Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And So it Begins...

At about 10:45am on Saturday March 21st, I hit my first real golf shot in over five months nicely down the right side of the fairway on the opening hole at St. Catharines.

Golf season is here!

I'd shank my second shot into the trees short and right of the green then hit a delicious pitch shot to six feet. I'd step up and ram that in for the satisfying par to start my year off on the right foot.

Unfortunately, that was the highlight of an otherwise tough day for yours truly on the scorecard.

I know I promised no statistics this year but you can only laugh at the following:

TREES HIT: 7
SHANKS: 1
BALLS OUT OF BOUNDS: 1
BALLS IN HAZARD: 3 (two on one hole)
TOTAL PENALTY SHOTS: 5 (all on back nine)

I picked up a couple times so I can't even say I shot a true score but I would have been around an 88 if I did, with no birdies.

Now, I haven't picked up a club in months so I was in pretty good spirits despite my pathetic game. However, I was beaten quite badly by both Cal and Harry, my two normal partners in crime so they were more than happy to rub it in whenever the opportunity came up.

Which was pretty much every time the ball came off my clubface. Haha.

To make matters worse, I actually played for money. Cal and I decided to play a little five dollars for the front nine and five dollars for the back nine game. When I shot 42 to his 39 on the front side, I needed extra incentive to play well on the back so I said,

"Let's make this a true Nassau and have a five dollar bet for overall score as well."

Cal, Mister Poker Player extraordinaire, calculated the odds and quickly agreed.

When I push faded my tee shot on the short par five tenth into the houses out of bounds, I knew it wasn't going to be my day.

Even worse, I accepted a stupid 'Double or Nothing' challenge on the last hole to break even and proceeded to pull my tee shot into the trees. No big deal, right?

Wrong. Lost ball...hang head in shame and walk up the 18th quietly down $30.00.

Cal actually offered to let me off the hook for the double or nothing bet due to the inexplicable lost ball but I'm nothing if not an honest player who pays his debts.

To make matters worse, it was $30.00 AMERICAN, to come out of my Full Tilt Poker account by transfer. Damnit!!!

Needless to say, I have some issues early on with the golf swing. Hehe.

Still, it was tremendous to be playing on a glorious Saturday afternoon in March but man, did I feel it the next day. Sore muscles galore!

For the other side(s) of the story, visit Cal at
Golf+Poker and Harry at Sports, Entertainment and Smack.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Golf Season Creeps Closer

I got word today that the short game practice facility and putting greens are now open for business at St. Catharines G&CC!

We've had a tremendous run of good weather over the past month and I don't even remember the last time we had snow on the ground. We're still likely due for another snowfall but I'm enjoying the sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures. I can definitely say this is the earliest opening of the short game facility in the three years it's been around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the golf course opens sometime soon as well...

I'm actually contemplating heading to the club after work to hit a few putts and some pitch shots with the new wedges I picked up late last year. I haven't picked up a club since early October so it's been a long five months!

EDIT - 10:18PM
Jumping in before Harry makes his inevitable "you don't practice" comment...

Cal and I both ventured to the club this evening and played a little Golf/Curling matchup on the short game facility. Basically, each hole, we hit three shots each and used a curling point system to track our success. If one of us hit two balls inside the other's best shot, you would get two points. I think you get the drift.

Anyhow, we ended up playing three loops for a total of nine holes and Cal beat me by two points so I had to buy the beer after the 'round'. Fun stuff.

Don't get used to winning...it will be rare this year, my friend! ;)

It was tremendous fun and I will do it again soon. I never really spent much time on the short course and I thought it was really cool playing it from the 'tees'. I can't wait to bring Evan out in a couple years!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Finally! A New Post!

I can't believe over a month has passed since I last wrote.

Work and life have never been busier. My father was scheduled for gallbladder surgery on February 13th and actually made it to the operating table before the surgeon stopped the procedure due to severe pancreatitis. He was put under and everything, had holes cut into his stomach for the procedure but it was too risky to continue.

He spent about three weeks in the hospital before finally being released last week but he still hasn't had the surgery. It could be months before he's well enough to have the procedure done but at least he's home, in no pain and resting comfortably.

With that said, there's enormous pressure on me at work to handle his affairs while also taking care of my own job within the company and it's meant quite a few late nights and some weekends at the office, something I'm not used to. It's especially hard when I can't get home to see my happy four month old son but if this is the worst hand life can deal me, I know how lucky I am...

Still no golf in our neck of the woods but it's coming much sooner than we probably expected. I'm told that our short game practice facility will likely open in the next couple of days, a precursor to the actual course opening. Temperatures crept above 10 celsius today and may reach 15 degrees tomorrow.

March golf would be TREMENDOUS!

Still, even if we get the inevitable late March or early April snowfall, it looks like we'll be swinging the sticks much earlier than last year.

There will be some changes to the blog. No longer will I be boring you with my personal golf statistics in the sidebar. I'm pretty sure the only person interested in those numbers is yours truly!

In their place will be links to posts I've written on my great golf experiences in my life. I've started off by listing the three courses I've had the good fortune of playing that sit on the Golf Digest Top 100 in the United States list: Oakmont Country Club, Princeville (Prince Course) and Riviera Country Club. You can click on the links in the sidebar at the right to read about my adventures at those great clubs.

The next list I'll provide is the Golf Digest Top 100 Public Courses in the US. Princeville is on that list as well, along with three other courses I've been lucky enough to play. I will provide writeups and reviews of the other three in the days ahead, with the first course being Cog Hill and the Dubsdread Course (the 18th hole is shown above), home of the PGA Tour's Western Open.

Once that list is done, I'll move onto reviewing courses I've played that are listed by ScoreGolf magazine as being the best in Canada. I've currently played 18 of the top 100 so there will be a lot to write about in the weeks and months ahead!