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 in 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.

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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.

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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.

Opinion – The Golden Goose: It’s Our National Championship

I had the pleasure of being present at the recent Golf Journalists Association of Canada Golf and Awards Day.  The evenings most prominent award went to Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member and accomplished author/writer John Gordon, recipient of the Dick Grimm Award, provided annually by the GJAC.  The award recognizes lifetime contributions to the game of golf and John is a most worthy recipient.  In his acceptance speech, he shared a story which really resonated with me about the importance of Canada’s national open.  John mentioned that the late Dick Grimm referred to the Canadian Open as the ‘golden goose’ because it provided so much for the game in Canada, ‘golden eggs’ if you will.

This gave me pause for reflection around the significance and true importance of our national championship.  Let me fully disclose here, I have never attended an RBC Canadian Open but I feel I can appreciate how important it is for golf in this country.  So much so that perhaps I need to give our Open more support.  Understand, this is not to say I stand on a soap box and rail on this historic and prestigious event on the PGA Tour schedule; I don’t.  If anything, I am guilty of being too quiet and almost dismissive of the event.  My focus of my interests in the game are around public golf.  But Glen Abbey, for example, is a publicly accessible venue.  I have played it many, many years ago and practice there more often then maybe I should. It is also on my Bucket List of top public Canadian courses.

 

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For Golf Canada, and numerous sponsors – like title sponsor, RBC – it is a platform to showcase the game of golf in Canada and all that is good about it.  I am not going to say that golf shares a level of passion across this country like hockey, but for many of us the passion is similar.  I read the regular criticisms about Glen Abbey – it renders scores too low, it’s too close to Toronto, and so on.  And I also read people argue why the Canadian Open doesn’t rotate around more around the country.  Fiscal reasons are a significant driver for this along with a less than ideal place on the PGA Tour schedule.  These are items which merit constructive discussion and debate.  But I for one will not let these detract from all that is good about our national championship.  I will heed John’s lesson from Mr. Grimm and focus on the many positives of this event.

Seventeen Canadians are participating this year.  This event showcases the strengths of Canadian golf, notably PGA Teaching Professional Bryn Parry and amateur golf champion and NHL referee Garrett Rank.  The coming out party of then amateur and now professional Jarred Du Toit in 2016 is a success story which will be told for many years.  Annual junior clinics around the tournament site give aspiring Adam Hadwin’s or Brooke Henderson’s access to PGA Tour professionals which can only add to the spark of their own growing interests in the game.  I love junior golf and gravitate to great initiatives which help introduce and grow the game and the Canadian Open plays a significant role in supporting and enabling these (She Swings, She Scores; Fairways; Golf in Schools; Drive Chip and Putt; and so many more).  Also, local charities benefit from the PGA Tour’s charitable arm and the economic boost from this event is significant.  I am sure I could go on, the impact of this event is significant and far reaching.

So John, congratulations on your fantastic achievement on receiving the Dick Grimm Award.  Getting to know you over the last year or so has been a genuine honour and I want to thank you for the lesson you shared with me, likely without realizing it.  I will set a default of greater and more significant support for the Canadian Open, and maybe soon venture out and experience professional golf first hand.  Like so many golfers in this country, maybe it will drive my passion for this game even more.  In closing, the Canadian Open, like the state of the game of golf in 2017, has more positives going for it then we tend to give it credit for.  It’s an event worth celebrating and enjoying.

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I only posed with the trophy…I didn’t touch it.

Lakeview Golf Course – A Unique and Historic Municipal Course

Lakeview Golf Course – A Unique and Historic Municipal Course

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/discover/lakeviewgolf

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Standing on the first tee at Lakeview Golf Course

The uniqueness starts once you pull in the driveway…and enter carefully as your drive bisects the 11th and 10th holes.  Quickly you see the great quality of this course, exceptional for a municipal track.  Conditioning is a strong asset for Lakeview, maybe not its strongest asset but a significant one.  For me, the allure of this course is its history and along with its conditioning it is why it made my personal Bucket List.  The plaque outside the clubhouse shares an overview of the rich history of this course.  The scorecard also provides insight to some of the legendary names who walked the same fairways – Armour, Sarazen and Hagen.  Lakeview hosted two Canadian Opens, in 1923 and 1934.  The City of Mississauga actually provides some dedicated space on the course website to share more of its history.

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I wish more courses promoted the celebrated their history the way Mississauga does with Lakeview.

I played the course in early July and the conditioning was superb.  And while conditions have been wetter than usual, the course has been well kept.  For a municipal course, it dispels so many of the stereotypes around condition.  Greens were consistent and rolled true.  I found surprisingly few ball marks.  The rough was not as penal as it could have been and fairways were excellent.  Bunkers were fair and had sufficient sand, some of the best I’ve played in all season.  It’s a course which its regular players are proud of and it shows.

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Hadn’t even teed off on 1 and someone wanted to play through.  Coyotes can be a common sight at Lakeview.

Yet pace of play was an issue and this was consistent with my previous experience at Lakeview, an issue I acknowledge is not exclusive to Lakeview.  My playing partners, a group of three seniors playing a skins match more than offset the delays and made my visit a real delight, as they needled each other in a lighthearted way which shows the extent to which Lakeview is a true meeting place for many local residents in the season, similar to private courses.

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Some of the best bunkers I’ve played this season are at Lakeiew as seen at the par 3 9th.

The layout is where I feel this course has both tremendous strengths and glaring weaknesses; the back nine closes strong with a stretch from 6 to 9 with great variety and challenge.  The par 4 8th is a risk/reward short hole which can be played conservatively with a precise shot to a smaller landing area, or, aggressively to the left part of the green which is well guarded by bunkers.  The 9th hole is a long par 3 which looks like a thin sliver off the tee but has more surface area then it appears.  Other good holes, like the closing stretch of 16 to 18 reflect good diversity of shot making needed to score well.  The par 5 16th allows big hitters to go for it in two but with a creek meandering short and left it requires precision.  Like others, I have serious issue with the par 4 12th hole.  A true target golf hole, the tee shot needs to be longer than it appears to have any real shot to play up to an elevated green, but too long and you’re in the creek. If you’re a guest, ask your playing partners for a yardage but I think a 190-200 yard shot is ideal.  That hole simply doesn’t flow with the rest of the course.  One other critique is a very high number of errant balls which enter into other fairways.  While the fairways are generous, often there is not much rough available before trees (which help separate one hole from another) come into play.  And for a course which gets considerable play, the risks of balls coming into play from other fairways is high.  Still, the layout has some significant merit, uniqueness and ensures Lakeview is no pushover.

Playing at about 6300 yards from the tips, the course offers three sets of tees.  As some other courses have done, I’d like to see the City incorporate a set of Family Tees, allowing juniors and first timers an opportunity to experience this beautiful property at a yardage inside of 4900.  As a municipal course, this could provide greater access to a future generation of players.

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The par 5 16th provides a narrow opening on the approach.

I left Lakeview satisfied with my golf experience and hopeful that I can enjoy this game well into my senior years as my three playing partners did on what was a rare, truly sunny summer day in Ontario this year.

Aura – 7 out of 10 – And I am likely being generous here.  But it’s too bad.  The course is unique and is well designed and maintained to a very good quality.  If you appreciate the history of the game, this course should be on your must play list.

Value (cost / experience) – A peak fee of $68 +tax to walk in the Greater Toronto Area is very good value.  Manage expectations around time – this will not be a three and a half hour round – and you can leave feeling you’ve had a great experience, as I had.  Greens fees can be found here.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10.  It has been a damp spring and summer in Ontario and no surprise, the course was in superb condition.  Many of the holes are very intelligent in their design and pose a true challenge in strategy and shot making.  The fairways and greens are very good and bunkers may be some of the best I have played all season.

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Great golf in the heart of the GTA.  The parkland layout at Lakeview is easy to walk.

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – My experience was very good, the City of Mississauga has made some excellent investments in the maintenance of this course and I would return again…for no other reason than to seek out my three playing partners for another 18! – 7.5 out of 10

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – This is an easy one.  Let’s change up the 12th hole, even if it made into a longer downhill par 3, that’s fine.  This blind downhill tee shot and a challenging uphill approach doesn’t fit within the layout and feel of the other 17 holes.  But it does detract from the overall playing experience.

Highlight (what is great about the course) – Convenience.  Affordability.  History.   The course is very close to the QEW in the south west end of Mississauga.  The price excellent and to walk the fairways of legends and appreciate the history of this course provided me the value and experience I was craving.  The closing three holes were surprisingly challenging and beautiful.