Monday, January 19, 2009

Thinking About Golf Already?

With a ton of the white stuff on the ground right now, it's strange to be thinking about golf today.

It's funny...friend of Now on the Tee and fellow blog superstar Cal often asks if I miss playing golf during the winter and the answer is surprisingly no. For me, the break is welcomed but to be completely honest, I'll likely start getting antsy around the beginning of March.

Then again, being a new dad has taken up almost all of my time away from work so perhaps I won't be daydreaming about golf anytime soon.

Still, I have to start doing some planning soon, pretty ridiculous if you ask me considering it's the middle of January. The Golf Association of Ontario opens up their online tournament registration for 2009 at noon today and if I decide to qualify for any provincial events this year, I'll need to act fast if I have a preference on qualifying courses.

If you recall, last year I missed out on playing Westmount G&CC, one of the qualifying sites for the Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship, due to the fact it filled up within a day.

This year, there aren't as many tantalizing options.

I've asked Harry if he wants to play in the Better Ball again and I haven't heard back from him. Obviously, he's out looking for linens like any whipped engaged guy would be doing and hasn't replied to me yet. If Harry declines or doesn't get back to me, I'll try to coerce somebody else to join me for the event.

Brantford G&CC is once again hosting a qualifier and I really enjoyed playing there last year. Also, Burlington G&CC has offered up their course as well, an interesting option. I've never played Burlington before and I've heard nothing but great things about the course. NOTT reader Stevie G used to work at Burlington before coming to our club and says it's a great track.

The third option, in my opinion, for the Better Ball qualifier is Eagles Nest GC, a course I played last year for the first time. There are six other courses too but none of them are interesting enough for me to pay $107.50 to play (Entry Fee per person).

The other provincial tournament I'm looking at is the Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship, which is taking place this year at Loyalist GC in Bath, Ontario. Now, I've never played Loyalist before so take this with a grain of salt but playing another Ted Baker course isn't really at the top of my list of things to do.

Baker is the man behind many of the Kaneff Golf designs, including Lionhead and Royal Niagara, neither of which are inspiring places to play.

That said, it's the Ontario Mid-Am we're talking about so I may decide to qualify again this year. Possible qualifying courses include Essex G&CC in the Windsor area, a course I've never played but would love to see. Other than that, there is nothing really great: Willow Valley is a Graham Cooke designed public course north of Hamilton that plays like LochNess Links-lite. Always in good shape from what I remember, relatively fun to play but a bit bland.

There's also Oshawa G&CC but there's no way I'm trying to qualify there - see, Oshawa has a great number of excellent players who play at the provincial level and they will ALL tee up at Oshawa to try to qualify. I've played there once before and home course knowledge is a big deal there, with many quirky, short holes. I wouldn't stand a chance out there. Other slight possibilities include Black Bear Ridge in Belleville, which I don't know much about and also Highland G&CC in London, one of our recipricals at St. Catharines as part of the Stanley Thompson alliance. I haven't played there either.

There are a few other courses I could choose but none of them look enticing, including local site Bridgewater. The entry fee for the Mid-Am is around $175.00, which is just ludicrous. No way in hell am I paying that to play Bridgewater!

So I have a couple decisions to make. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

Well, that didn't take long. My boy Harry has finally returned from his weekend-long, fashion outlet mall shopping trip to say he's in for the Better Ball again this year. Harris ranked Bridgewater as his top choice, with Burlington second and Brantford third, because he didn't want to drive too far.

So Burlington it is! Haha!

Now, I need to figure out if I'm going to try for the Mid-Am and if so, which course should I play? Essex seems way too far away (four hour drive) and it's really the only attractive option for me right now. Gosh, it has me considering going for the actual Ontario Amateur instead, where I can play London Hunt Club as a qualifying course.

Need to think this over more...again, any suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Looking for Linens: Harry Getting Hitched

For the last two years, I would repeat the mantra to my two pals, Harry and Cal, during our weekly golf games.

"Don't get married".

Now, I'm happily married myself and I wouldn't want it any other way so I'm mostly just having fun when I say the three magic words. But there is a huge commitment to make and it mostly involves giving up the things you love for the sake of marital bliss. Those that aren't married have no bloody idea how much work goes into keeping this partnership strong except when they hear married guys like me bitch about our problems.

And I like to bitch. And when I do, I always end the bitching by saying with a wink:

"Don't get married"

Compromises have to be made, whether it's giving up some sports, coming home a bit earlier than usual when at work or out with your buddies or just spending more of your time doing stupid things like shopping or even looking for linens.

Harry and Cal would bust on me all the time with that last remark but funny enough, even in marriage, I'm still playing more golf than those fools. So I consider myself quite fortunate.

Now, the tables have turned. We're welcoming another to the dark side and that someone is Harry himself, who got engaged to his lovely girlfriend Sarah on the weekend.

Poor Harris has no idea how things are going to change. Golf? Haha. I expect him to play about half as many times in '09 as he did in '08. I'm going to predict 40 rounds for fun...he played about 65 times in '08 so we'll see how close I am at the end of this year.

Flag football? Squash? Rec Baseball leagues? Dream on pal, it's time to start cutting down on that stuff. Pick one or two...maybe!

How about those little three day weekends to go see Ben Harper? Not anymore buddy, at least not without your wife-to-be. Which is fine but now you're paying for two people, not one, and you'll be having to cut back on that stuff too. Frivolous! Remember, you need to have linens for the house!

And last and definitely not least...NFL Football. And Fantasy Football.

Sundays during the NFL season are Holy Days for Harris and not because he's going to synagogue. Harry's church is the sofa in the middle of his living room, the one with all the eaten-up cushions, courtesy of his loveable dog Harper. Harry lies down and prays that his twelve fantasy teams come through with victories every week, flipping between every game on the schedule for full effect.

I hear he doesn't even get up to go to the washroom, instead wearing an adult diaper for the day to ensure there are no breaks in the action.

Do you seriously think you'll be able to keep up that charade? Do you REALLY think you can get away with telling your wife that you can't do anything all day Sunday during the NFL season?

If so, can I have one of what you're drinking?

And all of those fantasy leagues? Haha. No chance! Cut those leagues in half, mister! G-note? A thing of the past!

Now, imagine if you guys get pregnant in the first year! Oh, the hilarity! Prenatal classes, doing research on being a parent, etc...your time is becoming even more scarce!

Now, all that said, I feel partially responsible for this development. Ok, check that. Fully responsible, as it was my wife and I who set these two lovebirds up in the first place.

So I'll be there for you buddy. When you want to complain about not having the time to watch Megatron on the 0-12 Lions next year, a guy you have in five of your pools, because you have to go to a Trivial Pursuit party at another married couple's house, I'll be the shoulder you can cry on.

When that ClubLink invite comes from Preston and you have to turn it down because you're already booked to go look for bathroom fixtures with your wife, again, I'm there for you.

Soon enough, Harry and I will form our own chorus on the off-chance we get to play golf together in the future. There, playing with Cal, the last single guy on the planet, we'll repeat the three magic words in perfect harmony...

"Don't get married"

All kidding aside, I'm thrilled for Harris and Sarah. They are perfectly matched and both Jacky and myself couldn't be happier! Mozel tov!