of the most honest kind-hearted people you’ll ever want to meet; the food, music and land (and sea) make this one of my favourite places to visit in Canada.  Leo’s was the most authentic fish and chips location I’ve experienced in St. John’s though Ches’s is a strong option (order the stuffing and gravy on top of the fish and chips).  If you need a quick golf fix there’s a course, Pippy Park, mere minutes from the St. John’s airport though Clovelly is another option in the city.  Worth the drive, a visit to Gros Morne National Park will take you close to Humber Valley Golf Resort.  One of the top public courses in Canada, the view on the 10th tee gets all the accolades but facts are you better have your camera ready earlier than that.  During your visit maybe you’ll get screeched in too?

Fun Fact – Twilingate, NL is the Iceberg Capital of Canada

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Minutes from St. John’s airport, Pippy Park offers this sensational view!

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Quidi Vidi, located within St. John’s, has a rich history, a fabulous brewery and a vibrant artisan community.

Wonders of the World

Niagara Falls is a spectacular sight.  Almost 175 feet in height and dropping over 28 million liters of water a second.  With over 12 million tourists a year this is a very popular destination but for golfers no fear, there are many excellent courses to enjoy too.  Golf complements Niagara’s world class wines and the natural beauty of the Falls. The Niagara Parks Commission administers two courses I’d recommend:  Oak Hall is a 9-hole course and is just over 1000 yards.  Convenient, picturesque and historic it’s fun for the whole family.  Whirlpool is set close to the Niagara gorge and was designed by one of Canada’s best known golf architects, Stanley Thompson.   My last recommendation is one of the area’s newest courses, Grand Niagara.  Developed by Rees Jones, this course is set back and west of the popular Niagara River area.  Immaculate conditioning and a stern test, this will give you some solitude after the lights, sounds and experiences of Clifton Hill (although I am more a Niagara on the Lake guy myself).

Fun Fact – The Maid of the Mist began operating in 1846 and is North America’s oldest tourist attraction.

Island Life

With a relatively season to enjoy summer weather, three of Canada’s most popular islands offer a multitude of activity to complement some of Canada’s best golf:

Cape Breton Island

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The 6th hole at The Lakes offers an incredibly view of Bras d’Or Lake

Located on Canada’s east coast this is becoming Canada’s world class golf destination, hosting three of Canada’s top 5 courses.  Add to this my favourite drive in all of Canada, the Cabot Trail, and seafood options galore, you will find yourself planning your next visit before you’ve completed the first trip.  Travelers tip – while Cabot’s two courses gets considerable love (and rightfully so) take the time to research options for other courses.  I loved playing The Lakes in Ben Eoin, just outside of Sydney.  Bell Bay in Baddeck hosts a PGA Tour Canada event but the Baddeck Lobster Supper may be the real draw.

Fun Fact – Historic Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, NS has been in operation since 1940 from June to October.

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This is my favourite golf hole I’ve ever played, the 16th at Cabot Links.  (Photo Credit – Cabot Links)

Prince Edward Island

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Anne of Green Gables attracts thousands of tourists and is conveniently adjacent to Green Gables Golf Club in Cavendish, PEI

This is simply my favourite place to play golf in Canada.  The island is barely over 200 kilometers wide yet boasts over 25 courses.  The golf is exceptional, the courses diverse in their layout.  Golf PEI supports the promotion of golf on the Island and provides travel specialists to take care of all your golf travel needs (and from experience they are exceptional).  A vibrant food scene, history, culture and incredible proximity to the sea makes this my favourite golf destination in the country.  And all that without mention of world famous Cows Ice Cream or the fabulous PEI Brewing Company.  I have written extensively about the gentle island, as my 2015 fall golf trip was legendary.

Fun Fact – there is no place on PEI that is more than 16 km from the Sea.

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Stanhope’s seaside views are fantastic.  It also boasts one of the best stretches of golf holes on the island, 11-16, wow.

Vancouver Island

Almost 6000km west of Prince Edward Island is Vancouver Island, set on the west coast of Canada.  Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and is a smaller but vibrant city with an historic charm.  A walk along the harbourfront is a must set near the majestic Fairmont Empress hotel.  I’ve spent a long night sampling local beers at Garrick’s Head but the Bard and Banker along with Bartholomew’s are also highly recommended pubs.  The natural beauty of Vancouver Island is on full display at every corner and a visit to Tofino with its beaches, surfing and storm watching potential is a recommendation I would make to anyone visiting the region.  Golfers do not despair; the Vancouver Island Golf Trail will guide you along 250 kilometers of picturesque coastline of the eastern Island with 13 courses set to break up the drive.  Many of these courses are top rated public courses in Canada including a couple on my own Bucket List of Canadian Courses, Bear Mountain’s two courses (Mountain and Valley) and Storey Creek.

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The Mountain course has integrated it’s famous 19th hole into play and on a clear day there may not be a better view on a golf course on the Island.  (Photo Credit – https://bearmountain.ca/image-gallery/nicklaus-golf/)

Fun Fact – Vancouver Island boasts on the country’s mildest climates and provides year-round golf opportunities.

Of course, these are only a few destinations in Canada where you can easily mix in golf do a diverse agenda of travel and other leisure activity.  I’ll share more destination locations where you can pack the clubs along too and round out a Canadian adventure.  Feel free to contact me directly on Twitter (@36aday) and I’ll share any insight on golf and travel in Canada.  It’s never too early to start planning a golf travel adventure within Canada.  In 2018 I have travel planned for British Columbia (Vancouver…but not the Island), Manitoba (a new adventure for me from a golf perspective) and Saskatchewan (time to revisit this underrated part of the country and explore new highways and courses).  I’ll share my experiences and look forward to experiencing some great public courses.

 

Product Review: RollReady™

Product Review: RollReady™

www.rollready.com

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The question was a simple one, “How do you clean your golf ball on the green?”

This was one of the first questions posed to me from RollReady™ President, Adnan Darr.  We recently met to discuss his new product and for him to share a sample for me to preview.  I had intentionally not done any research into the product so as to allow myself a natural and unbiased first impression.  But it was this question that gave me pause for reflection and made me realize the inconsistency and possibly unhealthy approaches I have taken to clean my golf ball while on the green.  Adnan was confident he had the solution and presented me a RollReady™ to put in play and preview.

Back to my first impressions; the product is incredibly light and seemingly non-intrusive.  The unit clips onto a players’ belt or pants and can easily be positioned to pose no risks to impeding a golf swing.  The convenience of wearing the product provides anytime access to clean your golf ball on the green.  My first impressions were positive and I was curious to put this into play.  In addition to the function of RollReady™, our discussion covered off details of the developmental process and his efforts to gain traction into marketplaces such as ClubLink and other courses.  Adnan truly believes he has a winner on his hands and having put this product into play for six rounds now I can’t disagree.  Here are my reflections having used the product.

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After 6 rounds of use.  Still functional but time for a cleaning.

I was impressed by the simplicity of the design and the initial quality of the product.  I reflected back to times where I had forgotten to bring a towel to the green or was wearing a lighter short or pant and was concerned about cleaning the ball in my pocket…or worse where I would give the ball a quick spit clean.  RollReady™ seemed prepared to take care of all this for me in a quick and easy way, and it did.  Spinning the ball within the unit removes the surface dirt from approach shots effectively.

Retailing for $9.99 the unit is reasonably priced for the service it provides.  However, there are some important points for a consumer to understand, and Adnan and I discussed these and my experiences validated these; RollReady™works in both dry and wet course conditions but players need to be mindful of the conditions to maximize the effectiveness of it.  For example, in damp conditions the unit works exceptionally well in cleaning the ball but does not serve to dry the ball.  In dry conditions players are recommended to dampen the inside of the product to help aid the cleaning process.  I found I had to dampen it every 4 holes or so for it to remain effective so there is some maintenance to consider but over the course of a round there is time to easily do this if you have water on hand.  This is a level of maintenance which some players may find challenging but it is important to keep the product ready to work optimally.

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Surprisingly light and the belt clasp is strong.  And no impact on my swing.

Another important point to know pertains to the lifespan of the product.  Similar to golf gloves, a RollReady™ will not operate at maximum efficiency forever, it is prone to wear.  I feel that this unit will operate ideally for about 10-15 rounds depending on course conditions.  The microfiber cloth inside is prone to getting dirty but instructions advise on how to clean (using non-soapy water and your fingers, not soap and a cloth).  Depending on the number of rounds a player plays each year they will need to consider this if ordering direct.  There are a small number of courses around the Greater Toronto Area which are making RollReady™ available.

Overall, I really like this product.  I understand and acknowledge its limitations but appreciate what it provides for me.  It is lighter and stronger than I had anticipated, works well and does not impede with my golf swing.  It requires more active maintenance than expected and after about 15 rounds I will need to order a new one.  But it is convenient and works very well.  I advise golfers to try it and make your own informed decision on whether this product is for you.  The website provides relevant information on the product, its use and how to order.

 

Time on Golf’s Disabled List

Avid golfers over the course of their time playing the game may likely encounter some pain or discomfort caused by playing which will force them to stay off the course for a while.  In some cases it is a brief stint but for others it is a more extended break.  Following a stretch earlier in August where I played10 rounds in 13 days, I have set the clubs aside until the end of the month.  A break of two weeks should alleviate a mild case of golfer’s elbow (self-diagnosed, mind you).  Of course, most Canadians need to put the clubs in the garage come late fall and wait out the winter.  This weather induced off season will certainly help me get my body and mind feeling better and re-energize me to get back to regular practice and play.

A break from the game, especially when forced, is not easy but the first key for me is acceptance.  Looking longer term, a two-week break will allow my elbow to feel better and, perhaps more importantly, get me into a better mind set for the game.  The extended stretch of golf I played in August had some competitive components to it (more on this in upcoming posts) and while I love the challenge of competitive play, it does help me to relax and enjoy the game as much I wish it would.  Compounded to all this is the fact I have not been playing well.  Again, this can happen and over the course of a season most players will experience the peaks and valleys around performance.  But my play was getting steadily worse.  Proud that my attitude remained positive, I will admit it’s much easier to take a break from golf when the scores have been higher than expected.

Image result for golf injury images, creative commons

Over this time – I am in the middle of my two week self-imposed stint on the disabled list – I am not watching much golf, allowing myself time off true time away from the game (even blogging, which I apologize for).  Giving the mind a break may be just as important for me as the body.  The elbow ache may or may not have had a correlation to a ballooning index and higher scores.  But I plan to come back at the end of the month rested, refreshed and energized to play, practice, have fun and seeking to get better.   It’s been an odd season for me in the sense of a new routine of play, stretches of extended and intensive play and now a new and nagging injury to address.

My time on the disabled list so far has given me an important and appreciated break from the game.  I am going to consider during the off-season a regular break every summer moving forward; it’s helping me to reflect and re-energize.  It’s the first time I have ever had to deal with an injury and given my age and how often I play, I feel very fortunate about that.  I understand not everyone has control over their time on golf’s disabled list.  I am very lucky in that regard.  I’ll be back soon and am eager to tee it up again.  Wishing you all good health, happiness and success on the course.  I’d love to hear from you around how you’ve coped with any golfing injuries.