Saturday, June 30, 2007

Glorious Weekend of Golf - Saturday Update


It's the Canada Day weekend and that means three days of golf right through to Monday.

I even had the chance to play Glen Abbey on Thursday as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton Charity Golf Tournament. The event raised about $40,000.00 on Thursday with a full shotgun and live and silent auctions.

It was a cool event to be a part of, as the money is going directly to the underprivileged children with single parent homes in the Halton region and we got a glimpse of what great things are being done with the funds. Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli from GlobalTV's Entertainment Tonight Canada participated as did Stanley Cup winner Mark Napier.

There were a lot of cool auction items available, most involving outings at ClubLink courses but there was also a signed Steve Yzerman Team Canada jersey that went for $2000.00! Good stuff.

Oh yeah, WE WON THE GOLF TOURNAMENT TOO!!!

I've never won a scramble-type tournament before and even though we played great golf as a group, there always seems to be someone who comes in with a better score in these things. It's similar to those tournaments where you stink it up and shoot 90 - there is ALWAYS someone who shoots worse!

Well, we played a 'Shamble' format, which meant that on par fours and fives, you all hit tee balls, pick the best one and then all hit from there. That's where the difference kicks in - you all play your own ball from there on in. On par threes, you play your ball the whole way. That keeps the scoring pretty reasonable and it's almost like a four-man best ball.

I was playing with my father, a 17 handicap and our two guests. They are customers of ours at Kaumeyer and the restaurant owner father (Joe M) has won the club championship at Lookout Point on multiple occasions and holds a near scratch handicap. His son Josh played with us as well and is likely an 8 or so.

We had a 'ringer'-type group for sure!

We only played the blues at Glen Abbey, which stretch to a little over 6100 yards. That meant wedges and nine irons into a few of the par fives and eagle putts galore. On #16, a 485 yard par five, I drove the ball well over 300 yards, leaving us with about 145 in. We all hit the green and after I missed my 18 footer and Joe missed his 25 footer, my old man rolled in about a 12 footer for the eagle three!


The highlight of the day for me personally came on the famous 18th hole shown above, the same hole Tiger made that unbelievable 6-iron shot from the right fairway bunker on his way to a birdie and a one stroke win over Grant Waite to take the Canadian Open back in 2000.

We ended up using Josh's tee-ball, as we were running out of holes (we started on #6) and we hadn't used a drive of his yet. The problem was that he snap hooked his tee shot onto the adjacent 17th fairway. The good thing was that we had an excellent angle into the green with the pin tucked front left. We had 228 yards into the green and I hit a fantastic four iron that never left the flag, ending up 15 feet away for eagle. I ended up two-putting for the bird on one of the most famous holes in Canadian golf and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face!

We ended up shooting an 8-under 65 on the par 73 track and won by a single stroke! We each received a REALLY nice trophy, got $50.00 in gift certificates from Tim Hortons, a $50.00 gift certificate to a nice restaurant in Oakville (likely enough to buy one appetizer!) and also got our names on the big trophy! Just a great day on a very fun golf course. I know Glen Abbey gets bashed a lot, I find it to be an interesting place to play - the valley holes are a lot of fun and especially love the tee shot on the par four 14th, with the creek winding through the entire hole and challenging the player to bite off more than they really want.

I was especially impressed and surprised with how small and shallow some of the green complexes were - holes like the par three 3rd and the par four 10th really require a precise iron shot.

I shot a '73' in the shamble format but since we didn't use my tee ball every time, it's an unofficial round. Still a great day with our customers for a wonderful cause.

I followed it up today with one of the best rounds of my life but, showing the progress I'm making, it could have been much better.

I rolled in a 20 footer on the first hole for birdie and I was off to the races. I hit a poor drive on the par four 2nd and made bogey. I made solid two-putt pars on #3, #4 and #5 and made a nice recovery on the par five 6th for another two-putt par.

However, I three-whacked the par three 7th, missing an easy four footer. I came back in style, nailing a drive on the par five 8th and leaving myself only 197 yards into the green. I hit a perfect 5-iron to about 12 feet and barely missed, tapping in my birdie. I got up and down for a tremendous par on the long par four 9th to salvage an even par front nine.

Even Toast was impressed with my drive on #10, the short par five. I was 181 out and hit 7-iron for my second shot to about 15 feet. Barely missed that one and I was now in red figures. Routine pars on #11, #12 and #13 were followed with an unfortunate bogey on the par 3 14th. I hit a great chip shot to about three feet and somehow missed the entire hole on a straight-in putt.

I was fighting the flat stick!

Solid par on the par five 15th but another short six foot putt missed on the par five 16th to leave me at +1. Ugh.

I hit one of the better shots of my day on the 222 yard 17th, a perfect four-iron that sailed off the hillside and ended up at the back of the green. I almost made it but settled for par.

Closing out in style, I nailed my drive right to 158 yards and hit a perfect 7-iron to about 8 feet. I was able to coax that in for an even par 72, tying my best ever score from the back tee deck at St. Catharines as all of my subpar rounds at the club have come from the blue tees.

Regardless, it was a nice ball striking day for me but all of that and I would have only won 1-up versus the Toast man in a match, as he came in with a lovely 74 himself, putting the freaking lights out all day. It would have been a TV worthy match, let me tell you.

The great weekend continues tomorrow with regular play at St. Catharines and then the highlight of the long weekend comes Monday, as Toast and I will team up in the 2nd Annual Happy Jack's Open against Harry and his good buddy Preston. Winner of the two-man best ball match gets a dinner made for a king at revered Happy Jack's Restaurant in Fort Erie.

Relive the beautiful result of our first match, which took place late in 2005 at Grand Niagara and saw Toasty and I get all fattened up, courtesy of Preston and Harry, after a big win.

Oh yeah, did I mention the fact that the 2nd Annual Happy Jack's Open is taking place at the much-revered Cherry Hill Club in Fort Erie, home of the 1972 Canadian Open won by Gay Brewer and the 1982 CPGA Championship, won by Jim Thorpe?

It's days like today that I shake my head, knowing just how lucky I am in life. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone - I'll be back with pictures of Cherry Hill and a course review sometime early next week.

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