Friday, June 04, 2010

A Rough Day on the Niagara Men's Tour

We're coming off perhaps our best weekend of weather here in Niagara and I was able to get in a solid round of golf on Saturday morning in preparation for the second event on the Niagara Men's Tour, which was taking place the next afternoon at Thundering Waters GC in Niagara Falls.

I played Saturday with Cal, Harry and Wes J and we all had it going big-time. On the front nine alone, Wes birdied #1, I birdied #3, Harry birdied #4 and #5, Cal made a ridiculous chip-in for birdie on #6 and then EAGLED #8.

Cal was one under on the front, I was even while Harry and Wes were one or two over.

Then Cal, Harry and I all birdied #10 and Cal and Harry would both birdie #11 as well to give our group ten birdies and an eagle through 11 holes, just a sick total!

We'd all stumble to the finish line somewhat: Cal went from three under par to one over by the end of his round, I went from one under to four over while Harry and Wes blew up a bit on the latter part of the back nine to finish in the high 70s and low 80s.

Still, a nice day of preparation for the Men's Tour the next day.

Simply put, I've never been a fan of Thundering Waters, a Bo Danoff design that has John Daly's 'signature' on it. It was an exacting test of golf with a few interesting holes but the course couldn't overcome its many weaknesses. Then, a few years ago, the owners of the club decided to rip the course apart in an effort to build housing and turned the one-time 7200 yard course into a 6500 yarder. Even then, if the course stretches out to its max, it likely wouldn't exceed 6350 yards. They also changed two of the par fours into par fives without increasing the yardage so now you have four of the six par fives under 500 yards.

It's still super tight but with six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, this is a course where you can make a boatload of birdies if you're driving it straight.

I'm not going to talk too much about my round because my experience on the course paled in comparison to what happened OFF the course later that afternoon.

I bogeyed the first hole but came right back with a birdie three on the very difficult par four second hole to get back to even par. I'd par the next two then make a nice up and down for birdie on the mid-length par five fifth hole to get to red figures.

This is precisely where the course got really butchered, as the new fifth green sits about 40 yards short of the old fifth green, which is now the putting surface for the newly built 140 yard par three sixth. So the fifth, which was once a par five that came close to 600 yards long, is now barely over 500 yards so they could fit a new hole in that gap.

It's awkward to say the least, as the tee sits well back in a little clearing and you needed to hook the ball around some tall trees to get at the pin that was on the far left side of the green. The funny thing is that we were all the way at the back of the tee deck on the 6th and it was about 138 to the flag...I'm still wondering where the 180+ yard 'Daly Tee' is on this hole...maybe on the other side of the fence.

What a joke.

Anyway, I pulled my tee shot into the creek and actually contemplated a Jean Van de Velde recovery, taking off my socks and shoes and digging into the water, as the ball was resting in the hazard on the steep bank. I realized it was a stupid shot so I took my drop and failed to get up and down, making a tough double on the short little par three.

I'd double the next par three as well then inexplicably miss a two footer for birdie on the short par five ninth hole to go out in 39 shots.

I was so hot on the par three 10th that I needed to hit THREE TEE SHOTS, as my first went way left into the trees, my second looked like it came up short in the water then my third ended up stiff about three feet away. Thankfully, I found my first ball and did well to make bogey.

It just wasn't my day - I'd make a couple more birdies but just butchered the par threes, going +8 on the six one-shotters and -1 on the rest of the course in a round of 79, which placed me in a tie for 15th position.

After two events, I sit in a tie for 7th in the overall standings, a decent spot but I'll fall quite a bit in the next two weeks, as I'll be missing the third event at Sawmill while I'm away in Colorado and Nebraska.

More on that trip in the days ahead...

The rough day only got worse - to make a long story short, there was a mass robbery at Thundering Waters in the parking lot between 6pm and 6:30pm and I was one of many victims.

My car was broken into, my wallet was stolen (with all my ID and credit cards), my sunglasses stolen, my golf clubs and bag...stolen and my very pricy SLR digital camera, complete with pictures of my son that hadn't been uploaded to my computer from Victoria Day was ripped off as well.

This week has been pretty much a writeoff, as I've had to cancel everything, get new debit and credit cards, buy a new camera and get fitted for new clubs, which hopefully will arrive before I depart next week.

It's been a nightmare but at least no one got hurt. The thieves hit at least three golf clubs that day in succession so they made out with a ton of loot.

I hope the bastards rot in hell.

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