2018 Winter Giveaway – Thanks!

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Every day on the golf course in 2018 should be a great day for us!

We made it.  Winter is almost in the rear view mirror.  We’re about a month away from The Masters and courses across Canada will be opening over the coming months to kick off another season.  We’ll be trading in our snow shovels for sand wedges and winter boots for golf shoes.

Congratulations to Week 9 winner Bethann Dekoker.  She was one of 157 entries which I tabulated over the previous 8 weeks.  You’ll be mailed a Snell Golf Canada hat and 6 golf balls!

I want to thank you all – past followers and new followers – for making the past 9 weeks fun and enjoyable.  Congratulations to all the winners, in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and a couple in the USA – South Carolina and Massachusetts.  You’ll be rocking some great new hats and playing excellent golf balls.

Special thanks to my friends at Snell Golf Canada and the great guys at 36 Golf Co. for their fantastic products.  I’m going to reflect on this but feel this should be an annual tradition.  I hope we can keep engaging around this game which we love.

Special thanks to new followers who won five of the nine weeks, that’s awesome!

I hope 2018 is your best golf season yet.  Short grass all year!

Sincere thanks, Mike

@36aday (Twitter)

@mj_36aday (Instagram)

36aday Blog (Facebook)

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Smuggler’s Glen – An Eastern Ontario Must Play

Course Reviews – Smuggler’s Glen – An Eastern Ontario Must Play

http://www.smugglersglen.com/

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From the first tee deck you’re so close to the St. Lawrence River.  The relaxed feel is consistent throughout the course.

East of Kingston, Ontario the 401 highway offers an exit called The Thousands Islands Parkway.  This scenic drive brings drivers very close to the St. Lawrence River and quickly on your left Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course along with the Glen House Resort.  The course opened for play in 2005 and was designed by Boyd Barr who created an enjoyable resort course on what Robert Thompson called a “cool piece of property”.  With a river view from the first tee deck, surprising elevation change (used most effectively off the tee on many holes) and outstanding conditioning, this course is one of Eastern Ontario’s best courses.  The course hosted a PGA Tour Canada event in 2012 and while not overly long – just over 6600 yards from the black tees – it possesses a 134 slope rating that will demand your attention.

The opening hole is an awkward hole, a par 5 called The Gorge, as players need to position their tee shot over a gorge into a precise landing area with prominent granite outcroppings making a play of less than driver smart.  The course finds it groove very well on the third hole, as Barr’s intelligent use of the terrain featuring many elevated tee shots to generous fairways  The 4th hole, ‘Bio Challenge’, is a well-designed risk-reward par 5 that provides players several options to play the hole.  Conservative or aggressive, a long yet thin green will make your approach shot very important.

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A well designed hole, the 4th will give players who drive it well a chance to reach in two.

I was very impressed with the course routing and its overall conditioning.  Being a resort course, it is very playable for golfers of all skill levels and the course supports this through five sets of tees, their Green tees measuring at just over 4700 yards.  The greens were consistent and in excellent condition.  The tee boxes were generous and in very good condition given it was peak season.  Staff were outstanding – professional and courteous – and if you can afford the time, their patio allows for excellent views set high and overlooking the river.  Our group made time to add up the scorecard, enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat.

The back nine, after looping back to the clubhouse, features three memorable golf holes.  The 12th is a shorter driveable par 4.  Called ‘The Gambler’, this uphill hole does provide a good birdie opportunity.  The 13th – ‘The Rock’ – features the prominence of the Canadian Shield and is aptly named.  The rock wall is impressive.  The closing hole, another par 5, makes up for the awkwardness of the opening hole and is an intelligent design, challenging players to consider an aggressive approach shot or a more cautious layup.  The strong finishing hole capped off a fabulous golfing experience and left me impressed about Smuggler’s Glen as a fun, resort golf course which will provide a test for golfers of all levels.

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My playing partner Greg was putting on a stripe show hitting fairways all day.

Aura – 7.5 out of 10 – Playing a course where professionals play is always a special experience.   The course is more active in marketing itself but its location within a more underrated part of the province in terms of golf keeps it more of a hidden gem.  Excellent conditions combined with the scenery – in and around the course – made more a memorable golf round.

Value (cost / experience) – 8 out of 10.  Peak fees are $92 and this includes cart; solid for what you get.  I did not expect to enjoy the experience as much as I did; Smuggler’s Glen is truly one of the more underrated courses I have played in Canada.  I could only imagine how beautiful this course would play in the fall season with leaves changing set against the rock and the lush green fairways.

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The Canadian Shield is a prominent feature throughout the course and the rock outcroppings frame landing areas exceptionally well.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10 – I really enjoyed this course.  The conditioning was consistent and superb.  I appreciate the intelligent use of the terrain to create many vistas for confident and visually impressive tee shots.  The awkwardness of the opening hole and its focus on precision was a contrast to the rest of the course and being a first time player, I now know how to effectively play that hole.  The warm up/practice facilities were under construction; one step back to take two important steps forward.  Good to see that investment being made.

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8.0 out of 10 – Smuggler’s Glen anchors an impressive and underrated golf region in Ontario.  Eastern Ontario is not prominently thought of for golf, with water activities along the river leading recreational interests.  But this course was fantastic and for golfers who are seeking a relaxed and challenging golf experience I urge you to visit and play a round.  Like myself, I am confident it won’t be your last.

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Even waiting on the tee has a relaxed feel to it!

Highlight (what is great about the course) – What’s great?  The people, most definitely.  The course, like the golfing experience overall, has few weak points.  Playing with a couple buddies, we were able to enjoy a friendly, relaxed round which rewarded good play (them) and penalized errant shots (me).  The property and its location capped off a fabulous day, and being only 3 hours east of Toronto I look forward to returning to play it again (and again).

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – Absent a truly memorable ‘signature hole’ (there’s many options) the course offers a level of consistency and quality which players will enjoy.  The resort feel at Smuggler’s Glen is on point.

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The clubhouse patio overlooks the river and is set at a high point at the club.  A great way to reflect on a fun round of golf.

2018 Winter Giveaway – Week 1

My attitude toward Canadian winter has been sour and bitter for many years and as an avid golfer this forced break has not been well received by me.  But this year, I am resolving to change my attitude and embrace the winter season.  The test to this, of course, has been an extended stretch of unseasonably cold weather.  But like a bad weather day on the golf course when we dress for the weather it doesn’t feel so bad.  I am here to help!  Over the next nine weeks I will feature weekly giveaways.  And featured prominently will be a new 36 A Day product, a custom toque made by my friends at the 36 Golf Company.  This Canadian company has their own spin on golf wear and I love the quality of the product and the energy they bring to their work (and play).  Also, I will be sharing some product from Snell Golf Canada.  My relationship with Snell is a couple years old now and I feel that this company really understands the everyday golfer.  Making quality product with exceptional value, their direct to consumer model has been well received.

The first giveaway is simple.  Within the blog, I need to hear what is your New Year resolution when it comes to golf.  All responses received before 5:00 pm EST on Tuesday, January 9 will be eligible to win.  A random draw will determine the winner and only one entry per person please.  Let’s enjoy winter, keep warm and get ready for a fabulous 2018 golf season!

Happy New Year and thank you for supporting my blog!

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Share your New Year golf resolution in the comments section to win this prize as Week 1 of the 36 A Day 2018 Winter Giveaway starts!

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)

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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.

 

2016 in Pictures – Chasing the Sun

In an effort to step up my photo game this year I am pleased to share 10 of my favourite golf images over the past year.  With a healthy layer of snow already in southern Ontario I hope this brings back good memories from your 2016 golf season and stokes the fire of anticipation for 2017!

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The Story: First, the course: Hornby Glen is in Milton, Ontario and it’s one of the most comfortable places to play golf.  A relaxed setting, open to a fault off the tee but with enough length and challenge on the greens to make scoring honest.  Playing in the height of summer with a good friend, we made an impulsive decision to play.  Teeing off with about 3 hours of daylight this was the view on the 17th green.  A great shot from a great day, we were able to get the round in.  I love rounds that take place early and late in the day, there is an air of solitude which I always enjoy.  If you look close enough you’ll see a ball on the green.  Not mine, regrettably.  Joel Cartner gets the photo credit here while I was trying to chip in for par.  Chasing the sun and seeking to get a full round in late day is one of my favourite things of the summer.

 

 

 

Bucket List Review – Part 2 – Nova Scotia

Bucket List Review – Part 2 – Nova Scotia

This is the second of 10 posts that will look back on the current status of my bucket list.  Focusing on all 10 provinces, I’ll share links to courses played and remaining on my list, along with some new courses for consideration.  I’ll share some pictures, stories and wishes for future travel.  Canada is an amazing country for public golf, go play (once the snow is melted, of course).

Bucket List Courses PlayedCabot Links, Highlands Links, The Lakes

Bucket List Courses RemainingGlen Arbour, Bell Bay, Cabot Cliffs, The Links at Brunello, Fox Harb’r

Other Courses PlayedOsprey Shores

Bucket List ContendersDigby Pines, Penn Hills

Other Courses of NoteLe Portage, Northumberland Links, Bluenose

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Overview

Nova Scotia hosts some of the greatest golf courses in Canada and the World.  Yes, they’re that good.  The development of the two Cabot courses in Inverness has placed Nova Scotia at the epicenter of the golfing world with global media reports praising the courses, the resort and the community.  And while Cabot holds its rightful place as a powerful magnet for golf in eastern Canada one needs to look well beyond the their seaside courses – Links and Cliffs – to see other golf offerings which together make Nova Scotia a cherished golf destination for all golfers.  To me, this is one reason why Nova Scotia makes for such great golf; there is something for everyone.

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You may recognize this picture if you’re a regular to my blog.  The 6th tee at The Lakes course.  An incredibly tempting risk-reward par 4. (photo credit – Andrew Stoakley)

Acknowledging the grandeur of Cabot, I’ll start with a focus on fun and value.  Osprey Shores may be the most fun I have ever had golfing, be it as a single seeking to play as many loops of 9 as I could in a day, or, part of a group of 12 on a five day getaway (golfing in a kilt was a memorable experience, too).  Osprey brings breathtaking views, sensational maritime hospitality and an unpretentious nature which all golfers will appreciate.  A 9 hole course, I would recommend it for players to get their legs under them before heading north to tackle the wonderful courses of Cape Breton.  My experience golfing in Nova Scotia is focused mostly on Cape Breton.  So with apologies to courses on the mainland (and there are several on my bucket list) I will focus for now on Cape Breton.  Highlands Links is my favourite course in Canada.  Designed by Stanley Thompson, this course carved from the forests of the Highlands, with some seaside meandering, takes me back in time.  I love everything about it.  It hosts the greatest par 5 I’ve ever played and if I could only play one more round of golf it would be there.  Contrast to this is the beauty of The Lakes at Ben Eoin.  Set along Bras D’or Lake this course is cut along the hillside; creating stunning vistas on many holes.  Well designed and framed, this championship course has hosted the Mackenzie Tour Cape Breton Open (then Celtic Classic).

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Highlands Links – the 15th hole

This is not to forget the golfing perfection that is Cabot.  Links is the best course I’ve played and Cliffs is tops on my bucket list now.  I would advocate for a shoulder season trip to Cabot to get the full experience in terms of weather (could be amazing or raw…and either would make for a great story).  Fact is, the fall season stretches nicely in the Maritimes and can combine beauty and value.  Links is a course where the superlatives just don’t do it justice, though I tried in one of my first reviews on my blog.

Cabot, Highlands Links and The Lakes made for a great golf loop in a 2014 golf trip.  But with Bell Bay and Le Portage as options and a new course at Cabot, you can (and should) stretch your trip out to Nova Scotia longer than I did.

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Osprey Shores

Travel Notes

Researching your options for travel and play are very easy using Golf Nova Scotia or Golf Cape Breton.  The two offer excellent access to course information and links to additional details to help plan a trip.  But Nova Scotia is the kind of place you almost want to get lost and explore.  The TransCanada highway provides great access from PEI (via ferry) or New Brunswick and runs efficiently to Halifax and north to Cape Breton.  But sometimes the journey is just as fun as the destination.  Unlike PEI, where you can play days and days of 36 a day (trust me on that one), the distances between courses allow for a relaxed pace and some beautiful drives between communities.  Distractions abound with hiking, food, wildlife, culture, spirits.  It’s all there…not to dismiss the golfing of course.

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

The Cabot Trail may be one of the greatest drives in the country, looping around the north and central part of Cape Breton Island.  But Nova Scotia hosts many other amazing coastal drives.  The drive from Guysborough (where Osprey Shores is located on the gorgeous shores of Chedabucto Bay) to Halifax following the Marine Drive route is stunning and underrated.  The proximity to the ocean in many cases is staggering and the small communities and hamlets which dot the coast are lovely.

Similarly, the Sunrise Trail on the north shore from Antigonish to Amherst is just as relaxed.   Stopping along the numerous beaches to dip your feet in the surprisingly warm ocean and seeking that perfect bowl of chowder are two quests to add to your own golfing bucket list.

Traveling to Nova Scotia on a number of occasions now, the consistent take away for me is that I never spent enough time and left with things I wish I had done and seen.  In closing, do your research; take your clubs; tack on a few extra days; take the scenic routes; and do, by all means, order the chowder (better yet, explore the Chowder Trail).

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The excitement of playing Cabot with good friends at the 2014 Penn Classic.

Requiem to the 2016 Golfing Season

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Requiem to the 2016 Golfing Season

OK, requiem may be a little over the top, but the official end of the golf season always makes me a little sad.  Golf Canada sets the Ontario season as April 15 to October 31 and, well, here we are on closing day.  I won’t be playing today and as such my index will remain in single digits albeit precariously so.

It’s been a great and memorable season and I hope the same is true for you too.  Closing day is a good time to reflect back on the year that was.

The bucket list continues to get dwindled down with trips to Tobiano, Salmon Arm, Banff Springs, Stewart Creek and Algonquin to put a healthy dent in the list.  My home province of Ontario is woefully underrepresented and I’ll have to address that in 2017.  Speaking of my bucket list, I have placed a call to followers on Twitter and my FB page for courses to consider adding to my list.  I’ve had about 16 additions and they look sensational.  My goal is to bolster the bucket list to close to 100 courses across Canada.

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What a beautiful day for golf!  A cool, sunny September and first group off at stunning Algonquin Golf Club in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, N.B.

Another great highlight from the year was the chance to tee it up with fellow bloggers and twitter friends.  A spring round in Calgary at the home course of Josh with @golfismental and a summer round with Tiffany @tiffchaisson and @fairwaysfund were memorable highlights.  Playing two private courses as well – Calgary GCC and The Ladies Club were simply a bonus.  But it was the company, spending quality time with two great people that made the experience.

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Tiff, with what may well be the best golfing photobomb shot ever.

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Josh and Mike set to tee it up at historic Calgary GC

I am appreciative of my engagement with the Golf Journalist Association of Canada.  Here, I was able to play with another twitter friend, Jeremy at @meximenno   It was a classy move of Jeremy to fly in from Winnipeg for the GJAC Annual Awards Dinner and Golf Day.  A great round at Beverly Golf Club outside of Hamilton provided the venue for an enjoyable experience with colleagues and friends.

I engaged the amazing services of Herb McNally @McTwentyTwo to develop a new and strong visual identity for 36aday.  Dare I say I have a visual ‘brand’ now.  You may notice a subtle change in my twitter avatar as the logo is now red.  Red will be the off season colour and green will be for golf season.  Thanks for the great work Herb, love it.

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Going with the off-season red until April 2017.

I’m enjoying my continued relationship with Canadian Golf Magazine.  Showcasing my course reviews to a wider national and international audience is something I am very grateful to be able to do.  And while I have yet to tee it up with the Editor, Frank Mastroianni, it is something to look forward to for 2017.

Also, in terms of golf relationships, I am very pleased to be a brand ambassador for Snell Golf Canada.  A true believer in their quality golf balls, I want to help introduce players to these products and allow them to make informed decisions on playing a quality ball at a quality price.  Order online and use 36aday (1-5 dozen) or 36aday6 (6 dozen +) for $2 off per dozen on any orders.  Turns good value into great value.

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My game continues it steady progression.  Working with Brian McCann with Brampton Golf and Country Club has set my game on a firm foundation and allowed me to increase my expectation.  A summer move derailed my playing and practice schedule and my index remained relatively stagnant just below 10.  But recent lessons to maximize my play off the tee raised expectation and help lower scores this fall.  A successful tournament experience at Golf Ontario’s Public Play Championships was a real highlight.

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But my best memory was a quick and casual 9 holes with my Dad at his home course, Oxley Beach outside of Kingsville, Ontario.  I’ll never forget it.  It captures all I love about the game; quality time with people I care about.

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So as the official season comes to an end I’ll continue to play until courses tell me I can’t.  I’ll work on my game and I’ll work on my writing and this blog.  I am grateful for what 2016 provided me and am excited and hopeful for more of the same in 2017!  Best wishes for a safe and healthy off-season.